*Current Happenings in the Housing Market*

Home Price Expenses Climbing Three Times Faster Than Rents:

In the past year, home ownership expense of has climbed 14% versus a 4% rise to rent, per a new report by Realtor.com®, which is tipping the scale towards renting for the first time since 1999. So might there be a way for you to benefit from this development? Certainly. Read on….

How Move-Up Buyers Are Saving for Their Next Home:

“More investment property owners today are everyday homeowners renting out their current home to take advantage of rising rental rates and save for a bigger home,” CNBC reports. In a rising market it can make sense to not sell your house but rather rent it, buy that dream home while collecting premium rent. Lenders are, “… looking at the possibility of making more loans.” confirms Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. “Several years ago, during the depths of the housing crisis, they would have been extremely strict. But now they are looking at the rental income as a mitigating factor for carrying two mortgages.” While we are in the real estate sales business, and not rentals, as one of your real estate resources we share all news that may help you make the best decisions for you and yours

Updates & Predictions – Local & National

Pinellas County: Year-over-year single family home median price in Sept increased 11.7% to $248,000 (Aug. 6.7%). The average price increased 11.2% yoy to $316000 (Aug. 5.8%). Strongest SFHs Sales Price Range: $200,000 – $400,000.
National Predictions: Existing-home median price for 2017 is projected to increase in the 5% range, sales to rise 2.6%.
Summary in seconds: We in Pinellas are outpacing the nation; continued low inventory & rising prices = a stellar seller’s market!
*Sources: NAR (National Assoc. Realtors), Mid-Florida MLS, PRO (Pinellas Realtors Organization), Realtor Magazine, Bloomberg + Langrock expertise, locally grown

Bubble? Nowhere in sight for U.S. housing market

U.S. housing markets are expected to remain healthy through at least the end of 2018, with no housing bubble in sight and no projection of home prices falling, according to the Fall 2017 edition of The Housing and Mortgage Market Review (HaMMR), released by Arch Mortgage Insurance Company.

The HaMMR features the Arch MI Risk Index, a statistical model based on recent housing market indicators. The index suggests that over the next two years, the probability of home price declines in America’s 401 largest cities averages just 4 percent – an unusually low number.

The trend reflects broad-based favorable fundamentals, such as a tightening job market, relatively low interest rates, a low number of homes for sale and an overall housing shortage.

“People waiting for home prices to fall before buying may want to change their strategy, as the overall housing market is expected to stay strong for the foreseeable future,” says Dr. Ralph G. DeFranco, Global Chief Economist, Mortgage Services of Arch Capital Services Inc. “Our research shows no housing bubble is forming in the United States, with prices overall near historic norms compared to incomes.”

The HaMMR also finds that some recent concern about U.S. home prices hitting all-time highs is overblown because, after adjusting for inflation, national home prices are still 10 percent below their prior peak.

However, recovery from the housing crash is not universal. While prices have increased in Colorado, Idaho, North Dakota and the Pacific Northwest (Washington and Oregon), areas like New England and energy-extraction states like Alaska, West Virginia and Wyoming are growing more slowly.

© 2017 Florida Realtors


Studies show fall to early winter can be the best time to buy. It also means autumn can be the right time to sell & buy the home you may be dreaming of. With mortgage rates still attractively under 4%, this might be a good time to consider a move.
Pinellas County: Year-over-year single family home median prices increased 6.7% in August to $237,000 (July y-o-y 11.6%). The y-o-y average price increased by 5.8% to $298,701 (July y-o-y 8.5%). Total county yearly dollar volume increased to $368.3 Million, (3.3%).
*Strongest Sales Price Range*: In August 49% of Pinellas county SFHs sold in the $200,000 – $400,000 range.
National Predictions: Existing-home median price for 2017 is projected to increase in the 5% range, sales to rise 2.6%.
Summary in a sentence: A slight softening, continued low inventory, but still a stellar seller’s market!
*Sources: NAR (National Assoc. Realtors), Mid-Florida MLS, PRO (Pinellas Realtors Organization), Realtor Magazine, Bloomberg + Langrock expertise – locally grown….

For your enjoyment…REAL ESTATE ART

Castles in the air: Innovative designs for communal living

(CNN)As cities around the world try to cope with housing and land shortages, the need for apartment buildings has never been greater.

It’s a reality architects are keenly aware of, with many having proposed radical, beautiful new models for apartment living, including towers that change shapeabsorb carbon, and break up when you do.
However, while the rise in designer apartments has been a boon for top-earners in search of inventive new living quarters, affordable options with the same quality and creativity remain scarce.
“It is convenient as well as financially necessary to live in an apartment. That has raised the recognition of apartments as a pattern of living. But unfortunately in Britain and America, the provision of really high quality, affordable apartments has lagged, and has in fact fallen short of the need,” Michael Webb, author of “Building Community: New Apartment Architecture,”told CNN over the phone, blaming “the lack of support (for creative architects) from private developers, who only want to make a quick profit, or from cities, who’ve dropped out of the housing market.”
“The tragedy is that the best architects worked for public housing authorities or nonprofit housing associations for a number of years, and now through privatization, they no longer can,” he added.

Real Estate Updates:

Pinellas County: Year-over-year single family home (SFH) median prices increased 11.6% in June to $240,000. The average price increased by 8.5% to $312,210. Total number of y-o-y closed sales for the month decreased from 1,228 to 1,208 or -1.6%. Total county yearly dollar volume increased from $353.4 Million to $377.1 Million, a 6.7% increase.
Strongest Sales Price Range: $200,000 – $400,000. In July 44.6% of Pinellas single family homes sold in this range.
Nationally: The national median existing-home price for 2017 is projected to increase in the 5 percent range with sales rising 2.6%.
Summary in a sentence: A slight softening, still low inventory, and still a stellar seller’s market!
*Sources: NAR (National Assoc. Realtors), Mid-Florida MLS, PRO (Pinellas Realtors Organization), Realtor Magazine, Bloomberg + Locally grown Langrock expertise.

Simple Home Fixes to Attract Buyers

Looking for easy ways to increase a home’s value and get buyers’ attention? Here are three quick fixes for kitchens and bathrooms from Matt Karlin, president and CEO of Nemo Tile + Stone

1. Refresh with color. As a 20-year industry veteran, Karlin has seen a lot of color trends come and go. When it comes to selecting a palette that looks fresh and has broad appeal, it’s best to go with whites and neutrals, Karlin says. Plus, if your seller is working with a small bathroom or kitchen, he recommends favoring a pale palette because it will also make the space look bigger. Sellers could also add a border of metallic tile as an accent to the room to give it a more modern look, he says.

2. Update the floors and walls. These areas receive serious wear and tear, Karlin says, so a smart move is to upgrade to a durable porcelain tile. Current design trends are replicating classic terrazzo and even wood textures. Porcelain tiles are great alternatives to traditional flooring materials, he adds.

3. Choose larger tiles. Oversized tiles not only are cost -effective (bigger tiles cover a larger area) but also help make a small room seem larger, Karlin says. He also recommends selecting simple patterns: Avoid anything too busy to ensure a clean yet modern look.

Source: Matt Karlin, Nemo Tile + Stone

Bathtub in bathroom

Real Estate Market Update by Paul Langrock


Pinellas County: Single family home median price increased 16.5% April 2016-17 to $169,000 ($133/sqft).
*Latest Local News – Palm Harbor
*: Over 12 months, April 2016-17, our Palm Harbor median SFH values were up 16.3% to $317,500 ($155/sqft). The average sold price rose to $365,475 ($160/sqft). 
Housing demand for previously lived-in residences hit its highest point in four years increasing 6.5 percent to 5.45 million sales in January – the highest since 2006. New homes were up 12.2% in 2016 – also the best in a decade. AND, an important FYI to consider: “The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index scored 4/25/2017 increased 5.8% in February, the most in 32 months. Such strong price gains and slightly higher mortgage rates may eventually cool off demand.”
30-year fixed-rate mortgages(FRM) averaged 4.05 percent, with an average 0.5 point, up from the last week’s average 4.03 percent. At this time a year ago 30-year rates averaged 3.57 percent.*
15-year FRM
Averaged 3.29 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week’s average of 3.27%. Last year at this time the 15-year rate averaged 2.81 percent.

National News – Home Prices Rise Above July 2006 Peak

Estate Agent - "I did have a house at that price but I sold it back in 1978."

By Paul Langrock: U.S. Home prices rose 5.5 %, according to Case-Shiller home price index, eclipsing the housing bubble’s July 2006 peak.
We remember that time vividly. It was October and for the first time in years our listing’s contract did not appraise. The appraiser’s August-September comparable sold properties could not support the contract price. We soon realized we may be on the other side of a peak although we had no idea what was to follow.
This time around we clearly do not see a “bubble”. Unqualified buyers no longer are able to obtain 100% loans (coined Eighty-Twentys: 80% first mortgage with a 20% second). Today, low inventory not high demand is what’s driving prices upward. This is in spite of lending institution’s now high qualifying bar. Yes, mortgage rates are also beginning to rise, however, experience has shown this actually becomes a catalyst pulling people off the sidelines. Potential buyers suddenly rush to purchase before rates go higher. They don’t want to miss these still historically low rates and it is wise to lock them in for a long term investments such as real estate.
Additionally, we envision a sleeping demand source by reason of homeownership being currently at its lowest level in nearly five decades.
Home prices are back and they are continuing to move forward. To paraphrase, “You’ll all need homes.”  And, as our Florida license plate reads, it’s TYM2BUY.

Paul Langrock




Custom cabinetry: 41% (the price premium: the difference between homes with the feature and homes without in the same ZIP code)

• Kitchen island: 30%
• Creative lighting: 21%
• Granite counters: 18%
• Large pantry: 14%
• Stainless-steel appliances: 12%
• Tile backsplash: 7%
• Breakfast bar: 6%
*Source: Realtor.com Daily Real Estate News