The Latest 2015 Real Estate Predictions

We are about to ring in the New Year which is very exciting! Here are a few interesting 2015 real estate predictions!  Keep reading for the latest set of predictions coming from Freddie Mac…


“The good news for 2015 is that the U.S. economy appears well-poised to sustain about a 3 percent growth rate in 2015 — only the second year in the past decade with growth at that pace or better,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

“Governmental fiscal drag has turned into fiscal stimulus; lower energy costs support consumer spending and business investment; further easing of credit conditions for business and real estate lending support commerce and development; and consumers are more upbeat and businesses are more confident, all of which portend faster economic growth in 2015. And with that, the economy will produce more and better-paying jobs, providing the financial wherewithal to support household formations and housing activity.”

Here are Freddie Mac’s predictions for 2015:

  1. Mortgage Rates: Interest rates will likely be on the rise next year. In recent weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has dipped below 4 percent. But by next year, Freddie projects mortgage rates to average 4.6 percent and inch up to 5 percent by the end of the year.
  1. Home Prices: By the time 2014 wraps up, home appreciation will likely have slowed to 4.5 percent this year from 9.3 percent last year. Appreciation is expected to drop further to an average 3 percent in 2015. “Continued house-price appreciation and rising mortgage rates will dampen affordability for home buyers,” according to Freddie economists. “Historically speaking, that’s moving from ‘very high’ levels of affordability to ‘high’ levels of affordability.”
  1. Housing Starts: Homebuilding is expected to ramp up in the new year, projected to rise by 20 percent from this year. That will likely help total home sales to climb by about 5 percent, reaching the best sales pace in eight years.
  1. Single-Family Originations: Mortgage originations of single-family homes will likely slip by an additional 8 percent, which can be attributed to a steep drop in refinancing volume. Refinancing is expected to make up only 23 percent of originations in 2015; they had been making up more than half in recent years.
  1. Multi-Family Mortgage Originations: Mortgage originations for the multi-family sector have surged about 60 percent between 2011 and 2014. Increases are expected to continue in 2015, projected to rise about 14 percent.

Naples FL Real Estate and More: 3 Percent down payments for buyers

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac just officially announced their 97 percent loan-to-value products, which is aiming to expand credit to first-time home buyers.

FHFA Director Mel Watt said:

“The new lending guidelines released by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will enable creditworthy borrowers who can afford a mortgage, but lack the resources to pay a substantial down payment plus closing costs, to get a mortgage with 3% down. These underwriting guidelines provide a responsible approach to improving access to credit while ensuring safe and sound lending practices.”

MortgageTo mitigate risk, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will use their automated underwriting systems, which include compensating factors to evaluate a borrower’s creditworthiness.  In addition, the new products will also include homeownership counseling FHFA will monitor the ongoing performance of these loans.

These products came just when economists have predicted 2015 to be a significant year for millennials.  Economists say that households headed by millennials will see significant growth as a reflection of economic gains. Millennials will also drive two-thirds of household formations over the next five years. Next year’s addition of 2.75 million jobs and increased household formation will be the two key factors driving first-time buyer sales.

Regarding Fannie and Freddie’s products, there are notable differences between the two.  Unlike Fannie, Freddie is not limiting its product to first-time homebuyers. But if they are first-time homebuyers, they must participate in an acceptable borrower education program, like Freddie Mac’s CreditSmart, to qualify for the program.

Real Estate: NAR Reports Home Sales Increase Nationally

Existing-home sales rose in October for the second straight month and are now above year-over-year levels for the first time in a year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, Marketcondominiums and co-ops, rose 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million in October from an upwardly-revised 5.18 million in September. Sales are at their highest annual pace since September 2013 (also 5.26 million) and are now above year-over-year levels (2.5 percent from last October) for the first time since last October.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist stated:

“Sales activity in October reached its highest annual pace of the year as buyers continue to be encouraged by interest rates at lows not seen since last summer, improving levels of inventory and stabilizing price growth. Furthermore, the job market has shown continued strength in the past six months. This bodes well for solid demand to close out the year and the likelihood of additional months of year-over-year sales increases.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $208,300, which is 5.5 percent above October 2013. This marks the 32nd consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of October fell 2.6 percent to 2.22 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace – the lowest since March (also 5.1 months). Unsold inventory is now 5.2 percent higher than a year ago, when there were 2.11 million existing homes available for sale.

All-cash sales were 27 percent of transactions in October, up from 24 percent in September but down from 31 percent in October of last year. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in October, up from 14 percent last month but below October 2013 (19 percent). Sixty-five percent of investors paid cash in October.

Existing-home sales in the South increased 2.8 percent to an annual rate of 2.17 million in October, and are now 5.3 percent above October 2013. The median price in the South was $178,000, up 5.1 percent from a year ago.

November 2014 Naples Real Estate Market Update

A friendly market update just for you… Every month, John R. Wood releases an accurate update on the number of properties that have been listed, are pending, and have closed in the Naples, Bonita, and Estero market. Closings are up 7%, Avg home price if up 10.5%, and the number of available properties is still less than last year!

Please click on the photo to see the report.


Market Report NOV 2014.indd

What do Buyers Really Want?

Luxury Home

What do luxury home buyers REALLY want?

According to some recent research performed by Redfin, some trends were uncovered that includes home features and interior designs. According to their research, here is what’s trending among luxury buyers:

  1. Luxury showers: Forget the Jacuzzi tub. The luxury buyer wants a luxurious shower.  Most people take more showers than baths, so a luxurious stand-alone shower is what’s wanted.
  1. Fire pits by pools: Fire pits and gas fireplaces beside a pool are gaining in popularity. One quick way to warm up after a dip in the pool is to curl up next to a fire that is just steps away!
  1. Tasting rooms: Wine cellars are no longer a dark place in a basement or a closet. Home owners are placing more in living areas to host tastings with friends.
  1. White kitchen cabinets: High-end kitchens with cabinets in white, gray, or black with matching or contrasting countertops are gaining in popularity among the luxury market. Meanwhile, natural-colored wood cabinets are on their way out, she says.
  1. Quartz countertops: Quartz or sandstone in countertops are making granite countertops look more outdated. Quartz comes with a few benefits over granite; it is not as porous and therefore requires less maintenance, and it is less prone to staining.
  1. Grand powder rooms: The powder room is getting a big makeover. These half-baths are getting more attention and fancier with elaborate mirrors, sinks, and lighting fixtures.

The Plan is Out! Central Ave Go-Ahead!

Now we know what will be on the old Naples Daily News property on Central Avenue East of 41! NewCondoConstructionPlan

The plan is out for the 5 year construction plan for a fabulous new 220-condo development on Central Avenue in Old Naples and is underway! The Naples Daily News has released the good news that they got the go-ahead from the Naples Planning Advisory Board on December 10th.  The 8.8 acre development will feature a three-story, mixed use building with 8,000 square feet of commercial space and apartment amenities on the ground floor, including a café, a community room, fitness center, and offices.  Behind it will be the four-story building with 220 one to three bedroom condos and a four-story garage. The building also offers the residents guest suites for friends and family, a landscaped courtyard, and a pool.

The developer, Jon Rubinton of R&B Development not only had a vision of the condo building, but the also a park for the children on the northeast end of the property with an additional 32 parking spaces.  I am very familiar with Jon Rubinton, who with his dad has been along time developer in Naples. I have sold many of his properties over the years in Old Naples, Pelican bay and Mediterra.  A reported $1.18 million donation has been added to the city’s park and trust fund to aid the building of Baker Park, a bridge connecting the park to Gordon River Greenway and add off-site greenways linking the River Park Community Center with the park and greenway.

The only concerns from the local business owners are mainly about how the condos will affect the traffic on Central and 12th Avenue. Robert Polizzotto, a Fun Time Nursery board member expressed worries of safety for children saying that it could be a ‘disaster’.  The reaction has persuaded the Naples City Council to approve a $2.33 million Central Avenue improvement project for three traffic roundabouts and to make it more pedestrian friendly for walking and bicycling by connecting streets and parks. Thus far two roundabouts have been approved by the council.

The building location is where the old Naples Daily News Headquarters previously resided on 1075 Central Avenue which is close to the beach, 5th Avenue. Central Avenue clearly used to be the center of Old Naples. Old Naples now stretched north to the Naples beach hotel and golf club. In earlier days, only properties south of Central Avenue were considered Old Naples.  It is a location wonderfully convenient to shopping on Tamiami Trail.  The library is at 6th St S and Central Ave, the Naples Community Hospital is steps away, and also only four blocks to the renowned 5th Ave of Downtown Naples with it’s variety of restaurants, galleries, and boutiques.  Just beyond is Cambier Park, the Allen Tennis Center, and the von Libig Art Center. You can also find the community children’s playground, the bandstand and the Norris community center with its many activities including Gulf Shore Playhouse.

Lifelong Learning Enriches Your Mind

Never Stop Learning

The Renaissance Academy…a GREAT favorite of mine when I can squeeze in time for some brain cell invigoration!!

As a new year approaches, new opportunities arise for change! Why not utilize some of your time expanding your knowledge and connecting with new faces by enrolling in the Renaissance Academy for a variety of lectures and courses with the opportunity to participate in day trips and even travel abroad!  Are you interested in art, science, health & wellness, music, philosophy, writing, photography, or film? Classes are offered each week with interesting topics that will enrich your life.

Speaking of enriching your life, the Renaissance Academy has a Life Enrichment course.  13 classes are offered that may answer many of your burning questions about intuition and can reveal inner understanding that you’ve never had before.  You can register to participate in the highly interactive sessions that will help you recognize, measure, access, teach, learn, develop, and apply your strengths it in practical ways.  For one who is interested in the concept of lifelong learning, there are many exciting opportunities waiting for you.

Florida Gulf Coast University continues to provide outstanding education since the founding of the Renaissance academy in January of 2001.  FGCU’s passion and value for excellence encourages the exchange of ideas and provides both intellectual simulation and personal enjoyment.  There are no exams or grades, just learning for the joy of learning with friends, neighbors and peers! “It is based on the premise that learning should never cease, that keeping the mind intellectually, creatively and culturally active fundamentally enriches and invigorates our lives.” – Renaissance Academy Mission Statement

You can become an academy member and save up to 20 percent on most programs.  The great thing about membership is how cost efficient they are! Are you here annually? Spend $50 per person or $80 for same-household couples.  For those that are snowbirds, a seasonal membership is $35 per person or $60 for same-household couples.  The classes are offered at different locations in the Collier, Lee, and Charlotte Counties: Marco Island, Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero, Fort Myers, and Punta Gorda.

Naples FL Ranked in Top Five Best Towns for the Holidays

When you think of the best American Towns to spend your holiday season, places like Aspen, Vail and Nantucket Christmas-palm-trees-300x199may come to mind. However, for those wanting a warmer holiday season that still provides a festive, holiday spirit, we think Naples, Florida is the place to be! And the readers of Time Magazine’s agree with us!

Travel + Leisure just posted their reader’s list of the best towns for the holidays and Naples, FL was ranked number five! Here’s an excerpt from that article:

This Florida town lacks snowman-building material—it ranked highly in the survey for warm weather and beach getaways. But the snowbird-style winter wonderland still lured holiday revelers with its luxury stores, cool boutiques, and festive ambience. Third Street South is the headquarters for the official tree, evening “snow” showers during Thanksgiving week, and gorgeous window displays, like those at department store Marissa Collections in the Old Naples Historic District. Continue shopping along Fifth Avenue South, and check out whimsical clothing and gift shop Wind in the Willows, whose window won Best in Show at the 2013 local holiday decorating contest. Of course, the holidays are about more than retail; catch the Naples edition of the worldwide TUBA  Christmas, a concert on Fifth Avenue South’s Sugden Plaza featuring brass tubas, euphoniums, and baritones.

Where are you spending your holidays this year?  Why not join us here in beautiful in Naples, FL?

Home prices up 15.7% in November


At the Naples Area Board of Realtors on Friday – reports showed that while the low inventory put a damper on sales, it  caused prices to jump in the beginning of the season when real estate business really picks up.

The median price for a resale property a year earlier was $272,000 and has risen 15.7 percent since then.  That is almost twice the normal year-to-year increase when prices for homes and condos rose 8.2 percent!

NABOR president Mike Hughes released a statement, “Prices have been rising so rapidly all year, there’s a rush to buy before they go even higher.”  The sense of urgency has caused local buyers and out-of-state buyers who have just started to arrive to compete.

In the luxury market, it took first place with homes priced $2 million and up which jumped 50 percent from November 2013.  The median price is %3.9 million.  One home in Old Naples closed for just over $7 million.