Florida has been very lucky so far this year and that is great news for the struggling housing market. It is the height of hurricane season and it is dangerous to temp fate here. However I will, because if I was a timid person I would not be a mortgage loan officer during the worst real estate slump since the great depression. As bad as the market has been over the last few years, we are not suffering like we did when I first came to Florida in 2005. That fall I was experienced my first hurricane, it was Wilma and it seemed to me that is when the market in South Florida died. That is when closing and new buyers just started to disappear. It was brutal and I am aware that it would take just one more hurricane to knock us down again. I am predicting that this won't be the year and we will not get a hurricane the rest of 2009 to hit southeast Florida!
It just feels that way to me. I notice that the tropical waves coming off Africa are getting sheared and have not been able to gather the required strength to form into a Category 4 or 5 storm. This is very similar to how the season went last year as well. It makes me confident that even if a storm does form it won't hit us directly. It will move north like the early season named storms have done or to the south as some of the late season storms tend to do.
What does this have to do with real estate in Florida? Plenty. The homeowners insurance costs are about 50% of what they were from a few years back. The premiums were as high as $10,000 per year a few years ago and many couldn't even get it at all as many insurers were pulling out of the state. The other killer to the market is if we are in the path of a named storm then we will not be able to secure a policy until the storm has passed and hopefully another one isn't bearing down on us right away. In 2004 and 2005 after multiple storms were lining up to batter our state closing grounded to a abrupt stop.
As prices have become incredibly attractive and the First time home buyers tax credit is available, we hang on to a tentative bottom. I nervously watch each day the weather patterns far off to the east, with each passing day feeling more and more confident that maybe, just maybe we will stay hurricane free and the Florida real estate market gets off the mat and becomes Category 5 strong again!
This Blog is my opinion and does not represent the views of my employer Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in any way.