Interest rates and foreclosures are down, while property values and offers are up, according to officials at Embassy Real Estate Group.
Jeffrey Rosenfield , Patch Staff
Everywhere you turn these days, you're being told that the economy is slowly getting better, and a key factor in the belief is that the housing market is starting to turn around.
Just recently, a report in the Tampa Bay Times stated that home sales were up 12 percent in July compared to July of 2011. Prior to that, another article stated that investors are swooping into the Tampa Bay area and purchasing millions of dollars worth of homes and converting them into rental properties.
But whether it's out-of-state investors turning a profit or buyers getting top dollar for homes they held on to, there's no question that the market is definitely changing.
"We are seeing a lot of out of state investors trying to take advantage of the low home prices," said Mercedes Ofalt , realtor for Embassy Real Estate Group . "Prices are low and rent is high, so it's a great time to capitalize on the situation."
"People think it's a buyer's market, but because of low inventory, low interest rates and high selling prices, it's actually a seller's market."
Thanks to the boom in investor-based purchases and these other factors, the climate of the real estate industry in the area is definitely changing.
That is especially true in Safety Harbor, where there are a finite number of older homes available for purchase at any given time, and where the median value of property is actually higher than that of most of the communities in the area.
That creates an interesting situation for the experts at Embassy.
"People want to buy, because interest rates are low and we have a lot less short sales in the marketplace right now," said Jeannie Merrick , Embassy's residential and commercial loan broker.
"Many listings have multiple offers on them, the banks are tougher, and the sellers are trying to get the best money they can get. So the market is turning."
Another situation unique to this town is the fact that people don't want to leave, leading to fewer properties being available for rent or purchase.
"We have more interested buyers than properties," Merrick said.
"People here are committed to this area," Ofalt added. "A lot of people want to move into Safety Harbor, not out of it.
Providing Answers and Solutions
Thanks to their diversity, knowledge of the marketplace and 15 years of experience in the industry, the experts at Embassy are specially qualified to answer any questions regarding real estate.
"We consider ourselves transaction brokers, so we can represent both sides — buyers and sellers — legally," explained Ofalt, who has only been with the company for a year.
"Embassy is really focused on relationships, whether it’s with the seller or buyer. We're working 15-17 hours a day to make sure they get the best fit."
They also offer mortgages, special programs for upside down houses, help with renovation loans and other services as well.
"We can counsel people if they have short sale woes, foreclosure loans, tell them how to improve their credit and help save money on refinancing," Merrick added.
"We do a lot of things. We have to. The market is definitely turning."
Address: 230B Main St.
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