National Housing Market Projections Looking Up, Outlook Echoed for Florida Markets

Experts are saying the spring buying season of 2012 is projected to be the best it has been in “four or five years.” The number of sales for February was up 9% nationally from February of 2011. However, experts are saying, “not all market will move together.” Florida need not worry.

Although the number of home sales in Florida for February did not “match last year’s levels,” the number of homes sold did increase over January and the prices increased over January. The median price of homes not only increased from January to February of 2012, but they also increased from $125,000 in February of 2011 to $134,000 in February of 2012. The number of available homes, however, has decreased but some say that is a good sign.

“John Tuccilo, Florida Realtors Chief Economist, stated, ‘The overall picture that these statistics show is of a stabilizing housing market. While closed sales are down, so are listings and so is inventory. These are signs of a market that’s moving from being a buyer’s market to a balanced market.’”

So, while not all markets will move together in 2012, it appears that Florida’s housing market may be moving ahead.

Information for this article was obtained from http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/story/2012-04-01/spring-home-buying/53935318/1 and http://loanrateupdate.com/mortgages/florida-home-sales-climb-in-february.

Sarah Gulati admitted to the Florida Bar

Boyer Law Firm is proud to announce that Sarah Gulati has been admitted to the Florida Bar.

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners is the entity charged by the Florida Supreme Court with assuring that only qualified persons will be admitted to the practice of law in this state. The Board of Bar Examiners investigates the character and fitness of applicants, develops and administers the bar examination for attorney candidates, and submits for Supreme Court approval the names of those qualified for admission to practice.
Miss. Gulati has successfully met the requirements of the Florida Bar and has been granted permission to practice law in Florida. This allows her to plead cases in Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami and all over Florida.

Miss. Gulati has worked closely with attorneys and other professionals on the firm’s domestic and international business contracts throughout her law school career and now continues to pursue her career after law school. She is actively involved in all aspects of litigation support, including drafting pleadings and correspondence, attending document reviews, investigation, legal research, and dealing with clients on a day to day basis.
Her previous experience with the Firm has equipped her to familiarize many procedures taken during complicated transactions. She has also had previous experience in the banking industry which has helped equip her to deal with managing risks and transactions often associated with litigated cases.

We invite you to contact her before making your decision to live, work, or invest in the U.S.

Florida is America’s Top Four States for Exports

Since 2008, Florida has remained in the top five for America’s leading export states and came in fourth for 2011.  In fact, Florida increased the amount it exported by 17% over the numbers published from 2010.  On top of Florida’s yearly gains in annual exports, Florida’s new exports accounted for $9.4 billion, which was higher than the national average.  These numbers include both products and services, of which Florida exported over $30 billion worth.  Florida’s export industry also provides thousands of jobs and is a major player in the state’s economy.  However, things may not go as well overall in 2012.

One of Florida’s major import/export partners has seen a drop in exports from Florida and an increase in exports to Florida.  Spain is dealing with an economic crisis, which Florida feels, mainly in the Miami area.  Florida exports to Spain in 2011 dropped “nearly 30%” due mainly to high unemployment in the country causing a drop in demand.  On the other hand, Spanish exports to Florida rose over 50%, which may be partially attributable to the United States’ ability to handle its own economic crisis.  Despite the drop in Florida’s exports to Spain last year, Florida was still able to finish number four in the country for exports, which speaks volumes about the strength of Florida’s import/export industry.

Florida Governor Rick Scott stated, “This ranking confirms that Florida is a great place to do business on a global scale… My team works every day to make Florida the No. 1 business state and a highly valued trade partner with countries around the world, especially those in Central and South America.”

Information for this article was found at http://www.sunshineslate.com/2012/03/26/florida-2011-exports/ and http://www.miamitodaynews.com/news/120405/story5.shtml.

Jacksonville’s Expanding Port is Paying Off

Jacksonville’s Port (JAXPORT) is saying hello to Carnival Cruises and goodbye to Honda, well hello and goodbye, that is.  JAXPORT is going to be the new “departure port” used to send Honda CR-Vs to the “Middle East, Africa, and Puerto Rico.”  The exporting of Hondas from JAXPORT is nothing new, however, as JAXPORT is already used to send Oddyseys, Accords, Pilots, and Crosstours out of the country.  Honda’s CR-Vs are the only new addition to the exports at JAXPORT.
JAXPORT is also now a place where people can leave the country for a short time.  For years, the residents of Duval County and the surrounding areas have had to make their way to Orlando, Miami, or another distant Florida city in order to board a cruise.  JAXPORT and Carnival Cruise Lines are changing that problem.  Carnival Cruise Lines is now offering cruises from Jacksonville to the Bahamas aboard the vessel named “Carnival Fascination.”  What is truly fascinating is that the plans to continue expanding JAXPORT this year already seem to be paying off and increasing Jacksonville’s place among the country’s busy ports.

If you have questions or matters regarding Imports and/or Exports, please call us today.

Information for this article was obtained from www.jaxport.com.

Bank of America to offer rentals as foreclosure alternative

Bank of America says it has begun a pilot program offering some of its mortgage customers who are facing foreclosure a chance to stay in their homes by becoming renters instead of owners.

The “Mortgage to Lease” program, which was launched this week, will be available to fewer than 1,000 BofA customers selected by the bank in test markets in Arizona, Nevada and New York.

Participants will transfer their home’s title to the bank, which will then forgive the outstanding mortgage debt. In exchange, they will be able to lease their home for up to three years at or below the rental market rate. The rent will be less than the participants’ current mortgage payments and customers will not have to pay property taxes or homeowners insurance, the bank said.

“This pilot will help determine whether conversion from homeownership to rental is something our customers, the community and investors will support,” Ron Sturzenegger, legacy asset servicing executive of Bank of America, said in a statement.

Among requirements to qualify for the program, homeowners must have a BofA loan, be behind at least 60 days on payments and be “underwater,” owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

The bank based in Charlotte, N.C., said it will at first own the homes, then sell them to investors. If the program is successful, it could be expanded to include real-estate investors who buy qualifying properties and keep the occupants on as tenants.

“If this evolves from a pilot into a more broadly based program, we also see potential benefits from helping to stabilize housing prices in the surrounding community and curtail neighborhood blight by keeping a portion of distressed properties off the market,” Sturzenegger said.

Nevada has the nation’s highest foreclosure rate as of last month, with one in every 278 households in the state receiving a foreclosure-related filing, twice the national average, according to RealtyTrac. Arizona ranks third behind California, while New York has not been as hard hit, with one in every 4,604 households receiving a foreclosure-related filing.

This program has not hit Florida yet, but there are some different alternatives that some banks would consider instead of a foreclosure which greatly impacts your credit. Please contact Boyer Law Firm if you are facing an upcoming foreclosure or would like to prevent it from happening.

Information contained in this article was obtained from: http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=2&id=273424

With mixed numbers, it seems as though confidence may be on the rise

As gas prices continue to go up, the prices of homes, job outlook, and consumer confidence fall.  However, most of those numbers are the results of polls taken of a number of individuals across the country.  Combine those numbers with the numbers produced by polls asking whether people plan to buy a house, a car, or major appliances in the coming months, and there is a mixed bag.  The numbers for consumers planning on buying a car, a home, or major appliances in the next six months all rose, which may be a good sign for consumer confidence and the economy overall.

“Consumer spending is the largest portion of the economy, and economists watch confidence readings to get a feel for the direction of spending.”  Cutting through all the numbers to decipher what they all mean is tricky business, but if people are planning on making large purchases in the coming months, that may be a strong indicator of consumer confidence.  Add the “early readings on the labor market” pointing to a “strong reading on job growth in March” and these numbers may start to add up.

For the time being, numbers from the Federal Housing Finance Agency show a trend of stabilization for the price of homes in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.  The FHFA showed steady levels in both counties for the second half of 2011.  In fact, the FHFA’s index showed gains in the last quarter overall for both counties.  Hopefully this trend will spread north in Florida and maybe those consumers planning on purchasing a home over the next six months will look to reside in Florida.

Information for this article was obtained at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/consumer-confidence-dips-in-march-2012-03-27 and http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/27/2663868/latest-south-florida-housing-numbers.html

Mr. Boyer meets with Dr. Murat Yalcintas President of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce

Boyer Law Firm is proud to announce its meeting with the President of Istanbul’s Chamber of Commerce. Attorney Boyer was privileged to meet with Dr. Murat Yalçıntaş.

The Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ICOC) is an institution that organizes and records the commercial transactions of individuals and commercial institutions located in Istanbul. ICOC was founded in 1880.

Dr. Murat Yalçıntaş - Istanbul Chamber of Commerce and Attorney Francis M. Boyer

Dr. Murat Yalçıntaş and Attorney Francis M. Boyer

Dr. Yalçıntaş was elected the President of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce in the elections held in March, 2005.

Dr. Yalçıntaş began his education (1977–1984) at Saint Joseph French Lycée in Istanbul. He studied Mechanical Engineering at Bosphorus University and holds a Joint Master’s Degree (1988–1990) from Boston University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Corporate Management. He completed his Ph.D at the Faculty of Management, Istanbul University, focusing on customer service in the service industry.

We look forward to cooperating and strengthening the friendship and business ties between Turkey and the United States.

View from the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce building

Homeowner Associations seizing the rent

When a property owner has not paid, or is not up to date in their HOA dues and fees, then a homeowners association can request that the tenant occupying the property pay the rent directly to the association instead of to the property owner. Under Fla. Stat. 720.3085(8), if the owner is “delinquent in paying any monetary obligation due to the association, the association may demand that the tenant pay to the association.” The demand is continuous and the tenant must continually pay rent to the association until the tenant leaves the property or the dues are up to date.

Pursuant to section 720.3085(8), Florida Statutes, associations can demand that an individual make their rent payments directly to the homeowners’ association and continue doing so until the association notifies them otherwise. Payment due the homeowners association may be in the same form as the individual paid to their property owner and must send by United States mail or hand delivered.

The obligation to pay rent to the association begins immediately upon receiving notice, unless the rent has already been paid to the property owner for the period before receiving the notice. In that case, a tenant must provide the association written proof of their payment within 14 days after receiving the notice and their obligation to pay rent to the association begins with the next rental period. Pursuant to section 720.3085(8), Florida Statutes, a tenant’s payment of rent to the association gives them complete immunity from any claim for the rent by the property owner.

HOA Dues are Personal Debts

Some owners believe that homeowners association dues are tied to the property. This is true in the sense that homeowners associations can place a lien on the property, but it can seek a judgment against the owner personally. Furthermore, a homeowners association lien is stronger than the Florida Constitution’s homestead protection, and therefore a homeowners association can foreclose on a property, even the primary home of a Florida resident.

Homeowners associations must foreclose within one year because the length of an assessment lien under Fla. Stat. Chap. 718 is one year. The association must also send two demand letters requesting payment within 30 days and two other demand letters requesting payment 45 days before a foreclosure action can be filed. If a homeowners association desires to pursue owners, or former owners, they must act quickly.

Homeowners associations can also seek a personal judgment, whereas a mortgage company or a bank has to foreclose on the property before they can seek a deficiency judgment against the owner or former owner.