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More positive real estate data -- building permit requests rise

The good news for the South Florida real estate market continues. Recent reports from the Commerce Department revealed that single-family home and apartment builders throughout the country requested 747,000 building permits in March, the highest rate seen since September of 2008.

This data should interest prospective buyers and sellers alike, indicating that the nationwide housing slump could be in the beginning stages of recovery.

Although the numbers are still below levels that indicate a healthy market, most people involved in real estate will take any good news they can get. And on that front, the report also showed that January and February were the best months for sales of previously occupied homes since 2007. The recent improvement in employment rates has builders more optimistic about the 2012 housing market.

As noted in previous posts, the vast majority of indicators point toward an uptick in the real estate market, especially in Broward County. Sellers will hopefully begin to see median sales prices increase, and buyers will want to take advantage of depressed property prices before it is too late.

While the numbers from the Commerce Department report are good, it is important to recognize that the real estate market has a long way to go before a complete recovery can be declared.

There are some initial steps both buyers and sellers can take before jumping into the market. Retaining legal counsel can be one of the most prudent steps. Also, careful preparation prior to engaging in contract negotiations will help in reaching an optimal real estate closing for both sides of the deal.

Source: AP, "U.S. homebuilders request most permits in 3½ years," Derek Kravitz, April 17, 2012

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