Hillsborough County Realtors may be experiencing cases of real estate déjà vu as the rapid shift from offer to close are telltale signs of a seller’s market.
Domingo Quintero III, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in South Tampa, said of the new properties listed in the last 12 months, 37 percent of those listings went to contract in the first 15 days of hitting the market. Fifty-two percent of them went to contract within the first 30 days, according to Quintero.
“This is more reminiscent of a seller’s market,” Quintero said. “We are finding in many cases that real estate property in South Tampa, including downtown and Channelside, is gone as quickly as it gets listed if it is priced right.”
A search of homes in Hillsborough County on Zillow show a large inventory of homes in foreclosure or in preforeclosure, which indicates the borrowers stopped making mortgage payments. However, home prices throughout the county are higher compared to 2011 through 2013. And, the large inventory of foreclosures and short sales isn’t hindering people from negotiating the purchase of traditional resale homes.
Quintero said he expects the prices will stay in check unlike during the housing bubble.
“As prices appreciated rapidly in this area since 2010, we may expect to see a cooling period as there are still mortgage restrictions in place to prevent the hyperappreciation we saw from 2005-2007,” he said. “Most notably, there are not any ‘no income, asset, or job verifications’ loans anymore.”
He said banks are still cautious when it comes to appraisals, heavily scrutinizing them for value.
Flo Vachon, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty SouthShore, said she is telling her buyers to make a “good, clean, uncomplicated offer” the first time because they may not get a second chance.
“I feel that it is starting to lean toward being a seller’s market,” she said. “Buyers are often in multiple offer situations and lose out on offers because they don’t offer a high enough price or good enough terms. Sometimes they lose out on one or two good listings before they make an offer that is accepted.”
She said buyers with mortgages could be at a disadvantage, especially if they don’t have a preapproval letter to present with the offer.
Her best advice for buyers is to be prepared and go house shopping with a complete mortgage preapproval. She pointed out that a prequalification letter is not enough and may be rejected.
Vachon said the average number of days a home was on the market until it went under contract in March in Sun City Center was 88. Then, it was a total of 126 days to closing. “Some homes sold in a day,” she said. “I had one that sold within 2 hours of it hitting the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).”
Vachon attributes the unusually successful seller’s market to housing recovery in other parts of the country. She said more people are able to quickly sell their homes elsewhere so they can purchase in Florida. Weather is also a contributing factor, as always.
“We’re also getting calls now from northern buyers who said that this winter has beaten them down and they don’t want to go through another winter like this. They are selling out and moving to Florida,” Vachon said.
Vachon said she has seen no signs of a slow down in April with a steady stream of buyers coming in to look at homes in the area.
“Sellers are so encouraged with the increasing prices and increased sales that they are selling properties that they have held on to and rented during the depressed market,” she said. “We have more homes coming on the market every day. We are loving this market.”