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Florida home owners with underwater mortgages as well as Florida borrowers and Florida home buyers interested in short sales are all watching the Florida real estate housing market carefully.  When something like the latest Fiserv Case-Shiller Index on national home trends is released, many people here in South Florida take note.

Today, Fiserv Case-Shiller released a study that predicts home prices to rise in 2013.  That’s right:  according to Case-Shiller, we are in the midst of a housing recovery.  Their numbers show, looking at the nation as a whole, that home prices should rise around 3.3% each year, starting in the 3rd quarter of 2012 and continuing through to the same time four years from now, in 2017.

According to Case-Shiller research, in 2012 the nation saw home prices and home sales rise — and this is based upon their analysis of over 380 housing markets around the country using numbers from FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency) and Fiserv.  

To read the Case-Shiller study in detail, go here.  From the study:

“2012 was the first year since 1997 that the housing market has resembled something recognizable as normal. For the past 15 years, home price changes and sales volumes have either been boosted by a bubble mentality or crushed by crash psychology,” said David Stiff, chief economist, Fiserv. “Back in 1997, housing prices grew 3 percent, just below the 5 percent long-term average rate of appreciation. From 1998 to 2006, prices appreciated at levels above 5 percent, with double-digit price increases in many of those years. Then, after 2006, the market collapsed as euphoria turned to panic. It took until the end of 2011 before housing markets finally started to stabilize. The latest Case-Shiller results show a return to a historically normal pace of price appreciation in the last year.”

Larry Tolchinsky’s Tip:

This news is good for the country, and many people will find encouragement in this new study.  However, as the Business Insider at points out, these numbers do not give all the story for all the nation.  Taking the Case-Shiller study apart, the Business Insider released its own list of the “ Fourteen Worst Housing Markets in the Next Five Years” and both the Fort Lauderdale area and the Miami area made the top ten.

According to their analysis, in the Miami area home prices are 48.4% of what they were in 2007, for example.  That makes for a whole lot of underwater homes in South Florida.

Looking Into the Crystal Ball to Predict the Future of Florida Real Estate….

Meanwhile, there are experts out there who do not share this optimistic view of the future housing market.  Consider economist Peter Schiff who warns in Forbes magazine that more homes are being built than the country can afford (investors are buying lots of them from builders now) and that banks are still sitting on lots of homes in inventory particularly in judicial foreclosure states (like Florida).  In the Orange County Register, Reason Foundation’s director of economic research Anthony Randazzo said that all of this optimistic hoopla could be a sandcastle waiting to crumble, since no one can point to where the things that caused the housing bubble and resulting market crash have been fixed.

For the individual in Florida looking to buy a home, sell a home, or stay in their home despite threats of foreclosure, the desire to find a strong rock to stand upon and ride out these troubling times is intense.  It would be wonderful to be able to point to one expert or one study and state that the truth can be found there. However, life isn’t that easy in Florida today.

The reality is that Florida laws have been disrespected for many years and Florida land titles are in shambles.  Buy a Florida home today, be careful you have bought more than a piece of paper and a lawsuit.  Florida courts remain bottlenecked with foreclosure actions filed years ago by banks, and now courts are moving to rocket dockets that risk huge due process violations just to get that clog lifted from court dockets.

Banks are still bringing robots to work: now we have robo-witnesses in Florida courtrooms testifying on documentation filed by robo-signers in old foreclosure fraud cases.  Sub-prime mortgages are out there (does anyone watch Sister Wives?).

Optimism is important to keep us moving forward.  In Florida real estate, however, moving forward in this legal muck definitely needs to be done very carefully, and one step at a time.


Do you have questions or comments?  Then please feel free to Cht with Larry in the comments below, at, or (954) 458-8655. If you have a specific or personal situation, please call or email Larry because he can’t answer specific fact questions in generala comments. 

“I’m happy to take your call.”

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