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Category Archives: Florida News

Federal Flood Insurance Changes: New proposal may affect Florida homes

Federal Flood Insurance Changes



Federal Flood Insurance Changes


The 2017 hurricane season has put a lot of strain onto the National Flood Insurance Program which is currently $25 million dollars in debt. President Trump’s administration is calling for an overhaul of the program to help alleviate the pressure of growing flood related spending. If put into action, these changes could stifle the housing market yet jump-start the private insurance market.


The proposal will end insurance for newly built homes in flood prone areas after 2020. It would also allow FEMA to end insurance for home that are continuously affected by flooding. The idea is praised by some for helping to curtail people from building in areas where they are at high risk, but The National Association of Home Builders claims that the proposal will curb economic growth: “It would simply prevent home builders from being able to provide safe and affordable housing to consumers. By creating uncertainty in the housing market, this proposal would also harm local communities and impair economic growth.” The press release from the NAHB went on to say that newer homes are at less risk because they are build more soundly and with more precautions than older homes, which means insurance claims would be less. 


While this proposal won’t hinder homes from being built or rebuilt and privately insured, lenders may not accept private flood insurance, which will narrow down the buying pool for new homes drastically. Though there is a regulatory proposal to require lenders to accept private insurance, the measure has not been finalized. The NFIP was temporarily extended in September and Congress has until December 8th to reinstate it.



Post Irma Mortgage Relief

Post Irma Mortgage Relief

Post Irma Mortgage Relief



Post Irma Mortgage Relief


Last weekend hurricane Irma swept through Florida causing major damage to homes from Miami to Jacksonville. Tampa Bay, though spared the heaviest of the wind and rain, is still recovering from the storm and damage is being assessed. There is hope for those who are wondering how they’ll pay for damage repairs. You may qualify for mortgage relief up to 90 days through your lender. Here’s how to find out.


Check to see if your mortgage is eligible. Not sure if you are eligible for forbearance? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have made it easy for you to check. If you’re still not sure…


Call your lender.  Don’t wait. If you haven’t contacted your mortgage servicer yet, do it now.  A lot of lenders are offering up to 90 days forbearance on mortgages. The only way to know for sure is to call and ask as it is not an immediate action the lenders will take.


Ask questions. Some are adding to the end of your loan while some require the amount owed to be paid after the 90 day period. Ask about your forbearance options and ask clarifying questions before you make a decision. Some lenders may be able to extend the time frame past 90 days as well.


Note that this doesn’t just apply to mortgages. Banks like Wells Fargo are offering assistance on credit card, personal loans and lines of credit by waiving late fees as well as waiving fees at non-Wells Fargo ATMs.


Post Irma Insurance Claims: What You Need to Know

Post Irma Insurance Claims

Post Irma Insurance Claims



Post Irma Insurance Claims


Hurricane Irma spared Tampa Bay the massive damage we all feared, but there is still significant damage to homes throughout the area. If you have questions regarding filing insurance claims for damage to your property, we have links and resources you need.


Read your insurance policy thoroughly. Some home owners may have multiple insurers they work with to insure their home against different threats. Be sure to read your policies carefully and call them with any questions you may have regarding the coverage. If you have questions about the process, you can call the Florida Division of Consumer Affairs insurance helpline here.


Call your insurer(s). Even if you have minor damage, call and file a claim. Don’t assume you don’t have coverage for particular damages.


Take photos. Of everything. All the damage and surrounding areas as well. It is important to make sure it is properly documented for your claim. You also want to make sure to take note of who your spoke with when filing your claims, the date, time and answers the the questions asked.


Save receipts. Again, of everything. From alternative living (hotels, etc.) to repairs, your policy could cover more than you think and you could be reimbursed.


For the under-insured: You’re not out of luck. Click here to go to website where you can apply for federal assistance.



More information on assistance programs and other helpful links:


FEMA – Hurricane Irma Assistance and information

City of Tampa on Facebook for the latest updates

City of St Pete for the latest updates

St Pete’s Operation Blue Roof

St Pete Opens Disaster Relief Centers

How Will the New Flood Insurance Bill Impact You?

Flood Insurance is at Risk


How Will the New Flood Insurance Bill Impact You?


The National Flood Insurance Program, which was created in the late 1960’s to help facilitate more private insurance options, is going to expire on September 30th, 2017. Congress has recently introduced the “21st Century Flood Reform Act” that will allow flood insurance policies to go uninterrupted through the middle of Florida’s 2017 hurricane season.


The catch? The bill has to be passed and signed by the president before September 30th.


What This Means For The Homeowner


According to Florida Realtors, Florida represents 40% of NFIP nationally. If you are a homeowner in a flood zone in the Tampa Bay area this could be troublesome as congress has merely only introduced the bill needed to keep flood insurance afloat and hurricane season will not end until November.


Further, if you are looking to buy or sell your home, closing will be tough. Florida realtors states “Mortgage lenders require proof of property insurance before they will lend money at closing, and they require proof of flood insurance if a property is located within a FEMA-designated flood zone. If home buyers can’t secure proof of flood coverage, their closing could be cancelled or delayed.”


What You Can Do


Call or email your congress representative and ask them to push a long the bill, or pass an extension so flood insurance is not disrupted. You can easily find contact information for your representative here.




Bring The Noise: The St Pete Pier Is Coming

Construction begins on the new St Pete Pier.

Construction begins on the new St Pete Pier.


The New St Pete Pier


The ceremonial ground breaking on the St Pete Pier has come and gone and now comes the tough, not-so-pretty part: noise pollution. Remember when the One building started? It was (and is) an ear full of ground pounding, crane engine running, and metal clanking throughout the east side of downtown. We can expect more of the same starting next week as construction starts on the new St Pete Pier.


What does this mean for you?


ABC Action News reported that over 400 piles are going to be drilled by the crew through January to support the weight starting in September. But test piling will start on July 17th, which will be bringing the noise to Beach Drive and Old Northeast. According to, construction should end in late 2018 and the official ribbon cutting in “early 2019”. That’s a lot of noise.


The pier looks to be an amazing build, though. There will be multiple gardens, play areas, music venues and room for shops restaurants. It sure looks pretty, at and a cool $14 million estimated cost it ought to be. Will the end result be worth it? Sure looks that way from the renderings. It will be interesting to see how the noise affects businesses nearby that have outdoor space. In the mean time, there are events like Pier Beer Summer Series. This even will connect the booming brewery scene and education on the pier and it’s progress.


For more information on the project and to keep updated with time lines and events, check out and sign up for their newsletter.

Tampa Leads Nation in Institutional Investment

Good news for the Tampa region: We’re a leading market for institutional investors.
Among institutional investors – defined as buyers who purchase 10 or more properties during a calendar year – Tampa’s housing market ranks as the top selling in the nation. According to a recent report in The Tampa Tribune, institutional investors account for 4.7 percent of all purchases in the Tampa region, the highest rate in the country among markets with a population of at least 1 million.
Tampa SkylineWhile it may not be surprising that there are an abundance of rental properties that are not going to waste in the sunshine state, most of these properties are actually rented to year-round tenants, largely young families who are just starting out or saving for their own home ownership. The influx of institutional buyers to the area – attracted by the many sales of low-priced, bank-owned properties – have stabilized the housing market that has struggled during a few difficult years between 2007 and 2014.
Now, more and more people are choosing to rent properties instead of buying. Renters use their time to build up their credit while saving up for a down payment on a home of their own. This makes it a great time for investors to buy some of the great properties in the area, with ample opportunities for these buyers to turn around and lease homes to renters or enter rent-to-own agreements with families interested in eventually buying out the property.
If you are a real estate investor who is considering purchasing a home to rent or turn into a timeshare, check out the market in Tampa. Conditions won’t favor the buyer like this forever, so take advantage of low market prices and diverse properties in great locations throughout the region while you can. With plenty of homes available at reasonable prices and a hot rental market, now’s the time to buy. Let The Price Group help you with your property search. To get started, contact us today!

Government, Bank’s Mistake your Gain (Still)

florida foreclosureAs the summer months wind down and the chillier winds roll in through the fall months and into early winter, many Americans look out their windows at their cold and dismal hometowns. Their neighborhoods, strewn with fallen leaves or dirty snow, strongly fortify dreams of a second—or a first—homes in paradise. But with Florida real estate inventory, and subsequently prices, as conducive as ever to a buyer’s market the dream is as achievable as ever.

We all know the story of the early-2000’s housing bubble. Inflated by banks selling to the subprime mortgage market, a brand new segment in 2002, the bubble got bigger and bigger until it finally popped in 2007. But five years was long enough to do plenty of damage to markets across the country, particularly in Sun Belt areas. And right under the bubble was southwest and the west coast of Florida.

A tool to increase buyer confidence, writing bad mortgages actually didn’t start with the banks. Rather it started with the administration taking initiative to combat the fallout from the 2001 terrorist attacks. And many consumers took the bait in the name of achieving the American dream. The issue with this is many didn’t have the income to support mortgage payments, nor did they have to prove it. This was thanks to a brand new tool called the ‘No Doc’ loan, short for ‘no documented proof required.’

Needless to say, many of these mortgages were foreclosed on, left as bank-owned properties. As a matter of fact, in 2006 right before the bubble burst, 21% of subprime mortgages went into default. This compares to the prime loan statistic of less than 1%. Of these, most were in Florida– where statewide there were nearly 325,000 subprime mortgages issued.

Fast forward to 2015, and Florida still has the highest rate of late mortgages. Statewide, over 18% mortgage holders are late or about to face foreclosure. And when banks foreclose, they are not looking forward to sitting on excessive supply; they want to turn and burn to the highest bidder. And with an inventory glut the highest bidder typically isn’t bidding too high lately.

Firestone Grand Prix this weekend in St Pete

It has been a decade since the Grand Prix first took over downtown, bringing thousands of fans to St Pete.

A series of races along a picturesque 14 turn, 1.8 mile temporary track, featuring the IndyCar, Firestone Indy Lights, Pro Mazda Championship, USF2000 National Championship, Pirelli World Challenge Championships, Expanded Bright House Speed Zone, Yacht Club, Indy Fan Village, autograph sessions, Ferris Wheel, Stadium Supertrucks, go cart racing, celebrity sightings and more!

New this year, the HERO ZONE, a free, interactive military obstacle course, lets kids of all ages test their skills on some of the same obstacles faced by our troops in basic training. The HERO ZONE is deployed by Wish for Our Heroes and is located inside Gate 1, next to the Bright House Speed Zone. Inside the Speed Zone, get physical with rock climbing, power jumping, mechanical bull rides, a pit stop challenge, or gyroscope.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. there is a FREE shuttle service from Tropicana Field to the race course. Parking at Tropicana Field will be $10. The shuttle will pick passengers up on 10th St. S. and drop off passengers near the Hilton on Fourth Ave. S. between Second and Third Streets. There will be a two-block walk to the race entry gate 5. The shuttle will operate all three race days from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

March 28th-30th

FL home sale prices up 11.4% year-to-year in Dec.

Florida’s housing market reported higher median prices, more new listings, fewer days on the market and the continued stabilization of inventory in December, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 19,497 last month, up 8.6 percent over the December 2012 figure.

“Florida’s housing market continues to demonstrate its recovery,” says 2014 Florida Realtors President Sherri Meadows, CEO and team leader, Keller Williams, with market centers in Gainesville, Ocala and the Villages. “December marked over two years – 25 months – of consecutive gains in statewide median sales prices, year-over-year, for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo properties. The rising prices, along with the renewed strength of the state’s housing market, are encouraging more homeowners to list their properties for sale. Statewide, new listings for single-family homes increased 23.8 percent in December, while new townhome-condo listings rose 8.1 percent. The rising prices mean increased equity, which is another reason people are listing properties.

“Properties also are taking less time to sell, another trend that is sparking sellers’ interest,” Meadows added. “In December, the median days on market (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to sell that month) was 50 days for single-family homes and 51 days for townhouses and condos. That means 50 percent of homes on the market in Florida sell in less than two months.”

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $172,630, up 11.4 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in December was $137,500, up 17 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in November 2013 was $196,200, up 9.4 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $197,400. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in November was $422,210; in Massachusetts, it was $316,500; in Maryland, it was $257,677; and in New York, it was $229,000.

Looking at Florida’s townhome-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 8,364 last month, down slightly (2.5 percent) compared to December 2012. However, the closed sales data reflected fewer short sales and cash-only sales in December: Traditional sales in Florida rose 23.3 percent for single-family homes and 6 percent for condo-townhome properties. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

“Florida’s market exhibited all the signs of the annual holiday lull,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Because of things like the reduced number of workdays and the presence of other important things to do, the statistics at this time of year don’t necessarily give a good read on where the market really is. Three continuing trends to note, however, are rising inventories, declining cash sales and the lessening presence of distressed property sales.

“The first two are indicative of reduced investor activity and thus a return to a more normal market. The last is a product of rising values that have increased market sales relative to short sales and foreclosures.”

Inventory was at a 5.5-months’ supply in December for single-family homes and at a 5.8-months’ supply for townhouse-condo properties, according to Florida Realtors.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.46 percent in December 2013, up from the 3.35 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

This weekend in St Petersburg, 29th annual Martin Luther King Jr Day Parade

On November 3rd 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the Federal King Holiday Bill, making the third Monday of every January, the Federal King Holiday.

On January 20, 1986 he first, oldest, and largest MLK National Parade, Battle of Bands and Drum Line Extravaganza was held For the first time in American History, White marching bands and African American Marching Bands marched together in Salute and Tribute to the first Martin Luther King, Jr. National Parade in St Petersburg Florida.

Monday, January 20th, 2014 11am-3pm

National Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Parade begins at Third Ave. South and Martin Luther King St., goes north to Central Ave, east to Bayshore Drive and finally north to Fifth Ave. North, finishing at Vinoy Park.