There’s something missing in the recovery

By Chuck Vosburgh, Realtor, NextHome Gulf to Bay

Home sales are up substantially but there’s something missing – first time home buyers. Normally, first time home buyers represent about 40% of primary home purchases. This year they represent 32%, the lowest number since 1987 when first time home buyers represented 30% of the market.

Low interest rates and a healthy job market would mean more first time home buyers, but there are a number of obstacles facing today’s first time buyer. According to the Nationals Association of Realtors, 25% of would-be first time home buyers reported saving up for a down payment was the biggest obstacle. Increasing rents and debt conspire to keep many out of their first home. 58% reported that student loans are delaying their ability to save so they are waiting until their debt is at a more manageable level. With a median student debt of $25,000 combined with high consumer debt, for many it will take years.

So who’s buying?

Most buyers are people taking advantage of high values on their homes and using the equity for down payments to trade up or down. Married couple represent 67% of buyers with their higher purchasing power. Married repeat buyers have the highest income among buyers with an average of $108,600.

What’s next?

Home values are expected to continue to rise and interest rates are predicted to remain low keeping existing home owners in a good position to purchase their next home. For first time buyers, the best course of action is to reduce debt as quickly as possible and begin saving.

Want to know what your purchasing power is? Have questions? Just ask. It’s free and no strings attached. Call 727.743.1740 or email

Is your home value being attacked by zombies?

By Chuck Vosburgh, Realtor
NextHome Gulf to Bay


Zombies are a problem in every town. They are unsightly, unkept and sometimes they’re dangerous and smelly. You may even have them on your street. Zombie properties are the houses that just sit there vacant, ugly and running down the values of all the nice homes like yours. More than one in every 150 homes in the Tampa Bay area is in foreclosure and Florida is second in the nation in foreclosures.

What can you do?
Most of the time there will be a sign on the front of the house, either on the door or in the front window with a number to call. If calling the property manager doesn’t help, call your local code enforcement official to make the owners maintain the property.

The good news
The good news is that these houses are slowly getting bought and fixed up. Realty Trac reported foreclosures in Florida are down 17% compared to last year and lenders are making it easier for people to buy. According to, Florida is 4th in lending volume in the US. The real estate market continues to be strong and a seller’s market is expected to continue which will accelerate the sale of distressed properties. No matter what, be patient. The zombies will eventually go away.

What’s your property worth right now?
If you’d like to know what your home is worth, give us a call or send us an email. We’ll be happy to do a market analysis for you. It’s free and no strings attached. Call 727.743.1740 or email