2013 outlook good for housing market, Realtors see fewer foreclosures and more sales

In Florida's housing market, the boom to bust cycle isn't quite booming again. But Realtors from around the state met Wednesday to share some promising signs.  

 

For sale signs still aren't hard to find in our area, but there aren't as many as years past. In St. Lucie County, the available home inventory has dropped from 40 months worth in 2006, to just 4 months now.

 

"The market right now is responding to that low inventory and strong demand.  Demand is up quite a bit over last year as well. The result is an increase in median prices," said Donn Wonderling, President-Elect of the Realtors Association of St. Lucie.

 

That's not the only good news.  Looking at October for instance, home sales are up compared to October of last year, anywhere from 21% in St. Lucie County, to 22% in Palm Beach County, 42% in Martin County, and 45% in Indian River County.

 

"Demand has been strong. Investors are coming into the market to buy real estate they see as an opportunity to make money," added Wonderling.

 

That's a sentiment echoed by Dr. John Tucillo, the chief economist for the Florida Association of Realtors.

 

He spoke at a summit in Orlando Wednesday, telling the audience the numbers have been pointing in the right direction since 2009 and the market has stabilized, where neither buyers nor sellers has the advantage.

 

He added the importance of the real estate market in the nations economy can't be overstated.

 

 "The housing market is responsible for about 17 percent of gross domestic product. As a result when housing gets better the economy gets better and right now housing is one of the best sectors in the economy," said Dr. Tucillo.

 

There are two things though on the horizon realtors are watching.  One is the possibility that the mortgage interest deduction would be eliminated.  The second is an expiring tax break given to short sellers on their forgiven debt.  If those are taken away, Realtors feel whatever momentum has been built up, may come crashing down.

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