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Exposing the Unseen and Unknown in Central Florida Real Estate

By Melissa M. Gerace | Agent in Kissimmee, FL
  • Why this REALTOR® Believes in Poinciana

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Kissimmee, Home Selling in Kissimmee, Investment Properties in Kissimmee  |  May 4, 2014 4:55 AM  |  238 views  |  No comments

    Just a little background on Poinciana...

    https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSlKMu_BwJX_dx8KM1i1DNXx_4ndNmXb1VBmh7YQIiJes_nz7vkNwPoinciana was planned in the 1960s. The original developer was Gulf America Corporation.  Poinciana was originally conceived as a retirement destination, and the first homes were built in 1973 around the Poinciana Golf and that live Club.  Since the mid-1980s the main developer has been AV Homes (formerly Avatar Holdings). In fact they are still here and still building new homes.

    Poinciana was developed as a Planned Unit Development (PUD).  Most of the PUD was developed in 10 Villages, which form the Association of Poinciana Villages (APV).  Four of the villages are in Osceola County and six are in Polk County.  Located on approximately 47,000 acres, the villages are a deed-restricted community, governed by a homeowner association, the APV.

    Neighboring subdivisions such as Crescent Lakes, Trafalgar, Doral, Isles of Bellalago, Cypress Cove, Deerwood, Wilderness, Bellalago, etc. are outside of the Villages but also part of Poinciana.

    The area was hard hit after the real estate market crashed in 2006-2007, and the number of distressed properties has often outnumbered those that were not in trouble.  Poinciana was decimated greatly due to the timing of when the homes were built and sold, compounded with the lack of amenities and services that were within the area, but today things are changing.

    Affordability is leading the way for cautious buyers to Poinciana but there are other factors too.  There are some great things on the horizon for this area that all buyers (and sellers in coming years) should consider and here they are:

    1. The New Medical Center is now Open.(http://poincianamedicalcenter.com/)

    2. Two major road expansions will improve accessibility in the area: the Poinciana Parkway and the Southport Extension (http://i4poincianaconnector.com & http://southportconnector.com)

    3. Valencia College is building a 22 Million Dollar Campus in 2014.

    4. Poinciana Sunrail Station will be build at OBT and Poinciana Blvd.

    These things will undoubtedly bring commerce into the area, that will increase the need for housing and the laws of supply and demand will apply.  It;s really just simple economics.

    So, I for one, believe this area has a bright future.  I see a community on the brink of prospering in the not too distant future and for this reason, I believe it will be a great place to buy a home for both primary residents and investors.  Currently, the average home price is below 150K, and for that you will buy a house built less than 10 years ago in most cases.  Few areas in Central Florida present that kind of financial opportunity.

    I am not only speaking as a REALTOR®, but as a resident who lives in Trafalgar Village, and a mother of children that attend school here.  I see MY community as a place removed from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy Kissimmee.  I love the diversity of the people that live here.  Where my kids go to school, there are children from over 60 countries in attendance.  My neighbors are like me, hard working people that look out for one and other.  Then add in that I am surrounded by beautiful, natural Florida, where I can enjoy seeing wildlife everyday in my own back yard.

    So before you listen to the negative hype, I urge you to investigate the facts, and come see for yourself what this community has to offer today and consider what the future might look like in this quiet, more natural part of SW Kissimmee.  

    I'm here to gladly answer your questions on MY TOWN...so reach out to me anytime.

    Melissa M Gerace
    REALTOR® at CENTURY 21 Carioti

  • It’s about to get harder to buy a home: Why getting a mortgage will be trickier and costlier in 2014

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Orlando, Home Selling in Orlando, Investment Properties in Orlando  |  November 3, 2013 8:59 AM  |  400 views  |  No comments
    Loan limits for popular mortgages are scheduled to drop in January 2014, according to a Wall Street Journal.   The Federal Housing Finance Agency is planning to slash the maximum size of mortgages eligible to be backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which currently run as high as $417,000 in most parts of the country and up to $625,500 in pricier cities, including New York and San Francisco.

    That same month, new mortgage rules by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau go into effect, which restrict the types of mortgages lenders can provide. The changes could leave next year’s mortgage applicants with fewer and more expensive financing options to choose from than what’s currently available, 

    This all comes as the government tries to reduce its role in the mortgage market. During the second quarter, two out of three mortgages were funded by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, a trade publication. By lowering the loan sizes backed by these agencies, regulators are hoping that lenders will step in to pick up the mortgage applicants who are impacted and that a private market for purchasing these loans — which basically disappeared in 2008 — will reopen. There has been some growth in private mortgage financing recently, though it remains small compared with pre-recession advances in the space. Just 2.1% of mortgages originated in April were sold to private investors, while roughly 90% were purchased by government agencies, according to Lender Processing Services, a mortgage-data tracking firm.

    But lower loan sizes could shut some applicants out. The FHFA hasn’t announced how much Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s cap will drop, but their larger-size mortgages are commonly used by home buyers in cities with expensive real estate. These buyers often have relatively small down payments and few assets. In contrast, most private mortgages are currently being given to wealthy borrowers who have hefty down payments for multi-million-dollar homes. It’s unclear whether the market will open up to lower net worth borrowers who suddenly fall below government-backed loan thresholds, and if it does, what rates they’ll be charged. Complicating matters, new CFPB mortgage rules set to go into effect in January could limit the kinds of loans available in the private mortgage market.

    Would-be home buyers who are planning to get a mortgage that’s close to the Fannie and Freddie caps might want to consider getting the loan before the year ends. An FHFA spokesperson says that the agency will announce any changes “with adequate advance notice.”

    Once these changes take effect, borrowers who no longer qualify for Fannie and Freddie mortgages could face the following setbacks:

    HARDER TO FIND MORTGAGES - Most applicants who get shut out of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans will have to turn to the private market. Private lenders, include many banks, credit unions and independent mortgage lenders, originate mortgages under their own terms and in most cases hold the loans on their books. Most are very selective, seeking out affluent borrowers who present little risk of default. 

    Applicants who qualify for private mortgages could find that adjustable-rate home loans are their only option. Many lenders who keep these loans on their books are more interested in offering ARMs than fixed-rate mortgages. When the Federal Reserve raises rates, banks will have to increase the rates they pay out on deposit accounts, but they’ll receive larger interest payments from ARM borrowers whose rates reset at that time and will likely be higher then.  With ARMs, borrowers have a fixed rate for a set period of time – often five years – before rates become variable. ARM origination in the private market is already on the rise: They accounted for 27.3% of mortgages originated and sold to private investors in June, up from 23.2% in the beginning of the year, according to LPS.

    Private mortgages tend to charge higher interest rates than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed loans. But increased lender appetite for private mortgages has helped lower their rates, which are hovering near and in some cases lower than rates on government-backed mortgages. (Historically, private mortgages had higher rates.)

    The moral to the story is this; If you are on the fence about buying, or selling for that matter, now is the time to get OFF that fence!  Housing inventory may be low (which means it's a superb time to sell) but there are still great homes on the market in ALL price ranges.  Interest rates are also still near record lows. 

    So if you are looking to buy or sell anywhere in Central Florida, give me a call.  I CAN and WILL get the job done for you before the end of 2013.

    Melissa M. Gerace, REALTOR
    Prudential Results Realty

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