Friday, October 26, 2012
by Phoebe Chongchua

It seems there's more good news in the housing market. Economists reported that new home purchases rose in September to what is "probably" the highest level in more than two years. At the time of this writing, the full statement from The Federal Open Market Committee has not been released but it is expected to show signs of a stronger housing market. reports its survey of economist indicates that housing sales increased 3.2 percent to equal 385,000 annual pace, based on tabulations when contracts are signed. The market hasn't seen numbers like that since April 2010 when buyers flocked to take advantage of a government tax credit.

The housing market is climbing out of its huge slump but mortgage credit is still strict, unemployment is high, and people's incomes aren't increasing much. Couple all that with the forecast for more foreclosures and the picture, while improving, isn't completely rosy.

If you've been waiting and wondering if now is the ideal home-buying opportunity. This may be a good reason to explore your housing options, take advantage of very low interest rates, current inventory, and market conditions.

Get started. If you've been one of those buyers who has been trying to time the housing recovery and make sure that you buy at the very bottom, be careful. In some areas, you may have already missed the bottom. All buyers want great value but waiting too long can leave you in a position where you'll have to pay more to get what you want. On the other hand, carefully studying the market and meeting with experienced agents who can tell you the history of an area you're interested in will help you evaluate if now is the time to buy.

Check out the area. Some buyers have a dream of owning a home but then they don't put a lot of research into it. Instead they rely on the newspapers and media to tell them when the market is truly improving. If the media reports bad news, they become afraid and decide to put off looking for homes. But even if you're not planning to buy right at the moment, you can learn a lot from repeatedly visiting and checking out neighborhoods of interest. Seeing these areas will offer some telling signs.

If you're interested in a particular neighborhood, keep visiting it and watch the changes. This will keep you in the loop about new sales and developments in the area. You may notice fewer for sale signs or more starter homes are being sold. This is a good indication of housing improvement. You also might see more sellers moving up rather than downsizing, another sign of better times. Spending time in the neighborhood lets you get more familiar with it and the people who live there. You can visit the real estate agencies and notice if they're recruiting more agents, if so, it likely indicates the housing market is on the mend.

Ultimately, improving housing signs can mean that the housing market is beginning to bounce back but trying to time the market for it's lowest point so that you can get the rockbottom price, is practically impossible.

There are so many factors to consider, if you're staying connected to the area and you're continually searching, researching and, of course, ready to act when you find the right house at the right price, then you are effectively creating the most ideal home-buying opportunity.

Published: October 26, 2012

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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A Miami investment firm says it’s spending $150 million to buy 1,200 homes in foreclosure across South Florida.

Roughly 60 percent of the homes will be in Miami-Dade County and the remainder will be split across Broward and Palm Beach counties, said Inaki Negrete, chief executive of Vulcan Investment Partners.

Vulcan says it’s paying $75,000 for homes once valued at $200,000 or more and plans to rent them for $1,500 a month for several years before eventually selling.

The business plan capitalizes on the booming rental market and also helps South Floridians hurt by the housing collapse, said Negrete, one of a handful of Mexican businessmen who started Vulcan.

“People have problems getting a new mortgage,” he said. “Now they can take some time to fix their credit scores.”

Other investment firms are using similar strategies. The Blackstone Group in New York is buying an undisclosed number of homes in at least 10 markets across the country. Blackstone is buying in the Tampa area, but not South Florida, spokesman Peter Rose said.
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