Dale Sorensen Real Estate, Inc

Knowing the Market: Tips for Florida Home Buyers in 2020

by Debbie Caldwell 02/16/2020

Image by juanngomezz from Pixabay

Florida's large cities are at the leading edge of the current surge in real estate values nationwide. Professionals, first-time buyers and retirees are watching a lot of new homes come onto the market—priced at $500K and up.

It's no mean feat buying a home in the Sunshine State today. What do successful buyers know about this market?

Florida Taxes Go Down in 2020

For some buyers, Florida's tax advantages offset their purchase costs. For one, there's a delightful lack of personal income tax. And tax news in Florida just keeps getting better. As the Tax Foundation notes:

  • This year, Florida reduces corporate income and franchise tax from 5.5% to 4.458%.
  • Florida's commercial lease tax, which tenants of commercial properties must pay, goes down to 5.5% from 5.7%.

Florida's attractive tax treatment for residents and businesses is notable. Granted, it's also a two-edged sword. It's a big reason Florida continues to draw new buyers, and, in turn, home prices rise. On the bright side is the good outlook for mortgage rates in the year ahead.

Cheerful Outlook for Mortgage Rates in 2020

If you're wondering whether you can afford to buy a home or condo in Florida, this year's mortgage rate forecasts may strengthen your resolve. Among the hurdles buyers face, soaring mortgages isn't one of them. Greg McBride, a Bankrate analyst, told the Sun-Sentinel to expect rates to hover at or around 4% for much of 2020. 

The refreshingly low mortgage rates spurred 2019 Florida home sales to unexpected highs. With demand surging, home prices rose all year in various markets around Florida. The state's inventory of homes will stay low as builders focus on more expensive homes with higher profit margins. So, Bankrate predicts, the buyer's challenges will be the shortage of homes at the price point they want. 

Finding Workarounds

Here are some routes to success in this market:

  • Find a city where supply matches demand. Sarasota is an example: the supply and demand for homes is even.
  • Live on the outskirts. The tightest markets are in larger cities. Retirees and professionals on a budget are looking, for example, at affordable Kissimmee rather than pricey Orlando.
  • Consider an FHA mortgage. FHA loans can be obtained for very low down payments. Bonus: In the future, when the mortgage rates are likely to rise, your low-rate loan will be assumable by your buyer—if you sell to a buyer who qualifies, as you did.
  • Consider Florida's co-housing trend. Young professionals and retirees alike are buying or renting where they want, living with like-minded, supportive communities and aging in place with shared housing.

Have more questions? Contact us for more information on specific Florida home markets. We're here to help.

About the Author

Debbie Caldwell

When you first meet Debbie Harris-Caldwell, you are immediately drawn to her charming Welsh accent and the twinkle in her eye. The well-traveled transplant from Wales is quick to set you at ease and time spent with her promises to be time well spent.

Debbie has been a real estate agent for 40 years and takes great pride in her customer service skills. "I make myself available to my customers when they need me, whether it's on a Sunday Evening or after their long day at work. I make my schedule fit theirs. I also keep my customers updated on everything happening with their listings or purchase, I am their conduit for information." She has built a business following her key principles of clear communication, attention to detail, client advocacy, and comprehensive knowledge of the area. Debbie comes to every new transaction with positive energy, determination, a strong understanding of the currents driving the market, and the expertise that comes from a lifetime of experience. She knows the importance of marketing and whether a home is for sale for $200,000 or for $2 million, she always has professional photography done and creates a listing presentation that best shows off her customer's home.

Debbie joined Dale Sorensen Real Estate five years ago when the company was opening its Indialantic office. "I saw the marketing capabilities of this company and the caliber of the marketing materials and knew they were in a class by themselves. I'm able to take advantage of their exclusive relationships with Mayfair International and Leading RE of the World to best market my customer's listings. My customers love this. After all, we have a common goal in mind, to sell their home."

Debbie has been involved in two pet projects for many years. She is a Member of the Board of Directors for the Brevard Symphony Orchestra and serves on the committee to find a new home for the organization. She is also a member of the Coastal Poodle Rescue league.

She recently completed a trip to Paris and is planning her next trip to her native home of Wales. She is a doting grandmother of a two-year-old granddaughter. 

Although she sold over $5 million in real estate transactions in 2017, her proudest moment was when she received the DSRE award for her Community Service. "It's one of the reasons I love this company so much, they put a lot of value in giving back to the community."

When asked what makes a good day in her world of real estate, Debbie is quick to respond. "When I see my seller's smile at an offer or when I see that sparkle in a buyer's eyes when we've found the perfect home, that's a good day for me."

Debbie also finds great pride in the fact that nearly one-hundred percent of her business is by referral. "Honestly, I can't ask for better than that."