Fla. poised to be real estate “hot spot” this year


ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 28, 2016 – What will Florida's real estate markets look like in the coming year? That was the question on the minds of a standing-room-only crowd of about 400 Realtors®at the 2016 Florida Real Estate Trends event held Thursday during Florida Realtors®Mid-Winter Business Meetings, which continue through Jan. 31, 2016.

"Florida is positioned to become one of the hottest spots in the country with rising demand, positive gains in recovery, really good fundamentals and positive momentum," said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of®. He said 2015 was a good year and 2016 looks to be similar. Smoke discussed the national housing outlook for the coming year, saying, "Home sales have pretty much recovered to their normal levels."

"Fundamentally, we are experiencing a market with not enough to sell," he said. "We are forecasting sli

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Foreign sellers? FIRPTA withholding increases to 15%


WASHINGTON – Jan. 19, 2016 – Congress recently made changes to the U.S. Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (FIRPTA). While two changes should benefit the real estate community, a third will impact foreign sellers of certain properties.

On the positive side, new FIRPTA rules will make U.S. commercial property more attractive to foreign investors, according to Ralph W. Holmen, associate general counsel for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The law doubles the maximum amount of stock ownership a foreign investor may have in a U.S. publicly-traded real estate investment trust (REIT), bumping it up from the current 5 percent to 10 percent. It also permits certain foreign pension funds to invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs) without having FIRPTA treatment apply.

On the other hand, the new FIRPTA rules increase the

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Coalition rolls out ads to fight Fla. rent tax


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 19, 2016 – The Cut My Rent 1 Percent coalition announced an ad campaign encouraging the Florida Legislature to support cutting the Business Rent Tax. Florida Realtors is a coalition member, and a rent-tax reduction is one of the association's top 2016 priorities.

"Florida is the only state that charges a sales tax on business rent, which places a financial burden on businesses … and puts Florida at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting new industry," says Matey H. Veissi, Florida Realtors president. A 1 percent reduction in the tax this year would "generate more jobs and more economic opportunities for the state's residents and business owners."


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Report: Little chance of a home price decline


WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Jan. 6, 2016 – The likelihood of home price declines across the United States over the next two years remains low at 6 percent, according to the Arch Mortgage Insurance Company (Arch MI) Winter 2016 Housing and Mortgage MarketReview.

In addition, most of the risk from dropping home values is found outside Florida in energy-focused cities and states. "Energy Patch" states – ones that rely heavily on coal, oil or natural gas production – are significantly more at risk as they continue to experience the fallout from large drops in energy prices.

The report released by Arch MI models the state- and metro-level risk indices to predict the likelihood that home prices in a region will decrease over the next two years based on recent economic and housing market data.

"Nationwide, the housing market is likely to strengthen over the coming year in spite

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Florida tops list of most-desirable states


NEW YORK – Dec. 18, 2015 – For the first time since 2001, Florida – the nation's 27th state – is back on top as Americans' most desired state to live.

When asked where they would most like to live (excluding their current state), Florida landed at the top of the list. Overall, sunshine and waterfront acreage were consistent themes among the most popular states, with California (2) and Hawaii (3) rounding out the top three. However, non-beach states Colorado (4) and New York (5) closed out the top five states.

This year's top five were, for the most part, also top-five honorees the last time this question was asked in 2013, Harris reports. The sole exception is New York, which edged into the top-five after a sixth place showing. Texas, meanwhile, dropped out of the top five to No. 6.

The remaining 9 states on the "top 15" list include diverse geographies, thou

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