December 6, 2022
27, not 17, Florida insurers marked for downgrades. Officials warn of havoc for homeowners

Florida Trend Real Estate

27, not 17, Florida insurers marked for downgrades. Officials warn of havoc for homeowners

| 7/25/2022

27, not 17, Florida insurers marked for downgrades. Officials warn of havoc for homeowners.

State insurance companies are bracing for the impact of plans revealed by an Ohio-based financial strength ratings agency to downgrade ratings of a majority of Florida-based property insurers that it evaluates. Angry letters from Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis released on Thursday blasted the ratings firm Demotech and its CEO Joe Petrelli for telling “approximately 17″ insurers that their A ratings, which stand for “Exceptional” or “Unsurpassed,” will be downgraded on July 26 to S “substantial,” or M “moderate.” [Source: South Florida SunSentinel]

Would-be Florida home buyers being boxed out by real estate investors

"I think it's the American dream to have a home right now. But sometimes I feel like that has become an American nightmare," says Byron Ruiz who runs Bymar Shoes and Orthotics in Winter Park. Ruiz has been working hard to buy a home but keeps hitting dead ends. It has become more difficult to buy a home in Central Florida as cash buyers or even big-money-backed companies swoop in on sales. "I found a house that I like, and then I put an offer on it, even though it's a few thousand more than the asking price, just to find out a few hours later, that I've been over bid, by another buyer — a cash offer," according to Ruiz. [Source: WESH]

Goodbye, downtown Tampa’s industrial past. Hello, more Water Street Tampa.

Friday, a piece of downtown Tampa’s past fell to pave the way for plans for its future. Curious onlookers watched from a balcony atop a new 23-story residential tower in the chic Water Street Tampa district as Mayor Jane Castor operated heavy construction equipment to tear down part of the old Ardent Mills flour mill — a last remnant of Tampa’s industrial warehouse-and-wharf past. And, local officials said, a hard-fought and important piece of what’s next for the city. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida renters stand to benefit as 'COVID Refugees' return home

The Fort Myers and Miami metropolitan areas once again rank as the nation’s two most overvalued rental markets, with renters this June paying about 29 percent more than they did in June 2021 — in fact, the top eight of 109 overvalued markets all are in Florida. But the research from FAU, The University of Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast University indicates that sharp rent increases in Fort Myers, Miami and the other six Florida markets are on pace to slow dramatically in the next year. At the same time, rents in the New York metro area are poised to rise about 21 percent by June 2023. The main reason for this trend appears to be temporary Florida transplants returning home to New York. [Source: Florida Atlantic University]

Bye bye, San Francisco: The top 7 U.S. cities homebuyers are seeking to leave

From coast to coast, prospective homebuyers are on the hunt for affordability — even if it means leaving their city to find it. According to a new report, of cities Redfin users appeared most likely to try to leave — San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York topped the list. “The typical home in San Francisco or San Jose now costs more than $1.5 million,” Taylor Marr, Redfin’s deputy chief economist, said in the report. “Add in today’s 5%-plus mortgage rates and you have a sky-high monthly payment.” [Source: CNBC]

Condo/townhouse sales in Miami-Dade plummeted 30% to 1,752, while the median sales price grew 21% to $410,000. Sales of $1 million-plus units dropped 21%. Active listings fell 31%, so the supply of inventory at the current sales pace fell to 2.9 months. That’s a seller’s market. [Source: South Florida Business Journal]


› The first of two votes that would eliminate exclusionary zoning citywide is set for Aug. 4
The Gainesville City Commission has set a date for its rescheduled hearing to decide whether to eliminate single-family zoning, a controversial topic that has neighborhoods up in arms about the possibility of duplexes popping up around town. If passed, Gainesville would become the first municipality in Florida to adopt the citywide policy change.

› Aptly named Grand Castle in Florida is an enormous fortress on the market for $5.7M
Located at the northern edge of the sprawling city of Jacksonville, FL, an enormous castle seems to appear out of nowhere. “You drive down that half-mile driveway, and then all of a sudden, it just opens up,” says listing agent Kay Stalvey, with Watson Realty Corp. “It just opens up, and there’s this humongous front yard with this beautiful mansion sitting there. It just gives you chills.”

› Hotel rises as Mexico Beach recovers from Hurricane Michael
Standing on the deck of the new Driftwood Inn, 3½ years after Hurricane Michael obliterated the old one, Tom Wood spoke of the months after the storm. The Driftwood was a nest of splintered wood and ruined history then: pictures, receipts, mattresses, tables, chairs, all tumbled together and streaked with mold. A 14-foot flood and 150 mph winds had dismantled Mexico Beach, turning the gulf-front oasis into a 3-mile field of rubble.

› What can you get for $1 million in Fort Lauderdale?
For buyers looking for a taste of the quintessential South Florida lifestyle, Fort Lauderdale is one of the best options. The city, also known as the Venice of America, offers close proximity to sunny beaches, a bustling downtown with bars and outdoor eating, and waterfront homes along a labyrinth of canals.

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