Remember those long road trips as a kid and feeling like you weren’t ever going to make it to your final destination? Once you finally got close, it almost seemed surreal because you were so worn out and tired of staying in the same boring backseat. It became the norm. Well, that’s how the real estate world seemed over the past 10 years. That’s when this Great Recession starting raising it’s ugly head. And since we were in this for so long, it was beginning to feel like it would never end — like it was the new norm.
WAKE UP! WE’RE HERE! While there’s still some softness in different markets and sectors, the recession is over. Consumer confidence is way up, the stock market is reaching all-time highs, and real estate is appreciating once again. If you get rid of the bad taste that’s lingered for years and take off the economic blinders, you’ll see it for yourself too. This hasn’t happened over night. Homebuilders have witnessed it for more than a year now.
Well over a year ago, homebuilders began experiencing more traffic (walk-ins) and an increase in sales. As builders’ confidence rose, spec homes became a normal part of most communities again. Along with this increase in activity, builders were finally able to slowly increase prices trying to achieve a more reasonable profit.
So, as new homes are appreciating, resale values have also increased leading to homeowners regaining equity and finally being able to list/sell their home if desired. The ridiculously low interest rates allow more buyers to buy and we are once again seeing a more normal healthy market.
We should see this trend continue even with potential interest rate hikes expected toward the latter part of the year. More homeowners will make the decision to sell their home and move, taking the regained equity and putting it in a new home. Other homeowners will refinance their existing mortgage or obtain a HELOC (home equity line of credit), using the money to renovate their existing home. Whatever the case, this is all great news for our economy.
On a more microeconomic level, we live in the best county in the state and one of the best in the country. Our first-class schools, youth sports complexes, waterways and ocean in our backyard, newer infrastructure, and overall quality of life are bringing more buyers to our market. On top of all these wonderful “amenities,” the commercial and retail growth we are about to experience with Gate’s new town center being planned (at Race Track and I-95) and better roadway connections (mainly 9B) imminent, our area should experience above average growth compared to our neighbors. This increase in local demand should further accelerate appreciation in residential real estate. “We” are really positioned perfectly!
Take a look at the chart showing MLS data by zip code for single family homes in our area over the last six months (Aug 14– Jan 15). We are under-supplied with listings (healthy market is 6-7 months), the days on market is incredibly low (norm is 90-120 days), and sellers are getting an average of 98% of their list price. This is a “seller’s market” folks. The doom and gloom days are over for now.
If you are thinking about making a move, it’s a great time to do so especially since you can take advantage of the rock bottom interest rates. If you’re like a lot of us that love where we live, have become close with our neighbors, and don’t want to move, it’s also an excellent opportunity to renovate your home. Many financing options are available if you don’t have the cash, and making renovations to your home in most cases will further increase the value of your home. More importantly, it allows you to stay in your current home but make it feel like a new home once again.
For this reason, we repurposed the former Cobblestone restaurant as the Florida Home Store (FHS). With over 50,000 homes in our area, most of which are over 10 years old, FHS is the perfect solution for homeowners, providing premier design and remodel services.
We quietly opened our doors at the beginning of the year and are seeing a mixture of existing homeowners wanting to update their current homes and new homeowners looking to renovate the resale home they just purchased. The expansive showroom, with everything from cabinets and flooring to roofing and outdoor living, is the perfect opportunity to fall in love with your home again. We hope you’ll make an appointment to come tour the showroom and meet our home design professionals.
St. Johns Magazine blog features articles written by & about the people, places and events of St. Johns and the surrounding communities.