Clearwater Beach Florida – As most of our readers know we work hard to get great deals for our Clearwater Beach condo buyers unfortunately there are some great buys on luxury condos in Clearwater however one of the major roadblocks interested buyers encounter is the fact that in the Clearwater Beach Florida / Sand Key Florida area the allowable Fannie Mae loan limit for conventional loans is only $417,000 with at least 20% down.
Now I would agree that in most areas of Clearwater real estate – this would be plenty, however, when you consider we’re home to some of the best beaches in the United States, it’s not nearly enough if you want to buy a typical beach condo and are looking for a reasonable loan.
Even if you were planning on buying a condo and putting 20% to 25% down it’s a problem because most Clearwater Beach Florida oceanfront 3 bedroom condominiums are still selling from $800,000 to well over $1 million dollars even in today’s real estate market.
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Clearwater Beach FL Jumbo Borrowers Squeezed and so are Sellers
So what does this mean for the Sellers with Clearwater beach condos they are looking to sell?
In my experience…
1) Clearwater Beach low conventional loan limits are causing a lot of mortgage pressure to purchase properties for $520,000 (or less) give or take so a buyer can buy a condo with a loan of less than $417,000.
2) Clearwater Jumbo rates (and terms) further limits the number of ready and willing buyers in this “jumbo” price point – so with less willing and able buyers there is again more pressure on sellers to make a deal with the remaining buyers – and we’re seeing cash is king. Our last two beach condo buyers paid cash for their gulf beachfront condos.
What’s hard to believe is we are currently working with many buyers who are the best clients a mortgage lender could want (excellent credit, no debt, no issue with income qualifications) and yet they are not willing to buy a second home / vacation home under the recent terms one National bank / lender gave … For Jumbo loans on beach condo purchases needing a loan over $417K but under 1 million they didn’t even offer a fixed rate loan only a 5/1 ARM at 5.75% with a 1% point so basically when conventional home buyers are getting mortgage rates under 5% – some of the best possible borrowers are being asked to pay a premium of almost 7% and up.
When I asked “why?”, the banks told me that it’s because “Jumbo Loans” are currently the highest loans in default. Unfortunately, those I see in preforeclosure and foreclosure on the beaches now are very different than the potential buyers we are seeing. We all know lending had loose guidelines back a few years and many real estate buyers got in way over their heads – these are not the buyers we are working with today.
77% Pending Sales of Clearwater Beach Condos and Sand Key Condos are NOT Jumbos
There are currently 22 Clearwater condos under contract and pending sale in the Tampa Bay MLS – of that 17 of them has a listed purchase price of under $420,000, 4 are in the $600K’s and one is pending at $849,000 (all of which could be lower on closing – we don’t know the negotiated purchase price at this point). It’s not surprising that it was recently reported that 50% of all real estate sales in Florida this year have been cash transactions.
In our experience, today’s Tampa mortgage rates for Jumbo Loans have caused several of our clients to scale back their Clearwater beach condo purchases and others have postponed them while they free up additional funds to make up the difference in purchase price and “conforming loans”. We’ve seen several people who planned on buying beachfront condos for @$800,000 and now have scaled back $200-300K to qualify for the conforming loan rates and terms.
So if you are a seller on Clearwater Beach Florida today (or Sand Key, Island Estates and our Gulf beaches) the best thing that can happen for you right now is that Banks get bank into the Jumbo loan market and begin to offer more attractive Jumbo Loan rates and terms for these willing Clearwater Beach buyers. With rates where they are – if Jumbo’s loosen up many of our buyers tell us they would prefer a larger more expensive condo if there aren’t punitive lending terms for them.
Well there was some good news this week….
Clearwater Beach Real Estate gets some good Jumbo Loan news
Today I read an article that stated “that the hard-to-find jumbo loan may be making a comeback. Bank of America is among the major banks rolling out jumbo mortgage programs and holding the loans in their own portfolios.
It will offer loans from $730,000 to $1.5 million with 30-year fixed rates under 6 percent; but borrowers must make a 20-percent downpayment, have good credit, provide proof of income, and hold six months’ of principal, interest, property tax and insurance payments in reserve.”
I know we are constantly working with local bankers who offer in-house “portfolio loans” – we can only hope that other banks, both local and national, will follow Bank of America lead in the Jumbo loan market. If you have questions and need a good local banker, give us a call and we can introduce you to several good lenders and we will continue to keep you posted on what’s happening on our beaches.
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Copyright © 2007-2009 Jack and Cyndee Haydon, Clearwater REALTORS and specializing in Clearwater Florida, Clearwater Beach Florida, and Pinellas County Waterfront homes and condos. Information is deemed reliable however it is not guaranteed and subject to change at any time.