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Various views on South Florida real estate in 2012

Last week, we touched on some contradictory trends that characterized South Florida real estate in 2011. For many Broward County residents who are seeking to close on a real estate transaction, the statistics reported by the Miami Board of Realtors might be a bit baffling. What, then, can Florida residents expect regarding real estate transactions in 2012?

Recently, the CEO of a research and consulting firm out of Deerfield Beach had this to say about Florida's troubled real estate market: "I don't think any real rebound is going to happen until at least 2013. Right now we have 371,000 open foreclosure files in Florida, and you have 800,000 mortgages that are 60 days late or in default. I don't see the market rebounding for at least two years."

However, not everyone agrees. One person with a different view is the Broward County board president of the Miami Association of Realtors, which is the group that provided the data in last week's post. The board president offered a statement pointing out that condominium prices in Broward County have consistently gone up since early in 2011. She says this fact is an important indicator of the market growing stronger. "Strong demand resulting in limited supply should yield continued market strength in 2012," she said.

Some have said that the rise or fall of real estate prices in 2012 all depends on what happens with the tens of thousands of stalled foreclosures in Florida. (South Florida homeowners got some temporary relief earlier this year when a paperwork jam held up the repossession process.) However, if banks again speed up foreclosure (and it is expected they will), an abundance of discounted properties might bring down prices further in 2012. But if real estate inventory keeps shrinking, prices might actually see a sustained rebound.

South Florida residents who are or will be engaged in a real estate transaction would do well to make detailed preparations for a future real estate closing. Being fully aware of the ins and outs of the market, as well as clearly establishing the specifics of your own transaction, can help prevent unwanted surprises when it comes to finalizing the deal. In a market that would certainly appear shaky at the moment, buyers and sellers in Florida will surely want full disclosure in matters of short sales, distressed properties, and other residential, commercial, or investment property transactions in 2012. Consulting with an experienced South Florida real estate attorney is one way of ensuring that these needs are met.

Source: Miami Herald, "South Florida real estate: Sales slow, prices rise," Dec. 22, 2011

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