Thursday, January 21, 2010

Naples FL Home Sells For $13 Million Cash

Uber-Luxury Real Estate is "On Fire"

Another uber-luxury home sold in the exclusive Naples, Florida community of Port Royal for $13 million on Tuesday. It was an all cash transaction. This is the third home to sell for over $9 million in less than a month. The sale went for about 18% less than the listing price of $15.9 million.

This estate home at 700 Kings Town Drive was built in 2006. The home is situated on a canal with Gulf access. There are six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a theatre and a fitness room within 9,395 square feet of living area and 11,791 total square feet. Hand selected heliel limestone flooring and a 1,000 bottle wine room are just a couple of the luxurious features of this custom built residence.

The rebound in the luxury segment of the Naples real estate market is another sign that  Naples real estate is on the rebound. The first mega sale in January 2010, also in Port Royal, was for a $16.7 million dollar home. A third home sold for just over $9.5 million in late December of last year.

Port Royal homes currently range in sale from over $22 million to just under $3 million. To see all Port Royal homes for sale click here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Don't Miss the Naples Real Estate Come Back!


NAPLES, Fla.-The positive momentum continues according to a report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island).

Statistics compiled by NABOR show a dramatic increase in overall sales with inventory diminishing in Collier County, which is an encouraging sign that the favorable market conditions are moving buyers.

2009 showed a series of strong pending and closed sales for each consecutive month with double-digit increases over the 2008 sales figures. Overall pending sales in 2009 increased 71 percent with 9,513 contracts, compared to 5,567 contracts in 2008. Overall closed sales significantly increased with 7,056 sales in 2009, compared to 4,756 sales in the previous year.

Inventory continues its steady decline as the housing market improves. According to Mike Hughes, NABOR Media Relations Director, and Vice-President of Downing-Frye Realty, “All price ranges showed a decrease in inventory. The decrease varied from nine percent in the below $300,000 range up to 25 percent in the $300,000 to $500,000 range.”

The report provides annual comparisons of single-family home and condo sales (via the SunshineMLS), price ranges, geographic segmentation and includes an overall market summary. The statistics are presented in chart format, along with the following analysis:

• Overall condo pending sales increased 69 percent with 4,243 contracts in 2009, compared to 2,505 contracts in 2008.

• The days a property was on the market in 2009 decreased 11 percent to 160 days on the market, compared to 179 days in 2008.

• The overall median closed price decreased 35 percent to $178,000 in 2009 from $274,000 in 2008.

Excluding the $300,000 and under segment, comprising a majority of foreclosure related property sales, the overall median price for the market declined only 7 percent from $565,000 in 2008 to $525,000 in 2009. The median refers to the middle value in a set of statistical values that are arranged in ascending or descending order, in this case prices at which homes were actually sold.

The fourth quarter of 2009 showed overall pending sales increasing 92 percent with 2,455 contracts, compared to 1,276 contracts in the same quarter of 2008.

“We are seeing sales steadily move to higher priced ranges,” stated Jo Carter, President of Jo Carter & Associates. Both single-family pending and closed sales increased in all price ranges below two million.

• Single-family home sales in the $300,000 to $500,000 price range increased 43 percent with 163 sales in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to 114 sales in the fourth quarter of 2008.

• Single-family pending sales in the $500,000 to $1 million price range increased 63 percent in the fourth quarter with 114 contracts compared to 70 contracts in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The NABOR report also showed that in December 2009, the $1 million to $2 million segment of the market was particularly lively, showing a 157 percent increase in pending sales over the previous year. Pending sales of single family homes and condominiums in that luxury home segment showed a 178 percent and 120 percent increase, respectively, over the previous year.

According to Mark Weber, Broker & Owner of White Sands Realty in Naples, Florida, "these are all positive signs of a great year to come for Naples real estate in 2010. If you think about your home purchase too long, you'll be kicking yourself for missing this buyer's market. It will end a lot faster than it started and there won't be any forewarning. These types of statistics are your signal to make a deal now."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Signs of the Bottom of Your Real Estate Market

by M. Anthony Carr

We've been watching a buyer's market for so long, we've almost forgotten how to see the signs of the building of a seller's market. Keep in mind, a seller's market slowly builds (over months) while a buyer's market can hit overnight.

While the National Association of Realtors announced sales of resale homes jumped more than 10 percent nationally in October 2009 over a year earlier – those numbers are not the numbers to watch while you're trying to find the bottom of your local market. Don't make a local decision based on national information.

The resale numbers have been up in markets all across the country for more than a year, we just never heard about it from the evening news, et. al., because your national news venues don't watch local markets. You should.

Most buyers and the media in general look to pricing to dictate that the bottom of the market has been hit. But before making that dictum, a buyer must first define what the bottom really is. Many would say, it's when prices hit the lowest they've been. True. That's part of the signs to watch.

And if price is you're only interest, then go ahead and wait for the bottom in pricing. Keep in mind, however, that everyone else is also looking for that number. When prices start to move up, they are moving up because the demand is starting to outpace supply and higher priced homes are starting to sell again, thus you may have missed the optimal time to purchase a house at a low price with someone else's money to help you with closing costs.

When the prices hit bottom (and the only way you can figure that out is the first month that prices start moving up, you've already missed the bottom), consumers are already starting to beat each other out for a shrinking inventory.

So, here are the indicators to watch to find the bottom:

1. Inventory: Watch for inventory to start dropping. When this happens, you've entered the bottom territory. Buyers start jumping on the bandwagon once there is so much inventory that prices have hit an acceptable low level.

2. Seller Subsidy: When sellers are giving back maximum amounts allowed by loan programs, you've hit the bottom. Some loan programs allow up to 6 percent of the sales price to be given back to the buyer at the settlement table from the seller for closing costs. Imagine, purchasing a house for $300,000 and getting $18,000 back from the seller for the buyer's closing costs – that's a sign of the bottom. (And this is most likely after getting 3 or 4 percent off the sales price – another $9,000 to $12,000).

3. Pricing: Now this is where everyone watches, when in reality it's the sign that the market has been climbing up from the bottom for several months. If you're going to track pricing as a bottom indicator, then start watching it from month to month, instead of year over year. Thus, when prices start moving up, say, from March to April to May to June – THEN you may have hit the bottom on pricing. A market can experience price increases month after month while still showing lower prices than a year before – thus the buyer, while waiting for signs that prices are moving up over last year, may have missed the bottom on pricing. By the time value starts surpassing year over year, the climb up has already begun.

4. Multiple offers: As buyers start competing for the best properties that have hit the lowest price, then you've found another sign of the bottom of the market.

5. Days on market: Once prices have hit bottom and buyers start gobbling up houses and start competing with each other – then you'll see the days on market begin dropping.

For some markets across the country, all of these indicators have already started showing signs of the bottom, such as Florida, Washington DC, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Las Angeles, and other metropolitan areas that were hit heavy by foreclosures.

Watching your local numbers is the only way to determine if you've hit the bottom of the market for your local real estate market (Follow the Naples real estate market like a Realtor at

Copyright © 2009. Realty Times ®. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Hottest Selling Homes in Naples Florida

If you're looking for a new Florida home and haven't visited Marbella Lakes in Naples, you may be missing out on the hottest community around.

With over 123 sales (and more every day) since it opened on February 28th of 2009, there are several reasons why Marbella Lakes is the top selling new community in Southwest Florida.
  • Value - Marbella Lakes has the best new home value in the area. The builder was able to secure the bank owned land and transfer that amazing savings on to the consumer. Buyers are very savvy these days. They drive around the area for weeks and still can't find a better value - because it doesn't exist. According to Patti Fortune, a sales associate at Marbella Lakes, "prices of our Naples homes homes for sale have actually gone up across the board approximately ten thousand since we opened. You simply can't find a better value in new construction so close to the beach anywhere in Naples."
  •  Location - For new homes in this price range the location can't be better. The beach is only six minutes away and you're in a corridor of shopping ranging from Gucci and Saks Fifth Avenue to Target and Macy's.
  • Low Property Taxes - At Marbella Lakes you're ensured you're paying the lowest property taxes possible. Your taxable value is actually equal to your home's market value. This is not the case in many communities affected by inordinately decreasing property values. Property owners in other communities have to either file a complaint with the Clerk of the Value Adjustment Board by September 11th, 2009 or wait until the following year to see how much the Property Appraiser has adjusted your home's value. Why would you want to pay more property taxes or have to fight your way to what you should be paying anyway?

It's been several years since Naples real estate has been this well located at such a great value. The prices at Marbella Lakes start at $199,900 for the Carriage Homes (condos) and $309,900 for single-family homes. There are several Marbella Lakes homes ready to move in now and others in various stages of construction. Or you can choose your lot and build from the ground up in about four months. For more detailed information or to request a brochure go to the web site at

Search Just Like a Realtor for Naples Real Estate and find your dream home today.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Naples Home Sales Increase 100% As Inventory Declines

Overall pending home sales increased at least 100 percent in October 2009 compared to October 2008 in each price category under 2 million, according to a report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding new construction sales and Marco Island ).

Summer is usually a slow time of year for Naples real estate, but this year there was increased activity from Northern buyers wanting to take advantage of bargain prices for Naples FL homes. There were over twice the number of contracts written this October as compared to last year. This is a significant indicator that Naples is already well into recovery mode.

The properties in the under $300,000 market have led the way in sales for the past few months. However, the market recovery is now working its way up to the higher priced properties. Pending sales in the $300,000 to $500,000 price segment have increased 150 percent from 48 contracts in October 2008 to 120 contracts in October 2009.

Strong demand has already put a dent in higher than normal inventory levels. The available inventory declined 14 percent to 9,347 in October 2009 from 10,815 in October 2008.

Additional signs of strong demand are seen in Naples new construction sales (these are not included in the NABOR statistics above). Marbella Lakes has been the "singlefamily hot spot," according to local broker Ross McIntosh. "The builder has pulled 119 permits so far this year," he said.

And according to Patti Fortune, a sales associate at Marbella Lakes, "prices of our Naples homes homes for sale have actually gone up across the board approximately $10,000.00 since we opened at the end of February 2009. We're seeing increased interest and sales. You simply can't find a better value in new construction so close to the beach anywhere in Naples."

Increased sales, inventory declines and new home sales (and even price increases) all point to a strong recovery for Naples real estate. Buyers who hesitate too long will miss the best opportunity in the last decade to purchase Naples FL homes at bargain prices.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stumpjumper Trail Crew Application

Here in Southwest Florida we bunny-hop alligators for fun, drink swamp-water when thirsty and ride 100 miles through deep sand for kicks. All kidding aside, most people are shocked to learn that there is any mountain biking here, much less competitive local single-track (see the "S" in the trail to the right, paint it red and it's calling out, "I am Specialized.").

As a displace
d snow skier and athlete I was looking for a way to stay fit and enjoy our the Florida outdoors beyond the sandy beaches, golf courses and endless boating we're famous for. For me, mountain biking winding, fast single-track three or four times a week is about as close to nirvana as it gets.

I was hooked in 2004 and bought my first mountain bike, an S-Works Epic. I figured anything worth doing is worth doing with the best mountain bike in existence. I Am

Over the years I've ridden in local races (Xterra came here this year), traveled to 24-hour races and enjoyed epic rides from North Carolina to Colorado. But this year, I plan to take it up another notch.

With Lance's inspiration from his amazing feats in the Tour and mountain biking (something he's passionate about as well) in races like the Leadville Trail 100, I'm planning an epic adventure alongside the 2010 Tour de France. Plans are crystallizing to ride the mountainous terrain alongside the Tour beginning in Rotterdam and ending Paris.

I lived in Europe (Switzerland mostly) for almost two-years after college. I'm eager to get back to the Alps. This time, on my mountain bike, I'll be able to cover more ground than ever.

And with a new 2010 S-Works Stumpjumper FSR (the 2004 S-Works Epic is showing the creeks and digs of older age) under me, those extreme climbs will seem like the flat-lands of Florida back home!

Besides my good looks and strong, sexy legs, I bring the following extras to the table to the Stumpjumper Trail Crew:

  • I'm self-employed & love to travel.
  • Born leader in life, business and on the trail. Let me lead Southwest FL into Specialized territory. I decree NO more "Trek days" at our local trails - Trek Sucks! All mountain bikers in this kingdom shall be branded (no wimpy tattoos) with the "S" from this day forward.
  • I have 2,747 Twitter Followers and counting on my main Twitter account (I have 8 others).
  • Internet & Social media expertise (I know how to use links and labels as evidenced here). I could easily start a new blog just about mountain biking (would if you like), but believe this real estate blog can reach a more diverse group of people and teach them about mountain biking in Southwest Florida.
  • I have two Facebook pages and various associated groups.
  • I have five prominent web sites on the first page of Google for their search terms: Marbella Lakes, Aviano at Naples, Naples Real Estate, Naples Real Estate For SaleNaples MLS & others.
  • I'm a published writer.
  • I work with a broad base of real estate clients around the world from Europe to Colorado. Many are luxury home buyers that can afford top-of-the-line carbon bikes.
  • And did I mention, I love
For the Specialized Trail Crew (highly subliminal message: Pick Me!) or to join me on a local ride, please email or call me on my cell phone at 239-289-0799. See you on the trail!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Please, Overcharge Me for My Property Tax

I don't think anybody likes receiving a tax bill,
much less overpaying for property taxes in the
se challenging economic times. Foreclosures and short sales have taken a toll on property values across Florida and the country. In Naples real estate we are faced with homes that are often taxed at taxable market values above true market values. These are terms I have coined to explain why you're property values are not in line with current home sales.The difference between the two can make all the difference in the world to your pocket book.

Taxable Market Value

Each year the Collier County Property Appraiser re-assesses the market value of all the property in Collier County for tax purposes.
The Property Appraiser prepares the tax roll, but does not collect taxes or determine tax rates. The Property Appraiser does this by looking at the supply and demand through buying and selling transactions. This system for coming up with taxable market value works well in a market of increasing property values, but fails to react fast enough in a market of rapidly falling property values that we have seen over the past two years.

The failure in the system (and the little known fact) stems from the Florida State laws that prohibit the Property Appraiser from using any foreclosures and short sale transactions in their assessment of market value. In many communities, foreclosures and short sales dominate and even outnumber acceptable, or what the Property Appraiser considers arm's-length, transactions.

True Market Value

True market value reflects the actual sales you see taking place in the Naples real estate market today. It takes into account the combined closed sales of all properties, including foreclosures and short sales. This is the reality of what your home is worth when you put it on the market today and it must compete with all the properties in your neighborhood that are in default or have gone to foreclosure.

Unfortunately, you can't march into the Collier County Property Appraiser's office with a list of closed short sale and foreclosures to demonstrate that they should reduce your properties market value. Florida law prohibits those sales from being used in the re-evaluation of your property.

What Can I Do if My Opinion of Market Value Differs from the Property Appraiser's?

The first step to consider if your opinion of market value differs from the Property Appraiser's is to call them (239-252-8141) and discuss it. I have found them to be very open to discussing how they arrived at a specific property value.

If you've spoken with them and still disagree, the next step is to request a hearing before the Value Adjustment Board. You must file a written petition with the Clerk of the Circuit Court (acting as the Clerk of the Value Adjustment Board). You can obtain the correct forms from their site by clicking here (just follow the link to "Rules and Procedures for the Value Adjustment Board" in the center of the page).

Your signed petition should be post marked by September 11, 2009 (the date indicated at the bottom of the Proposed Property Tax Notice you should have received in the mail in August.

If you have any questions about closed sales in Naples, we would be happy to assist you. And if you are looking to sell your home and find a new home at true market value where you are not overpaying property taxes, we can show you how. There are wonderful Naples homes and condos for sale where you won't pay a penny extra in property taxes. And to top if off they are actually increasing in value! Wouldn't that be a breath of fresh air.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two Naples Florida Homes Sell for $14 Million -Each!

If increasing home sales in Naples, Florida are any indication of positive momentum in the real estate market, then the recent sale of two separate $14 million dollar homes certainly proves the uber luxury market is alive and well.

The first home sold on July 29Th, 2009 for $14,000,000 in the subdivision of The Strand at Bay Colony. Locals refer to this unique stretch of home as "the castles in the sand." This home of over 10,000 square feet of living area was designed by David Humphries. It is on the beach with amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico.

The second home sold on August 14Th, 2009 for $14,135,000 in one of the most prestigious communities in the world. Port Royal is at the pinnacle of luxury real estate on Florida's Gulf Coast. This stunning new home was designed by Harrell & Co. Architects. Situated on a waterfront cove with Gulf access, it has over 7,000 square feet of living area. This home was sold fully furnished for cash.

With sales like these and even more volume in home sales under one million, the second half of 2009 continues to be a strong buyer's market with incredible values for those wishing to make a move to Naples for the first time or up in size or location to a waterfront or beachfront home.

There were 652 sales (not including new construction sales) in Naples in July of 2009 compared to 378 during July of last year. Thirty-four of the July sales this year were luxury homes and condos over one million dollars. And in August, there are already over 244 sales as of August 20, 2009.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Contract Offer: What Price to Start With

by David Fialk

When a decision is made to make an offer to purchase a home, be sure to go back and take a second look. It is so much easier changing your mind about a home before a contract offer is made than after a contract offer is accepted and signed by the seller. This second appointment would be a perfect time to bring along others who may have an impact on a buying decision, such as parents, friend, contractor, etc.

Go through the home a second time and look beyond the owner’s d├ęcor, whether it was the home just previewed, the first one seen earlier in the day or the one previewed last week. Why? There are many reasons, but most importantly is seeing if the second look creates the same good feeling as the first, and then taking a closer look to see if there are aspects of the home missed during the first preview which may alter the decision to submit a contract offer.

So what is the right price to start with?

That depends on a number of things, such as the risk of losing the home to another buyer, how close to market value the seller’s asking price is and what is the maximum price willing to be paid for the home. As mentioned earlier, there is no cardinal rule that there must be some fixed amount that a seller will negotiate from their asking price.

Even though the current market is considered a buyer’s market, there are many properties on the market for sale where the listing price is at, or very near market value, and where price negotiation will not be as great as other properties on the market that are priced well above market value.
In fact, don’t be surprised to find that there are multiple offers being submitted and negotiated. This does occur, more often than most buyers imagine, and it happens when a seller prices their home to sell and sets a very attractive list price to attract buyers and sell fast.

When negotiating a real estate purchase offer, the seller wants to sell at the highest price and the buyer wants to buy at the lowest price! The reality is that a home will sell for what is worth, whether a seller is looking to get more or a buyer wants to pay less. Contract negotiation is all about getting agreement.

Often overlooked by home buyers at this point in the home buying process is the experience and value of their REALTOR in the contract negotiating process. In preparing to make a contract offer, a buyer needs to obtain as much information as possible, and much of that information will be provided by their buyer agent.

This is the point in time when buyers need to have trust in their REALTOR when asking for recommendations and guidance. The truth of the matter is that this is the point in time when the buyer must know and believe that their agent’s concerns are for them, and not for themselves!
An experienced buyer’s agent should prepare, provide and review a market analysis of the home and provide the history of the listing with their client when preparing a contract offer. In addition, a buyer should also a obtain a sellers disclosure if one is available and obtain additional background information about the home, such as the sellers desired closing time frame, if any offers were previously submitted or if a contract offer is currently being negotiated. This is information buyers should have when preparing to make a contract offer. Information like this is invaluable when deciding what price to offer and how to negotiate when submitting a contract offer.

So how does a buyer start negotiating to purchase a home?

That depends on the home. There are homes on the market for sale that are simply over priced, some slightly over priced, and then there are those listings that are priced to sell. There are home sellers who are pricing their home at three year ago price levels and will sell only if they get their price, there are sellers who must sell within a certain time frame and there are sellers who just have to sell.

In contract negotiations, one size does not fit all.

While there are many homes on the market, only one buyer gets to own the home in contract negotiations. A home buyer needs to decide how much they want a specific home and at what price!

Published: July 6, 2009
Copyright © 2009. Realty Times ®. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Naples Real Estate Sales Up in June 2009

The second half of 2009 continues to be a strong buyer's market with incredible values for those wishing to make a move to Naples for the first time or up in size or location to a waterfront or beachfront home.

There were 647 sales (excluding new construction sales) in June of 2009 compared to 493 during June of last year. Forty-eight (about 1.6 homes per day) of the June sales this year were luxury homes and condos over one million dollars. At the pinnacle of the June market, a home in Port Royal sold for seven million dollars.

For specific information on closed sales, please contact us and we'd be happy to provide you with lists and detailed information so you can make the best buying or selling decision. Or follow this link to search for all Naples real estate for sale.

You can reach Mark Weber, broker for White Sands Realty at 239-289-0799 or by email at

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Reality Check: Tweet & Sell

By: Maxine Ginsberg

"Twitter” used to be a word. associated with bird sounds or general excitement, but now it’s synonymous with a high-flying social media service based at Oprah, actor Ashton Kutcher and CNN have recently nudged Twitter further into the national conscience, but the publicity was hardly necessary. Unofficial figures for the free service that bills itself as a place for friends to connect estimate monthly users in the millions.

The networking potential of the hot new medium is not lost on Naples real estate broker Mark Weber. The owner of White Sands Realty reports he has been posting “tweets” on his site for about three months and has good results.

“I've heard from people from various parts of the country and even from a man in Greece,” the Naples realtor says. “I like the immediacy of it and the opportunity to create a global presence.”

Weber’s Twitter site, NaplesProperty, includes a short biography, family photo, some quotes, real estate advice and, at one point, a virtual tour of a $16.4 million sold property that has drawn a lot of response, he says.

“Twitter is as much about giving your knowledge freely as it is self-promotion,” he says. “It’s truly an interesting balance, siding on giving. Then, every once in a while, when you need to promote something truly worthy, your followers will listen to your request. A good, but unwritten, rule is that for every self-promoting tweet, you should give seven tweets of unique, free information.”

For example, Weber recently informed followers about a new addendum to real estate contracts concerning Chinese drywall and supplied a link for those who want more information.

“Tweets are limited to 140 characters,” he explains, “so you have to be concise and plan your content carefully.”

Followers, as they are called, can access Twitter through their cell phones or computers. Those who have a registered site can also forward material received. Weber says he likes his heightened profile and the increased prospects for new business.

“There may be potential home buyers out there with whom I’m making a connection, or fellow professionals with whom I can forge mutually beneficial,” he says. “One guy in California contacted me about referrals, and a couple seeking a local condo also found me through Twitter.”

Copyright © 2009 ®. Gulfshore Life Magazine All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Investor Report: Undervalued Property

by Kenneth R. Harney

One of the keys to successful real estate investing has always been to buy undervalued property -- and avoid anything that's way overpriced.

Well, now a new study from the international consulting group IHS Global Insight has identified dozens of undervalued metropolitan markets - where household incomes, employment, population density and other factors - could support higher housing prices, but just aren't doing it at the moment.

Some of the most undervalued markets as of the first quarter of 2009, according to the new study, are formerly high-flying boom-era cities where prices soared and then crashed. They include:

  • Vero Beach, Florida, where prices are now 42.5percent below where they “should” be based on the underlying economics. You may recall that a few weeks ago, Realty Times reported on a New York investor, Larry Kestin of Glenmont Capital, who bought a mixed package of new houses and developed lots in Vero Beach for just under $9 million.

    At the height of the boom, that same real estate was appraised at $100 million, according to Kestin. So he came away with a bargain basement deal of about nine cents on the dollar in Vero Beach.

  • Also on the “most undervalued” list - Las Vegas, where today's $140,000 median house price is down drastically from the $290.000 median of the first quarter of 2006. Global Insight puts Las Vegas's overall market undervaluation today at 40.9 percent.

  • Then there's Fort Myers/Cape Coral, Florida. Once the hottest spot in the country during the boom for investors snapping up condos, Ft. Myers today is the foreclosure capital of the state. Its $119,000 median price in the first quarter contrasts with the $245,000 median just three years ago.

  • Naples Florida, just down the west cost from Ft. Myers, is rated 33 percent undervalued by Global Insight. Its current $200,000 median price is about half of what it was in 2006 -- $392,000.

  • Reno, Nevada is rated 26 percent undervalued based on its underlying economic fundamentals. Today's median is $179,000 compared with a roaring $324,500 three years ago.

  • Finally, San Francisco, believe it or not, is on sale - undervalued by 25 percent, according to Global Insight researchers. Back in 2006, the median house price in San Francisco topped $811,000. Today it's “just” $578,000.

    Now, not all undervalued markets are boom to bust, high-volatility sorts of places.

    High on Global Insight's list are two big markets that in recent years missed the wild appreciation of the boom, and have only experienced modest price deflation: Houston, which is 36.9 percent undervalued -- and Dallas, where median prices are about 32 percent below what the market fundamentals could actually support.

Published: June 12, 2009

Copyright © 2009. Realty Times ®. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Delayed Financing Bringing Luxury Buyers Back to the Market

by Peter L. Mosca

In an economic landscape that is unpredictable at best, obtaining financing for multi-million-dollar land/homes packages has become almost impossible feat for many luxury buyers seeking to build their dream home. The developer of Colorado's luxury community Tessa Mesa outside Castle Rock is looking to change that with a rare financing package that lets buyers secure their estate site now and postpone the building process until market conditions improve.

C&A Companies, Tessa Mesa's developer, also is offering buyers interest-only financing through its preferred lending relationships for up to four years, thus allowing buyers time to sell their existing home and design their new home on a timeline that is comfortable for them. Buyers can build when the time is right for them, whether that's now or years from now.
"We understand that people are hesitant to look too far into the future while in the midst of a turbulent economy," said David Pretzler, C&A Companies principal. "We also know that banks will hardly look at new construction financing especially in the luxury custom sector. Our stimulus package gives buyers the opportunity to secure exceptional financing terms so they can build their dream home right now if they want to. These financing options are really unheard of in this economic climate." For those who want to begin the building process now, C&A Companies' lender is offering special home construction financing that requires only 20% down and gives credit for lot equity as part of the down payment.

Tessa Mesa is a 600-acre gated community comprising 16 estate lots ranging in size from 35 to 41 acres. Remaining estate lot pricing starts at $899,000. "The estate lots have level, generous, ready-to-build envelopes that make them ideal horse properties or family estates," added C&A Companies. "Zoning allows for a primary residence, up to two guest houses, a barn and other outbuildings such as a sports pavilion."

"With today's market conditions, enthusiastic and experienced borrowers are finding it increasingly challenging to gain financing in the time needed to accomplish their endeavors," added Ido Gerber, Metro Funding Corp. (MFC) associate, whose firm, a private asset-based lender from Paramus (NJ) recently announced the funding of a $1,400,000 loan for the acquisition of a 13.5 acre parcel in York (PA). MFC makes financing possible for borrowers who have strict timelines, allowing them to complete their projects successfully." After careful underwriting, MFC was able to structure the transaction in a way that allowed the borrower to acquire the property from the local school district. With a $28,000,000 HUD loan, the borrower plans to construct a residential complex, which will include affordable housing for the retirement community in the area.

Another firm doing well in this challenging environment is the Program Solutions Group, a Toledo-based commercial construction company who has achieved growth, prosperity and a high profile client list. In face, in recent months, they have been contracted for several of metropolitan Toledo's most exciting and prominent development projects, including the 500,000 sq. ft. expansion for First Solar Perrysburg, Ohio, the new Health Care REIT headquarters on Dorr St. in Toledo, and Dana Holding Corporation's relocation to new headquarters at their Maumee, Ohio, Technology Campus.
"For us, building lasting relationships is just as important as building a permanent structure," said Program Solutions Group's president, Wayne Burrer. "And you do that by having transparency and communication throughout every facet of the project -- especially in this economic climate, when every dime spent needs to be carefully managed." “We approach each project with the understanding that the growth and success of our business is fully dependent on our ability to exceed the expectations of our customers," says Burrer. "In good times and bad."

A word of caution from Edward J. Sullivan, PCA chief economist: "Without further government cash injections into the banking system, tight lending standards could characterize the economy and mortgage lending through mid-2011 dragging down home sales," he said. "Under such a scenario, the housing recovery and overall economic recovery could be delayed significantly." Whether it is delayed funding like that from the C&A Companies, or the opening of credit markets fueled by government intervention, the need for lending and money to be pumped back into the marketplace is the key to an economic – and housing – recovery. This story, and others like it, proves that industry players are doing their part to get lending moving forward.

Reprinted by permission of RealtyTimes: April 29, 2009

Use of this article without permission is a violation of federal
copyright laws.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Residential Real Estate Sales On the Rise in Naples Florida

New contracts (pending sales) for residential homes were off the charts for March 2009 in Naples. And with 423 properties already closed in April, plus 1,075 pending, we are looking to surpass March averages.

The luxury real estate market is also trending higher. A $16.4 Million dollar beachfront home sold for cash on April 17th.

Meanwhile, the median sold price for residential homes continues to decline.

In recap, sales are up and prices are down. It's a buyers market in Naples Florida Real Estate.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The $1.00 Deal List: The Best Deals in Naples Real Estate - Don't Miss Out!

I don't know a buyer, investor or even Realtor out there that isn't looking for "the deal of the millennium." Deals are here, there and everywhere - depending on your definition of a deal.

I can find you a short sale or pre-foreclosure that may take three months to six months just to get an answer as to whether the bank will agree to the price, or not. I can find you a bank owned home (foreclosure or REO) for $24,900 in Naples, Florida today (April 14, 2009). I can find you waterfront home with three bedrooms and Gulf access in Naples for under $100,000 (seriously, it's there on the Naples MLS, I just checked).

Lest you get too excited, keep in mind, "one man's paradise is another man's hell (women get equality here)." A Gulf access home sold "As Is" with raised floors that are separating from the interior walls and falling back to the earth, may not be your picture of waterfront bliss. Or a two bedroom condo in a community of predominantly rental units, may not be the community where you dreamed of retiring.

At the risk of stating the obvious, it's a buyer's market and buyer's have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating price today, period. My advice, as a broker and fifteen-year veteran, is to concentrate on the location, community and style of home (condo, single-family, attached or detached villa, etc.) that meets your needs. And the deal or, better yet, value will come.

A special note to investors: Be wary of the, "I can't possibly lose money on this deal," deal. You can and you may very well. Just because it's going for thirty cents on the dollar doesn't mean it's going to sell for fifty cents on the dollar, even if you install granite and neutral paint. "Flipping" is a relic of the past. And remember you have closing costs, real estate commissions, carrying costs and rehab expenses to recoup.

For those of you looking for the "$1.00 Deal List," it does not exist, yet, in Naples. Sorry to burst your bubble of anticipation. What you will find are many excellent values that were not available this time last year. Naples Florida remains a prized location on the Gulf of Mexico that is now a bit more accessible to almost anyone who desires a truly amazing place to live, work, play, and enjoy life.

Those of you that are looking for the vacation deal of a lifetime or a family home you can really afford are in the driver's seat. Keep your sales horizon above five years and do your homework. Use the public records to find closed sales and ask your Realtor for the properties listing history (she should have it at her fingertips). Then make a reasonable offer and feel confident that you are getting the best value available today for your hard earned dollar.

Great deal hunting! May you find your piece of paradise in Naples Florida Real Estate.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dear Homeowner

by Rita Bradley
Reprinted by Permission of Realty Times

Dear Homeowner,

I was very sorry to hear about the possible foreclosure of your home. I'm sure this is a very unpleasant time for you.

I'm sure none of it is your fault. Your friends and neighbors were on their way to becoming millionaires, on paper at least, from owning real estate. You'd have to have been crazy not to take advantage of such an easy money making scheme. The friendly loan officer (that called you one night while you were eating dinner) said that real estate would NEVER go down in value! And banks really wanted to lend you the money. They visited the mortgage broker offices every week offering fabulous programs for their clients. And the fact that your job pays just a bit more than minimum wage was a simple obstacle to overcome. You just got a “stated” loan and stated that you had enough income to afford the house of your dreams. I understand, really I do.

Did you have to get that second cash-out refinance though? You'd already bought a new car, a motorcycle and furniture for the house. You'd already taken the family on an amazing vacation in Hawaii. Well okay, it was YOUR house and you had equity right? Or did you?

Do you remember when I came to appraise your home? Do you remember telling me that you wouldn't pay for the appraisal unless my appraisal made your loan work? Did you know it's illegal to pressure an appraiser like that? Do you recall telephoning my office and threatening to report me to the state appraisal board because my appraised value was “short”? That's okay, your loan officer found a new, “good” appraiser, a new appraisal was done and you got your money. By the way, not that you'd care, but your loan officer never called me again because my appraisal almost killed his deal and I lost another source of work. This happened a lot during the real estate boom. My family's cars are old, our furniture threadbare and there hasn't been a vacation in a long time because I didn't inflate appraisal values.

I'm not a whiner. I would have just faded into the woodwork on this topic but lately I've been hearing about how appraisers caused this mess and how homeowners should be helped to stay in their homes even if they can't afford them. I'm hearing that my tax dollars and those of my children and grandchildren are going to be used to help people like you who lived way above their means and are now crying fowl. It hurts to think that after all the fun you had with the bank's money and with no prospect of making good on the legal contract you signed to pay it back, that you can't just take your lumps and rent for awhile. It would be the honorable thing to do.

I was just trying to protect you that day we met, from borrowing more money than your home was worth. I hope you can appreciate that now. For the future, may I make a couple of suggestions? You might want to take a look at your household income and figure out how much you can afford a month for housing. Most financial experts recommend putting no more than 1/3 of your income into housing costs (including utilities). This leaves money for other expenses and even savings. Savings are another important component of smart money management. Having an emergency fund decreases reliance on credit cards when the car needs new tires or other unexpected things come up. This is not a good time to run up your credit cards. I would also recommend reading over any document you sign. Just because some of the print is small doesn't mean it doesn't apply to you. And finally, with all due respect, could you stop blaming appraisers for your poor decisions? You'll continue to have the same disastrous outcomes in your life until you come to terms with your past mistakes and learn from them.

Your Former Appraiser

Rita Bradley is a freelance writer, online appraisal marketer and former real estate appraiser.
Published: March 26, 2009
Use of this article without permission is a violation of federal
copyright laws.