Maybe.  A recent University of Florida study at the end of July measuring Floridians’ consumer confidence strongly suggests Floridians are feeling much better about their personal circumstances…

Compared to June and prior months and recent years, the index rose 3 points since June to ‘76’; which is also 9 points higher than July of the year prior.  According to Chris McCarty, Director of UF’s Survey Research Center, “since the recession ended 2½ years ago, [Florida] consumers are feeling much better about their personal finances”.    Of the three components to the survey, three of five were improved.

One component that inquires if we feel better off today than a year ago rose to ‘66’, “the highest since the end of the Great Recession” per McCarty.  Another aspect of the survey was if people felt their personal finances would improve over the next year where this number increased 6 points to ‘82’.  And when asked if it was a good time to buy more expensive items and durable goods, the favorable index rose 7 points to ‘84’.   Ok.  So much for ‘Gloom’, how about ‘Boom’…

“Florida’s housing recovery continues its positive momentum, all of the signs point to solid gains”, said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. In June, pending sales were up 31 percent for existing single-family homes and nearly 23 percent for townhouse-condo units compared to a year ago. (Pending sales refer to contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed.)

According to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing, statewide [Florida] closed sales of existing single-family homes was up 5.3 percent compared to a year-ago; with the statewide [Florida] median sales price for single-family existing homes being up 8.2 percent from June 2010 to June 2011.  Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo: “In June, every housing market indicator moved in the right direction. Closed sales are up, but so are pending sales, median prices, average prices and the ratio of sales price to list price.  Conversely, listings are down, days on market are down and, most important, inventories are down.”

Boom?  Not quite, but with interest rates still floundering near record lows and cash-buyers making upwards of 60% of purchases, if not an actual boom, there at least appears to be developing a mini ‘boom-let’!

In fact, at most affordable price-points and in almost every residential submarket (essentially all those under $1M), Broward’s home inventories have been reduced to less than a 3 month supply, well below the historical norms of before the boom n’ bust.  With substantially reduced inventories and a median ‘for sale’ price up 21% and a median ‘closed sale’ price up 14% year over year for June, locally we have effectively entered into a ‘Seller’s Market’.   Yes, you read that correctly:  a Seller’s market.  But if you’ve been out there lately looking for a desirable property at a reasonable price, you’ve probably already discovered this.

And as such, tiz’ more important than ever to get one’s mortgage pre-approval BEFORE submitting an offer. We are at a time now when there may well be multiple offers within days of the listing going on the market and where most Sellers will not even consider an offer without proof of funds (if for cash) nor without a legitimate mortgage pre-approval letter…  When applying for a mortgage, if your bank rep or mortgage broker did not request a whole lotta’ documentation (tax returns, checking and asset statements, employment, credit check, etc.), but only asked a couple of simple questions in order to give you their generic “Approval Letter”, you likely do not have a real mortgage pre-approval and should go find another mortgage lender who actually requires such documentation ‘upfront’.

So while we might not yet all be singing ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’, locally, trends are definitely going in that direction!

This article has been contributed by
Charles T. Berkley, CPM, CSM, RPA,
realtor and mortgage consultant in Lighthouse Point.

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