Nasty northern weather, early in the autumn season, and improved consumer confidence have the potential to provide greatly needed tourist revenue for Florida’s Southwest Coast, with many of the snowbirds on the hunt for a second home in Sarasota, Naples, Fort Myers, Tampa and Port Charlotte. Our seasonal residents have arrived early and in greater numbers than in 2008. Whether previously priced out of the home market, or waiting for the infamous bottom, their selections and pricing in first-rate Gulf Coast real estate could not be better. Investors, along with buyers from Canada and Europe are converging in our region to take advantage of the never seen before rock-bottom pricing, along with an amazing selection for the moment. Many would-be home buyers have been waiting on the sidelines over the past 2 years, while move-up buyers have basically been in a long-term holding pattern.
The $8,000 First Time Home Buyer credit was scheduled to lapse on December 1st, 2009, but will now be in effect through the end of June 2010. Homebuyers must sign a contract before April 30 and close by June 30. The income limits have been raised: Single buyers can now earn up to $125,000 and still get the full credit, while a married couple can earn $225,000. The new bill has expanded options and increased eligibility beyond the earning limitations. First-time buyers — those who have not owned a home in the past three years: qualify for an $8,000 rebate. Move-up buyers are now included. Those who have owned and occupied a residence for at least five years out of the past eight: can claim a $6,500 tax credit if they close on a purchase by the end of June 2010.
“The new version of the tax credit has the potential to stimulate the housing market even more than the old version due to the fact that more people will qualify under the new rules,” said Gibran Nicholas, chairman of the CMPS Institute, an organization that certifies mortgage bankers and brokers. With improved market momentum, along with the extension of the First Time Buyers incentive, there’s a great opportunity for further real estate market stabilization, as well as a much needed boost to the overall economy. Florida’s Southwest Coast, from Tampa to Naples, and everything in between provides an exceptional quality of life, along with an abundance of recreational activities, miles of magnificent shoreline and near perfect weather year-round… what more could savvy Florida home buyers want.