South Florida Real Estate Market Conditions – September 2007

In September 2007, all three southeast Florida metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) saw a decrease in the number of single family home and condo sales when compared to August 2007.  The Greater Fort Lauderdale area had the biggest decrease in both cases.  The overall drop in resales may be attributable to the fact that families with school-age children tend to move during the summer months in order for their children to be able to settle into their new schools before the start of the new school year.

The median sales price also dropped in all but one case, where Miami/Dade County saw an increase of about 5% in the median sales price of condos (from August to September).  This fact was somewhat surprising since Miami has had one of the largest inventories of condos for some time now.

While the numbers in the chart below will show you comparisons from one year to the next (during the same month), you’ll find that I typically comment on the month-to-month changes, so please keep that in mind as you review the information contained in the chart.

South Florida market statistics

*Median is the price at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

:: Read all my posts tagged with South Florida Real Estate Market Conditions – 2007. ::

Source (for chart numbers only): Florida Association of Realtors (F.A.R.); Commentary is © 2007 Leanne Paynter.

Can Mismatched Appliances Affect Your Home Sale?

Appliances that don't color match.Every once in a while I’ll show a home that has non-matching kitchen appliances.  To be clear, when I say “mismatched”, I’m not speaking of ones from different manufacturers but of ones that are not color-matched.  It’s rare that a buyer not notice these and comment on them as they tend to draw attention to all the appliances, making buyers often question the age of each one.  Even a new white clothes washer will undoubtedly stand out when paired with an almond-colored dryer.

The example shown in the photo came to be mismatched because the home seller got a good deal at the store on the new flat-top stove and the fact that it didn’t match the color of the other kitchen appliances wasn’t of importance to him.  Unfortunately, when a house is on the market, this type of “bargain” is likely to cost the seller more than they saved on the purchase of it.

While mismatched appliances may not affect how quickly your home sells, it will probably be a factor in the sale price of your home.  Buyers are likely to factor in the cost of new appliances, resulting in a lower purchase price offer.  After all, if you noticed as you were walking out your door that you accidentally paired a black shoe with a brown shoe, wouldn’t you go back in and change?

Tamarac Florida – Recent Home Sales Prices

Homes that sold recently in Tamarac, FL.Tamarac originally drew many retirees but has experienced a considerable change in demographics over the past 15 years, with more younger families moving in.  Anyone looking for affordable single-family homes in western Broward County will find quite a lot of them here.  There are also some very nice high-end homes in the country club/golf course communities of Woodmont and Woodlands… many of them with 3,000+ sq. ft. of interior living space.

For over 32 years, the city has also been home to University Hospital and Medical Center.  Tamarac was a winner of the national “Livable Communities for All Ages” award in 2005 and has proudly earned the National Arbor Day Foundation’s annual “Tree City USA” designation 14 times.

Below is a sampling of recent home sale prices* in Tamarac, Florida (sold/closed sales over the past three months through the date of this post).

Recent Single-Family Home Sales Prices in Tamarac, FL:

Recent Condo Sales Prices in Tamarac, FL:

*As reported on the South Florida MLS. <– Find South Florida real estate for sale!

South Florida MLS Listings Statistics for September 2007

The following is a real estate market report designed to provide you with insight into local market conditions in South Florida with regards to the number of new listings, available inventory, and length of time homes are taking to go from being listed “for sale” to “sold” (also known as “days on market”).  This is somewhat different information from what you’ll find in my South Florida real estate market conditions posts.

Days on MarketDuring the month of September 2007 there were a total of 2,464 new listings of single family homes entered into the MLS, which is a 2% increase over the same month last year.  There were also 2,798 new listings of condos and townhomes, which is also a 2% increase over a year ago.  What is more interesting to note is that there was a much larger increase in terms of the “available inventory”.  The number of single family homes listed as “available” on the MLS increased by 16% over the same time last year, while the number of available condos and townhomes increased by 26% over the same month last year.  What does this indicate?  Well, it means that the amount of time it’s taking to sell a house now is longer than it was a year ago.  How much more?  Have a look at the chart.

So, how long will it take for your South Florida home to sell?  That depends on several factors.  Probably the biggest factor at this time and under current market conditions will be how competitively you price your home when it first comes on the market.  Notice I said competitively, not comparatively.  Unfortunately, many sellers are finding themselves competing with other homes for sale in their community that are foreclosures or short sales, both of which tend to be priced on the low end in order to sell faster.  Furthermore, today’s home buyer is typically looking at many more homes than they were a year or two ago before deciding which home to place an offer on.  If you want to increase your chances of selling your home quickly, be sure to read my ongoing series of home selling tips which should help you get the most money you can for your home.  Another post you may find informative is on the Top 10 Ways to Save Money When Buying or Selling Real Estate.

If you’re thinking of selling your South Florida home but find that your budget doesn’t allow for a full-service commission listing agreement, remember that we offer a-la-carte real estate services and unlike most South Florida real estate brokerages, we don’t charge an administrative/transaction fee (that alone can save you a few hundred dollars!).

Give Internet Home Buyers What They Want… Photos!

Search the Broward County MLS / South Florida MLS.What do home buyers want most when they’re looking at listings of homes for sale on the Internet?  Studies have shown the answer is photos… the more photos, the better!  Listings lacking in photos have a tendency to be overlooked.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, least of all those who market the majority of homes – real estate agents/brokers.  One only needs to put oneself in homebuyer’s shoes to realize this.  Yet, too many listings of homes on the South Florida MLS offer few, if any, photos of what is considered most people’s largest investment – their home.

Personally, I’ve seen new & used cars that are marketed better than some homes on the South Florida MLS and this is frustrating for both home buyers and real estate agents who work with buyers.  So, why do so many listings offer no photo or even just one photo?  Well, let’s start with the obvious… perhaps it’s a brand new listing and the real estate agent hasn’t had a chance to take and upload the photos yet.  In certain cases this is true, though a good agent will typically not upload a listing to the MLS without at least one photo.  Digital cameras are inexpensive, not difficult to learn to use and eliminate the need (and cost) to develop photos.  Unfortunately, in many cases, listings remain for months on the MLS with minimal, if any, photos.  I’ve often wondered whether the home sellers are even aware of how poorly their property is being marketed or the impact a lack of photos can have on the sale of their property.  Now more than ever, in the current buyer’s market South Florida is experiencing, photos are a very important part of the marketing mix.

I decided to get some real, hard facts for this post, so this morning I searched the South Florida MLS for single-family homes in Broward County.  There are currently 17,306 listings of single-family homes for sale in Broward County.  Below is a breakdown of what I found:

Listings with…

  • NO photos:  2,158 … just over 12% of all listings – more than 1 in 8
  • 1 photo:  1,395 … listings with 0-1 photo = 20.5% or 1 in 5 listings
  • 2 photos:  423
  • 3 photos:  407 … 0-3 photos = 4,383 or just over 25% of all listings
  • 4 photos:  522
  • 5 photos:  594
  • 6 photos:  905
  • 7 photos:  924
  • 8 photos:  2,531 … 0-8 photos = 9,859 or just under 57% of all listings
  • 9 photos:  1,008
  • 10 photos:  876
  • 11 photos:  650
  • 12 photos:  755
  • 13 photos:  573
  • 14 photos:  530
  • 15 photos:  428
  • 16 photos:  2,628 (just over 15%)

As you can see, over 20% of listings had either no photos or just one photo, while just over 25% (1 in 4) had 0-3 photos.  With our current high inventory of homes for sale, properties with few (or no) photos are not as likely to get as many showings as homes with 8-16 photos.  Fewer photos = fewer showings = fewer prospective buyers… all of which reduces your chances of getting an offer sooner rather than later.  Under current South Florida real estate market conditions, it’s a good idea for Realtors to invest in the best marketing possible.  The South Florida MLS allows members to upload up to 16 photos and, yet, this is what we see in 1 out of 8 listings:

No Photo Available

If you’re considering selling your home, be sure to hire a Realtor
who understands the importance of marketing your home for sale!

South Florida Teardowns and McMansions

single story homes found in neighborhoods along the Intracoastal Waterway in South Florida

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Florida is among the states they identified in 2002 that is experiencing teardowns in historic neighborhoods where McMansions are becoming more and more commonplace.  In 2002 they identified 100 communities in 20 states and, unfortunately, just about four years later that number soared to more than 300 communities in 33 states that are being impacted by teardowns.  The photo on the left is an example of what a typical neighborhood in South Florida looked like before some of the smaller, single-story older homes were replaced with newer, larger homes (as shown in the photo below).

There were 21 Florida cities identified (13 of which are in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties): Boca Raton, Bradenton Beach, Coral Gables, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale (Rio Vista), Gulf Stream, Hollywood (Lakes), Juno Beach, Jupiter Island, Lighthouse Point, Marco Island, Miami (Coconut Grove, West Grove), Naples, North Miami Beach, Ocean Ridge, Old Marco, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, and Tampa.

An example of a Florida McMansion next to an older one-story home.The term “McMansions” is a slang architectural term and is often used to describe the house built to replace the teardown.  In Florida, McMansions are typically much bigger than the original house on the site and they tend to stand out in a neighborhood that mostly consists of older and smaller, one-story homes with roomy front and back yards. Sometimes this new construction is not welcomed by neighbors because it destroys the original character of the neighborhood. Immediate neighbors sometimes complain of the negative impact it has on their property with regards to restricted views, reduced sunlight to their house or yard, as well as property values.  Local leaders are often either not able or willing to prevent these teardowns that forever change the landscape of historic neighborhoods.

Most of the McMansions around South Florida are located in neighborhoods where homes are either on, or have access to, the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).  The land is often much more valuable than the original home that’s on the property and some of the teardowns are done by owners who have lived on the property for several years and love the location but simply want a newer, larger home.  In some cases, it’s luxury home developers who are buying the older homes, tearing them down and if the lot is large enough to allow it, they build more than one new home which makes for a very nice return on their investment.  These newer custom homes are typically full of luxurious details and features not found in older homes.

Among other terms that you may hear used in place of “McMansions” are: “monster home,” “faux chateaux,” and “starter castle.”

Additional information:

The Tequesta Trail at Forest Ridge in Davie, Florida

trail signPart of the Tequesta Trail can be found in the residential neighborhood of Forest Ridge in Davie, FL.  At one point along the winding road that is shaded by a canopy of live oak trees just past Forest Ridge’s grand main entrance, there is a sign marker that is sponsored by the Archeological and Historical Conservancy which reads:

“The Tequesta Indians and their ancestors inhabited Pine Island from circa 3000 BC through 1500 AD.  The Tequesta inhabited southeast Florida from Boca Raton southward to Key West.  Historians estimate that as many as 20,000 Indians may have lived in South Florida before they became extinct from diseases contracted from Europeans.

On August 31, 1989, archeologists unearthed during road construction the remains of a Tequesta Village at this site.  Near this sign are the remains of an ancient Tequesta settlement that is at least 2,000 years old.”

Resources worth checking out:

Weston FL Homes with No Homeowner Association Fees

BonaventureThe third in my series of posts on South Florida neighborhoods with no homeowners association (HOA), this one focuses on the City of Weston.   Unlike my previous two installments to this series, this one will be considerably shorter because only one neighborhood of single family homes in Weston is not governed by a homeowner association.

Although the Bonaventure Lakes neighborhood is HOA-free, there is a requirement of membership at the Bonaventure Town Center Club, a recreation and community center for the residents of the community of Bonaventure in Weston.  The club is located at the SW corner of Saddle Club Road and Bonaventure Blvd. and membership is currently $270 per year.

The majority of Weston’s Bonaventure Lakes homes have 3-4 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms as well as a 1- or 2-car garage, though there are a few homes that offer as many as 5 or 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.  Most homes feature a swimming pool and some offer canal or lake views.  Almost all homes here were built between the late 1970’s and early 1990’s and all are one-story homes.  Within the Bonaventure Lakes neighborhood there are two tennis courts and two basketball courts for residents to enjoy.  You’ll find Bonaventure Lakes homes ranging in price from $339,000 to about $625,000.  So, if you’d like to live in Weston and prefer not to live in a community with a homeowner association, this community may be just what you’re looking for!

Broward County Events – Art and Film Festivals and a Boat Show!

The following are some Broward County events scheduled for October 2007.  The festivities are plentiful this month and there’s something for everyone, so get out there and enjoy!

:: To view current Broward County Events, click here. ::

  • Sunday Jazz BrunchSunTrust Sunday Jazz Brunch – Riverwalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale (the first Sunday of every month from 11 a.m. -2 p.m.).  Jazz music performed on four stages along the historic New River.  Bring a picnic basket, blanket, chairs, children and even your dog! For more information call the 24-hour hotline: 954-828-5363.
  • Broward Caribbean Carnival, a Celebration of Cultural Diversity (October 7, 2007) – a parade of bands and carnival show.  The parade begins at noon at the top of NW 12th Avenue and ends inside the fair grounds of Fort Lauderdale Stadium Complex.
  • Southeast Winter Sports Show – Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center (October 5-7, 2007) – for those who enjoy cold-weather sports!  For details call 954-765-5900.
  • Las Olas Art Festival (October 6-7, 2007 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.) – leisurely stroll along Las Olas Blvd. and see paintings, photographs, ceramics, sculptures, jewelry and much more! This is one of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County’s most popular outdoor events offering something for every taste and budget.  For info: 954-472-3755.
  • FLIFFFort Lauderdale International Film Festival (October 15-November 11, 2007) – a 37-day event that will feature over 200 films from around the globe.  Meet the filmmakers and celebrities who will attend many of the screenings and events during the 22nd annual FLIFF.
  • Broward County Plant Affair (October 20-21, 2007) at Plantation Heritage Park (501 N. Fig Tree Lane, Plantation).  A plant show and sale, free after $1.50 park admission.  For information call 954-797-2722.
  • Viva Broward! (October 20-21, 2007 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Stranahan Park, downtown Fort Lauderdale) – the 18th annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, hosted by Bank of America.
  • Hollywood International Art and Music Festival (October 20-21, 2007; Sat. 10-6, Sun. 11-5 in ArtsPark at Youngs Circle in Hollywood).  For details call 954-921-3404.
  • yachtFort Lauderdale International Boat Show (October 25-29, 2007) – this show is celebrating its 48th year and features over a billion dollar’s worth of boats, yachts and accessories. The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is among Broward County’s most attended events and is spread over six locations including the Bahia Mar Yachting Center, the Hyatt Pier 66 Hotel & Marina, the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, the Fort Lauderdale Grande Hotel and Yacht Club, Hall of Fame Marina and Las Olas Marina.
  • Art in the Park – Liberty Tree Park in Plantation (October 27-28, 2007) – featuring 150 artists, live entertainment, Kids Korner (with activities, crafts, bounce house and more).  Location: 7421 NW 5th St., Plantation.
  • Southern States Bull Riders Finals – Bergeron Rodeo Grounds in Davie (November 3, 2007).

Click here for a list of current Broward County Events!