Topgolf Orlando will finally open next week

 

 

 

Topgolf Orlando, the driving range-arcade-restaurant-bar hybrid, will finally open its 65,000-square-foot complex next week.

The company confirmed to Orlando Weekly that they will open Friday, Oct. 20. Topgolf won’t be taking reservations for large groups until Oct. 30.
For the unfamiliar, Topgolf is basically a three-floor modern driving range that allows guests to smack microchipped golf balls at targets, while relaxing in a full-service booth area. So, in a way, it’s the best parts of golf and the best parts of staying in the clubhouse.

Topgolf is located at 9295 Universal Blvd., next to Andretti Indoor Karting & Games.

Central Florida Foodie Events For October 2017

October 2017 is an exciting month for Central Florida foodies, with special dinners and food festivals happening all month long. In addition to the extension of Visit ’s Magical Dining Month, many places are celebrating Oktoberfest and National Taco Day, as well. Here are some of the great food and drink events you might want to check out:

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, Walt Disney World This annual event offers a literal dine around the world experience with kiosks representing different countries offer up native food and beverage samples. Samples run from $3 to $8 on average, in addition to park admission. Read our Epcot Food & Wine preview for more information.

OCTOBER 16 Bubbly & Cabernet at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Winter Park oct 16 Cost: $45 per person for Members/ $55 per person for Non-Members Hosted by Women for Winesense Central , this tasting of exceptional wines will be paired paired with some of the group’s favorite hors d’oeuvres from Ruth’s Chris chefs.

OCTOBER 17 Food For Thought Tour at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Orlando Cost: Free During this one-hour information session you will learn more about who is hungry in our community and then take a walking tour of the food bank to see how they operate. A light lunch follows, prepared by the Second Harvest kitchen. It is free to attend, and good for the soul.

Port & Chocolate Tasting at Texas de Brazil, Orlando Cost: $45 Start off the evening with the Port of Manhattan Martini and signature Texas de Brazil appetizers followed by special pairings of the Taylor Fladgate family and chocolate. This special event will be led by port and chocolate representatives, so be ready for an evening of enjoyment and education. Texas de Brazil will be donating $40 for each ticket sold to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Relief Efforts.

OCTOBER 18 Chef’s Night Series feat. Primetime Kitchen at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Orlando Cost: $100 Chef Jim Colbert will cook the main dish, accompanied by notable local chefs, Tello Luna (Harrys Poolside Bar & Grill), Bruno Fonseca (Millenia 106) & Bryan Thoman (Canvas Restaurant & Market).

OCTOBER 19 Orlandough Flight Night at Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, Orlando Cost: $17 per ice cream/doughnut flight. Flights will include four mini ice cream sandwiches of different flavor combos.

OCTOBER 20 Crafted & Bold City Brewery Beer Dinner at CRAFTED, Orlando Cost: $34.95 Featuring 4 courses & 5 different beer selections. Bold City representatives & Crafted Chef Adam Dierks will be on-hand to help educate & inform throughout the evening.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining at STK Orlando at Disney Springs Cost: $75 Join Master Sommelier George Miliotes of Wine Bar George for a wine party on STK’s rooftop featuring pairings, with varietals such as Saperavi from Georgia and Macvin du Jura from France. Visit disneyworld.com for more information and reservations. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining at Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Cost: $199 Enjoy Asian cuisine while listening to the Dr. Jason Crane speak about the Siberian Crane Conservation project he supports in Asia.. Visit disneyworld.com for more information and reservations.

Harry’s Brewmaster Series feat Funky Buddha at Harry’s Poolside Bar & Grill at Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando Cost: $55 Enjoy a 5-course seafood dinner plus Funky Buddha beer pairings. Complimentary valet and self-parking included. Visit the rosencentre.com for tickets and more info.

Jake’s Beer Festival at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando Cost: $35 – $45 Jake’s Beer Festival happens only twice each year and features more than 50 local and regional specialty craft beers, delicious and tasty foods, live entertainment and more.

Pink Out. Dine Out. Rock Out at The Mall at Millenia, Orlando Cost: $20 donation With a donation of $20, sample food and signature drinks from your favorite Mall at Millenia restaurants. Proceeds benefit the Florida Hospital Breast Cancer Care Fund.

Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate: Perfectly Paired at East End Market, Orlando Cost: $45 Learn how to pair wine, cheese, and chocolate together at this popular class featuring cheese from La Femme du Fromage, wine from Quantam Leap, and chocolate from Peterbrooke Chocolatier. A percentage of the proceeds will go to Hurricane Irma Relief. It’s also La Femme’s Anniversary so she is hosting a pre-class pop up in the courtyard from 5- 6:30pm with Happy Hour pricing on wine, beer, sangria and small plates.

OCTOBER 20-22 3rd Annual Crooked Can Oktoberfest at Crooked Can Brewing Company, Winter Garden Cost: Free admission and parking Enjoy three days of authentic German food and drink for purchase, live German music, arts, and crafts, and more.

OCTOBER 21 Oktoberfest at PB&G at Four Seasons Resort Orlando Cost: $75; 21+ only Enjoy Crooked Can’s Oktoberfest Brew and other classic German brews, plus housemade pretzels, sauerbraten sliders, wiener schnitzel and other German food, along with live German music, and more.

Taste of Nona 2017 at Courtyard by Marriott Lake Nona, Orlando Cost: $40 This year’s Taste will feature more than two dozen fantastic local restaurants, dessert makers, and catering services.

Third Annual TAPtoberfest at The Brass Tap – Mills Park, Orlando Cost: Free admission. Featuring German and German-inspired beers on tap, get ready for stein hoisting, boot chugging, and more.

OCTOBER 22 Orlando Weekly Oktoberfest Collaboration Tapping Party at Broken Cauldron Taproom, Orlando Cost: Free admission Treehouse Truck will be on site serving a German inspired menu and the Orlando Weekly will have special prizes and giveaways! $4 Pints of OBF Oktoberfest all night long.

Pastry in the Park at The Osprey Tavern, Orlando Cost: $65 per person; $20 additional for beverage pairing Enjoy a 7-course dessert tasting by some of Orlando’s top pastry chefs: Chef Amanda McFall (Urbain 40), Chef Esther Rodriguez (The Ravenous Pig), Chef Gloriann Rivera (1921 by Norman Van Aken), Chef Michelle Hulbert (K Restaurant), Chef Amy Gilbert (Canvas Restaurant), Chef Brian Cernell (Luma On Park/Prato/Luke’s), and Chef Kristy Carlucci (The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria).

OCTOBER 26 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining at Flying Fish at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort Cost: $199 Savor an Evening of Culinary Treasures and Jewels of the Vineyard With Chef Tim Majoras and Master Sommelier George Miliotes of Wine Bar George.

]Homestead Harvest at Whisper Creek Farm at The Ritz-Carlton at Grande Lakes, Orlando Cost: $135 per person; VIP $160 The Highball & Harvest team will be joined by Bravo’s Top Chef star Kenny Gilbert from Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen and Gilbert’s Social. Local talent including Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon, James Petrakis of The Ravenous Pig, Kevin Fonzo previously of K Restaurant, Austin Boyd of The Osprey Tavern, and many more, will also be cooking up bites at the event. The one-night-only food and beverage event will benefit Fleet Farming.

OCTOBER 27 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining at Chef’s Table at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Cost: $259 The evening begins with an innovative reception and champagne toast in the Catering Kitchen before progressing through a secret entrance to the Chef’s Table. Here, you’ll enjoy 6 courses, all presented and finished on-stage and accompanied by an outstanding wine selection.

OCTOBER 27– 28 8th Annual Food and Wine Classic at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Cost: $115; add beer garden access for $25; seminars additional This delicious annual festival offers up food from the resort’s culinary team and restaurants. Add on access to the beer garden for an additional cost. You can also enlighten your knowledge of food and beverage with seminars each day including wines, cocktails, beer, pasta-making, cheese pairing or the fine art of sushi and sake for an additional charge per seminar.

OCTOBER 28 Central Florida Veg Fest 2017 at Festival Park, Orlando Cost: Free admission The event will include healthy living and eco-friendly exhibitors, speakers, and presentations; non-profits; fun and games for kids; dog and cat adoptions; restaurant booths; food preparation demonstrations, and live music and entertainment.

OCTOBER 29 Sunday Bubbles Brunch with J Vineyards and Winery at Il Mulino New York Trattoria at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Cost: $88.50; three seatings This lavish brunch will feature traditional and not-so-traditional items prepared by our award-winning Chefs. One glass of champagne or specialty mimosa will be included in the menu price, along with the option to upgrade to bottomless champagne and mimosas at the time of seating. Visit swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com

Mortgage Credit Risk Increased in Q2 2017

Housing Credit Insights Trends Through Q2 2017

The CoreLogic Housing Credit Index is a robust credit index that measures mortgage credit risk using six mortgage credit attributes. The HCI spans more than 15 years, covers all loan products in both the prime and subprime lending segments and includes all 50 states and the District of Columbia, permitting peak to trough business cycle comparisons across the U.S.

The CoreLogic Housing Credit Index (HCI) measures the variation in mortgage credit risk attributes and uses loan attributes from mortgage loan servicing data that are combined in a principal component analysis (PCA) model. PCA can be used to reduce a complex data set (e.g., mortgage loan characteristics) to a lower dimension to reveal properties that underlie the data set.

 

The HCI combines six mortgage credit risk attributes, including borrower credit score, loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, documentation level (full documentation of a borrower’s economic conditions or incomplete levels of documentation, including no documentation), status of investor-owned (whether property is a non-owner-occupied investment or owner-occupied primary residence and second home), and property type (whether property is a condominium or co-op). It spans more than 15 years, covers all loan products in both the prime and subprime lending segments and includes all 50 states and the District of Columbia, permitting peak-to-peak and trough-to-trough business cycle comparisons across the U.S. The CoreLogic Loan-Level Market Analytics data include loan-level information, both current and historical, from servicers on active first-lien mortgages in the U.S. and the Non-Agency Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS) data include loan-level information from the securitizers. In addition, CoreLogic public records data for the origination share by loan type (conventional conforming, government, jumbo) were used to adjust the combined servicing and securities data to assure that it reflects primary market shares. These changes across different dimensions are reflected in the HCI. A rising HCI indicates increasing credit risk and a declining HCI indicates decreasing credit risk.

Orlando Eye developer submits plans for luxury lakefront homes

A well-known developer is moving forward with plans to put 13 multimillion-dollar on the last large developable land tract off the Butler Chain of Lakes.

Unicorp National Developments Inc. on Sept. 12 filed a preliminary subdivision plan in Orange County to build a 13-lot single-family development on 16.59 acres of The Hubbard Estate.

The development would be inside Arnold Palmer‘s Bay Hill community just west of the golf course on the shores of Lake Tibet in Orange County, Orlando Business Journal previously reported.

Unicorp has selected a couple of builders, including Jones Clayton Construction Inc., which provided renderings of the first speculation home that will be built in the neighborhood at 9000 Hubbard Place. A name for the subdivision has not been finalized yet.

Unicorp President Chuck Whittall previously told Orlando Business Journal the home prices would range from $5 million-$15 million.

The owners of The Hubbard Estate — the 2012 Hubbard Family Trust — authorized on June 13 Orlando-based Bio-Tech Consulting Inc. to make a conservation area determination on behalf of Unicorp, OBJ previously reported.

Jones Clayton Construction was not immediately available for comment.

Unicorp is the developer behind the I-Drive 360, Westside Shoppes, the Starflyer under construction on International Drive, and a host of other projects.

Luxury Real Estate

The Battle of the Best Savings Accounts

It’s a well-known fact that interest rates on accounts are incredibly low. In fact, the average savings account is hovering around 0.06%.1 That’s such a far cry from pre-crisis times, it’s shocking.

At rates that low one might ask, “Why even have a savings account? Why don’t I just place my hard-earned under the mattress?” We can’t blame you. However, if you did that you’d be leaving money on the table (or under the mattress). There are much better options out there; savings account options that earn fifteen times the average rate of 0.06%.

We’ve scoured high and low to find the best accounts. In our search, we’ve come across a few that stand above the rest. You’d be in good shape if you had any of these accounts, but after some thorough analysis, one of them truly earns the title of best savings account. Here they are at a glance:

At a Glance: High Yield Savings Accounts & MMAs


We were just as taken aback when we first saw these numbers. 1.20% and 1.00%? Why didn’t I hear of these accounts before I put my money in [large, untrustworthy bank X]? You might be saying to yourself, “Barclays Online Savings is clearly the winner because their APY is slightly higher.”

However, you can’t jump to a conclusion as there are other important factors to consider when opening a savings account. So we’ve broken them each down, piece by piece.

Monthly Minimums

Capital One 360 Money Market and Barclays Online Savings are both “No Fee” banks, meaning neither of them charge a monthly maintence fee, nor do they require a minimum balance in the account. In fact, they don’t even require a deposit to open an account!

Tie: Capital One 360 Money Market and Barclays Online Savings

Bank Reputation

This might not have been very important to us before the financial crisis, but times have changed. We need to feel safe with where we put our hard-earned money. Each of these banks are backed by the maximum allowable FDIC guarantee of $250,000. This means if the bank defaults, the US Government would repay you every penny you had in the account, up to $250,000. Bank of America, Chase, etc. all have this same insurance.

More than just the FDIC insurance, we need reliability and value from our bank. So here is how the top banks fare in terms of reputation:

Despite being a big brand internationally, in America Barclays is a newcomer. That being said they are growing incredibly fast since experts have been raving about their great savings tools and quality customer service.

Capital One 360 has been donned a great bank for those looking to start building their savings. It’s not just the lack of fees, they go a couple steps further by giving you tools to track your savings progress; and for some they even offer a signup bonus (depending on how much you deposit).

This was a really close call, but because of Barclays stellar international reputation and their rapid growth, we had to give them the slight advantage here.

Winner: Barclays Online Savings

Customer Service and Ease of Use

These companies all have good customer service according to online reviews. 3 star reviews don’t sound great for a restaurant, but for an industry that’s really suffering from an image problem, 3 star ratings are some of the best ratings received. Comparatively, Bank of America had 1.6 stars, HSBC had 1.4 stars and Chase came in at 2.5 stars.

So how did we figure this one out? Members of our team personally opened an account in each and compared notes over a two-week period.

All of the banks’ websites are state of the art and incredibly intuitive; and each has an “American English” speaking support team that is very attentive and easy to deal with.

When we compared our notes, there was a slight differentiation as Capital One seemed to be the most responsive and friendly!

Winner: Capital One 360 Money Market

Interest Rate

This one’s easy. At 1.20%, Barclays Online Savings’s interest rate is slightly higher. Even though Barclays Online Savings’s rate is slightly higher, really either of these accounts are huge improvements over what Chase, Bank of America, or Wells Fargo would pay you.

Winner: Barclays Online Savings

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, Capital One 360 offers arguably the best product out there. They have one of the highest interest rates available, virtually no fees, and a great reputation to boot. So after all of the research, Capital One 360 was our winner of the best savings account!

Winner: Capital One 360 Money Market

How Irma will affect real estate market

Like it did to everything else in Northeast Florida, Hurricane Irma dealt a significant impact to the residential real estate market.

But, like much else, it will come back, according to real estate professionals who’ve weathered the storms for years.

Bill Watson, founder and chairman of Watson Realty Corp., said the local effects of the hurricane began Sept. 8 for his 1,600 employees in 43 offices in North and Central Florida and South Georgia. That was two days before the storm made landfall in the Florida Keys.

“The first phase is when the hurricane warning comes. When the schools close, that affects your workforce,” he said.

Most Realtors are independent contractors and when schools are closed by an approaching storm, they take care of their children and families, Watson said.

After Irma, it was time to assess the damage on the personal and corporate levels and return to work. For many, that began about 12 hours after the storm left the area.

“We reopened Tuesday at noon. Two agents took clients to see houses and we also closed two contracts on Wednesday,” said Sherry Davidson, co-founder of Davidson Realty, which has offices in Jacksonville Beach and St. Augustine.

Linda Sherrer, CEO and president of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty, said five of her firm’s eight offices opened Tuesday, followed by the other three on Wednesday when power was restored to those locations.

The first step was to determine if properties had been damaged.

“Our agents started calling all of their listings and all of their buyers,” Sherrer said.

The post-storm phase brings its own challenges that involve title companies and lenders.

Unless a contract was executed, lenders won’t fund the loan until the home is inspected to determine whether the property was damaged. That will probably mean adding about a week or 10 days to the process, Davidson said.

Watson said damage to a property that’s under contract doesn’t necessarily void a sale, provided repairs can be completed within a set time.

“You have 10 days to determine whether the damage is minor and if so, the seller has to notify the buyer,” he said. “If the damage is minor, the seller has 30 days to repair it.”

If the damage is more than what’s considered minor — about 3 percent of the value — the buyer has the option to continue to closing or walk away from the contract, Watson said.

After the initial disruption, the market will return to its previous level, said Sherrer, who has been selling real estate in Northeast Florida through good weather and bad since 1979.

“We’ve got low inventory and low interest rates and demand is very strong. That points to a strong rebound,” she said.

The number of that were damaged will make the untouched properties increase in value.

“If you have an undamaged house that’s ready to move in, you’ll be able to bump up the price. There are still plenty of buyers, but not as much inventory,” Watson said.

He also said Hurricane Irma probably will change the market for the next several months.

“We’ll never get the September business back. And it probably won’t be really back in October, but November and December will be better than they should have been.”

Florida dealing with Hurricane Irma aftermath

Millions of Floridians are cleaning up the damage wreaked by Hurricane Irma as a Navy aircraft carrier arrives in the Keys, where up to 10,000 people may need to be evacuated.

USS Abraham Lincoln reached the Florida Keys on Monday and its helicopters are flying over the region to survey the damage.

The Navy has also dispatched two amphibious assault ships, the USS Iwo Jima and the USS New York, to help with recovery efforts.

Despite leaving a trail of devastation through Florida, Irma has now been downgraded to a tropical storm and is dumping rains across the South in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee on Tuesday.

Rebuilding efforts in Florida could be hampered by temperatures of up to 90F in the coming days. This will be compounded by the fact that there is no air conditioning, as some 12.5million people in the southeast have been left without power.

The powerful hurricane made landfall Sunday morning in the Florida Keys as a category 4 storm and then made its way up the Gulf Coast – swamping downtown Miami with storm surge and blowing the roofs off .

As of Tuesday morning, officials in the upper Keys were allowing residents and business owners to return and assess damage.

So far, the storm is believed to have caused at least 11 deaths in the US – including two in the Florida Keys, which was under mandatory evacuation during the storm. A 51-year-old Florida man was electrocuted by a downed power line on Monday, while another man – Wilfredo Hernandez – was accidentally killed by a chainsaw in Hillsborough as he helped cut tree branches.

Three people were also killed in Georgia and one in South Carolina on Monday.

 

A key Fed official just admitted the central bank got inflation wrong and so it may delay a hike

Fed unlikely to hike rates this year: Clearnomic's James Liu

Fed unlikely to hike rates this year: Clearnomics’ James Liu  

The Federal Reserve appears ready to accept that its inflation assessments have been wrong, indicating an important shift in how it will approach rate hikes ahead.

In a speech Tuesday, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said the long-standing assessment at the central bank that persistently low inflation is the result of transitory factors that eventually will pass does not add up considering current circumstances.

As a result, she said, policymakers should reconsider the current path they expect for future rate hikes.

“I am concerned that the recent low readings for inflation may be driven by depressed underlying inflation, which would imply a more persistent shortfall in inflation from our objective,” Brainard told the Economic Club in New York. “In that case, it would be prudent to raise the federal funds rate more gradually.”

Brainard’s comments are important because she is considered a close ideological ally of Fed Chair Janet Yellen. While Yellen herself has indicated that the end of the rate-hiking cycle could be near, she and her fellow Federal Open Market Committee members have stood by the belief that inflation ultimately will gravitate toward their 2 percent target.

Tuesday’s speech challenges that notion.

Specifically, Brainard pointed to the current low unemployment rate — 4.4 percent — and compared it to the last time the was around “full employment” from 2004 to 2007. During that run, inflation averaged about 2.2 percent. Currently, the three-year average is 1.5 percent.

Brainard acknowledged that certain factors driving down inflation, such as a drop in cellphone rates, are transitory. But she said there also are temporary factors pushing up inflation, such as a rise in prescription drug prices.

Lael Brainard, Federal Reserve Governor

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Lael Brainard, Federal Reserve Governor

“What is troubling is five straight years in which inflation fell short of our target despite a sharp improvement in resource utilization,” she said.

At the core could be a general drop in “underlying” or long-term trend inflation that is feeding on itself and keeping the rate low, simply because that is what consumers have come to expect. Economists have long accepted the notion that inflation can stay high or low simply because of public perceptions.

“Households and firms have experienced a prolonged period of inflation below our objective, and that may be affecting their perception of underlying inflation,” Brainard said. “In short, frequent or extended periods of low inflation run the risk of pulling down private-sector inflation expectations.”

The Fed has hiked its benchmark rate four times since December 2015 and was on target for one more before year’s end. Traders in the fed funds futures market, though, have shifted expectations and now don’t expect the next rate hike until at least June.

Brainard said the Fed should follow through on its intentions to begin reducing its $4.5 trillion balance sheet of bonds that it acquired mostly during stimulus efforts that started during the financial crisis.

But she believes it should tread carefully when it comes to future rate hikes.

If her sentiments reflect the majority of FOMC members, the shift could pull the Fed away from the majority’s preference for slow but steady rate hikes and more toward the sentiment expressed by Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and some economists who believe rate hikes should wait until inflation becomes more pronounced.

In fact, Brainard said the Fed should consider letting inflation run “modestly above” the 2 percent goal before hiking again.

“I will be looking closely at the evolution of inflation before making a determination about further adjustments to the federal funds rate,” she said. “We have been falling short of our inflation objective not just in the past year, but over a longer period as well. My own view is that we should be cautious about tightening policy further until we are confident inflation is on track to achieve our target.”

Home sales drop—again—and will continue ‘unless supply miraculously improves’

House . Real Estate Sign in Front of a House.

After a brief improvement in June, home sales continued their downward slide in July, with buyers signing fewer contracts to purchase existing .

An index of so-called pending home sales, which represent closings one to two months from now, fell 0.8 percent compared with June, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is the fourth monthly drop in the past five months. June’s reading was also revised lower. The index is now 1.3 percent below a year ago and has fallen on an annual basis in three of the past four months.

“Buyer traffic continues to be higher than a year ago, the typical listing has gone under contract within a month since April,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors. “The reality, therefore, is that sales in coming months will not break out unless supply miraculously improves. This seems unlikely given the inadequate pace of housing starts in recent months and the lack of interest from real estate investors looking to sell.”

 The supply of homes for sale at the end of July came in at 2.11 million, 9 percent lower than a year ago. That has fallen year over year for 26 consecutive months.

The housing market remains stuck in a holding pattern with little signs of breaking through. The pace of new listings is not catching up with what’s being sold at an astonishingly fast pace,” Yun added.

Closed sales to buy existing homes fell more than expected in July, with Realtors citing the lack of supply as the primary reason. Prices are also a factor though. The median price of a home sold in July hit $258,300, the highest July price on record. Mortgage rates have been falling through the summer and are now sitting at 2017 lows, but they are still slightly higher than one year ago. Rates have been so low for so long that they provide little relief from the fast-rising prices.

California, which boasts the priciest and tightest in the nation, saw sales slip across the board in July. The number of homes for sale fell yet again and prices hit decade highs.

“The San Francisco Bay Area posted modest year-over-year gains in home sales this May and June, but a tight inventory and waning affordability have taken a toll, and July 2017 sales fell to the lowest level for a July in six years,” said Andrew LePage, research analyst at CoreLogic.

Pending home sales in the Northeast fell 0.3 percent for the month and were 2.4 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest, sales decreased 0.7 percent for the month and were 2.8 percent lower than July 2016. In the South, sales declined 1.7 percent from June and were 0.2 percent below last July. In the West, sales rose 0.6 percent for the month but were 4.0 percent below a year ago.

Yun noted that national sales numbers could weaken more than expected this fall, due to the disruption in the Houston housing market from Hurricane Harvey.

Orlando-area home sales down despite record job growth

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/94337272-132.html

Home prices and sales in the core Orlando market were down in July from the month before during what is usually the peak summer buying season.

The midpoint price for an area that includes mostly Orange and Seminole counties was $220,000 in July, down from $222,500 the prior month, according to a report released Tuesday by Regional Realtor Association.

More dramatic than the slight softening in prices was the 14 percent, month-over-month drop in sales to 3,347 for July. Typically sales boom as families relocate prior to the start of the school year.

The association cited a slim inventory of listings as the culprit for what has been a less-than-spectacular summer.

“Would-be first-time homebuyers are being kept on the sidelines by limited inventory and rising prices,” said Bruce Elliott, president of the association and broker associate with Regal R. E. Professionals LLC. “However, rising prices have slowed some of the investor activity, which could mean slightly less competition for at the lower end of the market.”

Compared with a year ago, Orlando’s median home price for July was $14,000 higher.

Orlando real estate Serina Marshall said millennials in particular face a challenge as wages stagnate and prices rise for a group of would-be buyers who are affected by student loan debts, too. Renters in that age bracket also deal with rent spikes and find themselves with few options at lease renewal time.

“Those prices are being jacked up a lot and people are being forced to move out of their apartments to find something more affordable,” said Marshall, an agent with Re/Max Town Centre.

What has not grown from a year ago is the pace of monthly sales, which held flat from a year earlier. The flat sales growth comes despite record job growth for Orlando, which averaged 150 new jobs daily during a 12-month period that ended in June, according to a review of federal jobs numbers.

The headwinds facing newly employed Central Floridians are home prices rising 6.8 percent during a year-long period in which wages rose about 1 percent, according to the federal housing department. Making ownership an even more distant dream, financing has become costlier. July buyers secured average interest rates of 4.01 percent, which was up about a half point from a year ago and up slightly from a month earlier.

Within the four counties that make up Metro Orlando, only Lake showed strong sales growth in July from July 2016. Sales there were up more than 12 percent, while sales in Orange and Osceola counties were largely flat and Seminole was down more than 8 percent.