Florida Realtors Bat for Market Stimulus


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, April, 19, 2013 – Realtors from across Florida turned out en masse in Tallahassee on April 9–10 for the “Rally in Tally” to push for legislative measures that they hope will provide further stimulus to the growth of the state’s property market, Sarasota Bay Real Estate reported. The activities for the two-day event, officially dubbed as Great American Realtor Days (GARD) by the organizing Florida Realtors®, included visits to individual state solons to press for legislative solutions on several issues on the industry.

Besides seeking reforms on commercial rental tax, the GARD participants also sought remedies to concerns that the state-funded property insurer, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, is overexposed. What Florida realtors ultimately aim for is the creation of a property insurance market that is affordable and sustainable.

The GARD agenda likewise included lobbying for legislative priority for either a cap on Estoppel fees for homeowners/condominium associations or a three-tiered financial approach. Current Florida law doesn’t specify the amount homeowners/condo associations can charge for Estoppel fee. High fees, upward of $500, are currently being charged in many parts of the state, resulting in a clamor for reform from real estate industry players.

Foreclosures in focus

Judicial foreclosure came as another GARD lobbying focus, an initiative triggered by the lingering impact of the crisis on foreclosed properties. Sarasota Bay Real Estate said it agrees with some Florida real estate analysts’ opinion that the property market recovery in the state isn’t being helped by the looming presence of a huge number of foreclosure cases. The issue on distressed properties has to be dealt with, the full service realty firm added.

One of the primary problems that need to be addressed is the lengthy foreclosure process in the state which Florida Realtors® said can take an average of 676 days from the date of filing to bank repossession. This compares with the 318-day national average.

There are several pending bills seeking to address the foreclosure debacle. Two of these which seek an acceleration of the foreclosure process have reportedly gained support from Florida Realtors®. One of these measures is House Bill 87, filed by Naples Republican Rep. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples), and Senate Bill 1666, sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater).

Silver lining for depleted home inventory

Notably, recent reports showed that Florida remained as the leading state in the U.S. with the highest number of foreclosures. For this year’s first quarter, the analytics firm RealtyTrac estimated that there were 90,556 foreclosed homes in the state. Another research firm, CoreLogic, said that 95,177 Florida homes went into foreclosure in the year ended this past February.

The silver lining though in the large number of foreclosures, Sarasota Bay Real Estate noted, is that it could help ease the tight inventory of available homes for sale. In the Manatee–Sarasota area, home inventory has been estimated at around a five-month supply.

Prospective buyers of foreclosed residences around this area will have choices from among some 800 properties now in listed in the MLS. The more desirable properties with attractive prices, Sarasota Bay Real Estate observed, can be had in some Sarasota golf communities. These market offerings typically have listed prices in the high $200s with two to three bedrooms in floor areas of up to 2,500-plus square feet.