Spring has always signified the “dawn of new life,” but I’m thinking that this year’s springtime may be a summer event when it comes to real estate. First and foremost is the good news that as of July 1, first time homebuyers in Florida have been able to apply the new federal tax credit of $8000 to their downpayment. Although funds won’t become available until sometime in August, the State is allowing the funds to be used for all new homebuyer downpayments, including FHA loans. The the Federal program, unlike the Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program, requires FHA-backed buyers to make a minimum 3.5 percent downpayment with their own money. Realtors should now be promoting the new program to homebuyers and should be looking for the local housing authorities who’ll be taking applications.

Another “birth” of sorts is the reinvigoration I see in the Manatee County market: For the last three months in a row, new listings and sold listings are almost on equal footing, while pending contracts are on the rise and outpacing last year’s dismal numbers. Since April, a total of 1515 listings have come onto the market, but 1239 homes, or 82% of that volume, have sold. Even better than that news is the fact that listings under contract increased by 51 percent from April to May and by 61 percent from May to the end of June. Buyers are finding opportunity and taking options on new lifestyles.

I love new beginnings. Don’t you?

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