If you live in East Marion County, Florida, or are looking to buy a home in East Marion County, Florida, then listen up, because this video is for you. Hi, I'm Rhonda Walker with Xcellence Realty. And today I'm coming to you to talk about the flood insurance changes.

If you're moving to an area or currently have a home that is near water or in an area that might be flooding, then the national flood insurance program, as of April 1st, has been changing some of its premiums. So although Florida is the lowest priced premiums across the United States for flood insurance, 80% of Floridians will be looking at a 20% increase in your flood policy. So check with your insurance provider. 20% of you may even see a decrease or your home may have moved out of a flood zone.

How's that possible? Well, the flood insurance program, they have an application where you can click and go put your address in and check to see what your flood status is. If you are in an A or an AE, that means that you have a special flood status and will need flood insurance. Now, they're changing some of their flood mapping systems by using not just the [plat 00:01:10] map in the actual 100 year flood plain issues, but they're looking at the elevations and the topography of everything around it. And in addition, they're using some future data predictors for catastrophic events that will actually help to either lower your insurance, or it might even actually raise it.

So if you are looking to buy in Marion County, of Salt Springs, Lake Kerr area, Fort McCoy, Salt Springs, Ocklawaha in East Marion county, or if you live in these areas, then you will to click the link below and put in your address and see if you need flood insurance. Because if you do, you want to get with your insurance provider, because your normal homeowner's insurance will not cover a flood, and you'll need a separate policy for that. And make sure that the property gets the maximum amount on your flood insurance. The national flood insurance program will cover up to $250,000 in rebuilding of the home and up to a $100,000 worth of contents on the inside. So make sure you get the right policy. Shop around too. Don't just check with your insurance provider. Check with two or three, because you may end up finding out that, guess what? You can get a better price somewhere else.

I'm Rhonda Walker with Xcellence Realty. I appreciate you taking the time to listen to me today, and I hope that you have a great day. Be sure to click the link and go check to see if you need flood insurance.

Check your flood status by visiting: FEMA FLOOD MAPS


If you're considering buying a second home, you may be wondering, "What kind of premium am I going to pay if I want to buy a waterfront property?" Well, you are in luck, because you're about to find out. Today we're going to talk about waterfront premiums in East Marion County, Florida.  I just recently did a study on the most often requested three bedroom two bath homes closed sales from 2018 to 2021 and compared waterfront prices to non waterfront prices. Here is what we learned. 

From 2018 to 2021, the premiums paid for a waterfront property rose significantly from 16.6% in 2018 to a whopping 45.3% in 2021.

From 2018 to 2021, the median home value of non-waterfront properties in East Marion County only rose $43,500 increasing from $126,500 to $170,000. Whereas waterfront homes sold values increased $99,500 jumping from $147,500 to $247,000. 

What does that mean for East Marion County and where can you expect to have those premiums at their highest? Well, I took my research a little bit further and looked at some of the lakes in the area. I looked at five towns situated in the Ocala National Forest: Salt Springs, Fort McCoy, Silver Springs, Ocklawaha, and Weirsdale. Here are the premiums paid by lakes in the area. 

Lake George, which is the second largest lake in the state had a premium of 103% in 2021. That's not surprising because it spans four counties. Marion County only has a very small portion of that land availability. The majority of Lake George is in Volusia and Putnam counties. The Marion County homes on Lake George are already at a premium due to a limited supply. Compound the increase in demand in an unprecedented high sellers market, buyers were willing to pay more for the opportunity to possess property on such a magnificent lake.

The number two lake was Lake Weir at 77% paid premium in 2021. Lake Griffin, 36%. Lake Ocklawaha, 25%. And private lakes were paid a premium of 20%. The private lakes consist of all the multiple little lakes. There are over 600 lakes within the Ocala National Forest. Some lakes don't even have a name they are just tied to an association or a particular subdivision.  Private lakes do not have a public boat ramp or public water access.

I looked closer at each town associated with each lake and here are the results.

In Weirsdale, the median price premium paid was 41% in 2021. For Ocklawaha it was 32%. For Salt Springs it was 20%. Fort McCoy was 3%. And Silver Springs actually had a negative premium rate. Silver Springs has a lot of the smaller private lakes, but it doesn't have any of the bigger lakes like Lake George or Lake Weir or Lake Griffin or even Lake Kerr. The larger the lake, the more activities permitted on the lake, the higher the demand.

Next I looked at the private lakes by town association. 

The highest premiums paid for private lakes in the Weirsdale area sold at a premium of 47% in 2021. What is so great about Weirsdale and the private lakes down there? Simple, you can have a home on a private lake and still have a lake view. And maybe you can go down and sit on your dock and enjoy the sunset and relax at the end of the day. But you are still only a 15 minute drive to either Lake Griffin or Lake Weir, or even into in Lake Eustis in Lake County. Those are the larger lakes where you can do other activities like jet skiing and using your kayaks or canoes or skiing itself. Or even going fishing and even enjoying  dinner at Gator Joe's on Lake Weir.

Based on these numbers, we can forecast that, if all things remain steady (interest rates and buyer demand) we could expect waterfront premiums to increase up to 55.3% by the end of the year in 2022.

Bottom line: if you are looking for that waterfront vacation home in East Marion County Florida, purchasing earlier in the year may save you from paying larger premium prices down the road.


The pandemic created a tremendous interest in vacation homes across the country. Throughout the last year, many people purchased second homes as a safe getaway from the challenges of the health crisis. With many professionals working from home and many students taking classes remotely, it made sense to see a migration away from cities and into counties with more vacation destinations.

The 2021 Vacation Home Counties Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that this increase in vacation home sales continues in 2021. The report examines sales in counties where “vacant seasonal, occasional, or recreational use housing account for at least 20% of the housing stock” and compares that data to the overall residential market.

Their findings show:

  • Vacation home sales rose by 16.4% to 310,600 in 2020, outpacing the 5.6% growth in total existing-home sales.
  • Vacation home sales are up 57.2% year-over-year during January-April 2021 compared to the 20% year-over-year change in total existing-home sales.
  • Home prices rose more in vacation home counties – the median existing price rose by 14.2% in vacation home counties, compared to 10.1% in non-vacation home counties.

This coincides with data released by Zelman & Associates on the increase in sales of second homes throughout the country last year.

As the data above shows, there is still high demand for second getaway homes in 2022 even as the pandemic winds down. While we may see a rise in second-home sellers as life returns to normal, ongoing low supply and high demand will continue to provide those sellers with a good return on their investment.

Bottom Line

If you’re one of the many people who purchased a vacation home during the pandemic, you’re likely wondering what this means for you. If you’re considering selling that home as life returns to normal, you have options. There are still plenty of buyers in the Florida market. If, on the other hand, you want to keep your second home, enjoy it! Current Florida market conditions show that it’s a good ongoing investment.


Every year around this time, many homeowners begin the process of preparing their homes in case of extreme winter weather. Some others skip winter all together by escaping to their vacation homes in a warmer climate.

For those homeowners staying at their first residence, AccuWeather warns:

“The late-week cold shot should fade next week, but this is a warning shot for winter's return late in the month and early February."

Given this, it’s time to go and stock up on winter weather supplies! However, if you’re tired of shoveling snow and dealing with the cold weather, maybe it’s time to consider obtaining a vacation home!

According to the Investment & Vacation Home Buyers 2018 Report by NAR:

72% of vacation property owners and 71% of investment property owners believe now is a good time to buy.”

It’s time to take advantage of the equity in your home. As the latest Equity Report from ATTOM Data Solutions stated:

“Nearly 14.5 million U.S. properties (are) equity rich — where the combined estimated amount of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value — up by more than 433,000 from a year ago to a new high as far back as data is available, Q4 2013.

The 14.5 million equity rich properties in Q3 2018 represented 25.7 percent of all properties with a mortgage.”

This means that over a quarter of Americans who have a mortgage would be able to use some of their home equity to make a significant down payment toward a vacation home, and many are doing just that! According to the same report by NAR:

“33% of vacation buyers purchased in a beach area, 21% purchased on a lakefront, and 15% purchased a vacation home in the country.”

Many homeowners who are close to retirement will use some of their equity to purchase vacation homes, which may eventually become their permanent homes post-retirement!

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity to buy a vacation home in Florida, let’s connect to discuss your options!


How a Change in Mortgage Rate Impacts Your Homebuying Budget

Mortgage rates are on the rise this year, but they’re still incredibly low compared to the historic average. However, anytime there’s a change in the mortgage rate, it affects what you can afford to borrow when you’re buying a home. 


What It Means To Be in a Sellers’ Market

If you’ve given even a casual thought to selling your house in the near future, this is the time to really think seriously about making a move. Here’s why this season is the ultimate sellers’ market and the optimal time to make sure your house is available for buyers who are looking for homes to purchase.


Buyer & Seller Perks in Today’s Housing Market

Right now, the housing market is full of outstanding opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Whether you’re thinking of buying your first home, moving up to a bigger one, or selling so you can downsize this spring, there are perks today that are powering big moves for people across the country. Here are the top two to keep on the radar this season.


How to Make a Winning Offer on a Home

Today’s homebuyers are faced with a strong sellers’ market, which means there are a lot of active buyers competing for a relatively low number of available homes. As a result, it’s essential to understand how to make a confident and competitive offer on your dream home. Here are five tips for success in this critical stage of the homebuying process...


Will the Housing Market Bloom This Spring?

Spring is almost here, and many are wondering what it will bring for the housing market. Even though the pandemic continues on, it’s certain to be very different from the spring we experienced at this time last year. Here’s what a few industry experts have to say about the housing market and how it will bloom this season.


6 Simple Graphs Proving This Is Nothing Like Last Time

Last March, many involved in the residential housing industry feared the market would be crushed under the pressure of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Instead, real estate had one of its best years ever. Home sales and prices were both up substantially over the year before. 2020 was so strong that many now fear the market’s exuberance mirrors that of the last housing boom and, as a result, we’re now headed for another crash.

However, there are many reasons this real estate market is nothing like 2008. Here are six visuals to show the dramatic differences.

1. Mortgage standards are nothing like they were back then.

During the housing bubble, it was difficult not to get a mortgage. Today, it’s tough to qualify. Recently, the Urban Institute released their latest Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI) which “measures the percentage of owner-occupied home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.

The index shows that lenders were comfortable taking on high levels of risk during the housing boom of 2004-2006. It also reveals that today, the HCAI is under 5 percent, which is the lowest it’s been since the introduction of the index. The report explains:

“Significant space remains to safely expand the credit box. If the current default risk was doubled across all channels, risk would still be well within the pre-crisis standard of 12.5 percent from 2001 to 2003 for the whole mortgage market.”

6 Simple Graphs Proving This Is Nothing Like Last Time

This is nothing like the last time.

2. Prices aren’t soaring out of control.

Below is a graph showing annual home price appreciation over the past four years compared to the four years leading up to the height of the housing bubble. Though price appreciation was quite strong last year, it’s nowhere near the rise in prices that preceded the crash.

6 Simple Graphs Proving This Is Nothing Like Last Time

There’s a stark difference between these two periods of time. Normal appreciation is 3.8%. So, while current appreciation is higher than the historic norm, it’s certainly not accelerating out of control as it did in the early 2000s.

This is nothing like the last time.

3. We don’t have a surplus of homes on the market. We have a shortage.

The months’ supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued appreciation. As the next graph shows, there were too many homes for sale in 2007, and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory, which is causing an acceleration in home values.

6 Simple Graphs Proving This Is Nothing Like Last Time

This is nothing like the last time.

4. New construction isn't making up the difference in inventory needed.

Some may think new construction is filling the void. However, if we compare today to right before the housing crash, we can see that an overabundance of newly built homes was a major challenge then, but isn’t now.

6 Simple Graphs Proving This Is Nothing Like Last Time

This is nothing like the last time.

5. Houses aren’t becoming too expensive to buy.

The affordability formula has three components: the price of the home, the wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time. Fifteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. Today, prices are still high. Wages, however, have increased, and the mortgage rate is about 3%. That means the average homeowner pays less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than they did back then. Here’s a chart showing that difference:

6 Simple Graphs Proving This Is Nothing Like Last Time

As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist for First Americanexplains:

“Lower mortgage interest rates and rising incomes correspond with higher house prices as home buyers can afford to borrow and buy more. If housing is appropriately valued, house-buying power should equal or outpace the median sale price of a home. Looking back at the bubble years, house prices exceeded house-buying power in 2006, but today house-buying power is nearly twice as high as the median sale price nationally.”

This is nothing like the last time.

6. People are equity rich, not tapped out.

In the run-up to the housing bubble, homeowners were using their homes as personal ATM machines. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up, and they learned their lesson in the process. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over 50% of homes in the country having greater than 50% equity – and owners have not been tapping into it like the last time. Here’s a table comparing the equity withdrawal over the last three years compared to 2005, 2006, and 2007. Homeowners have cashed out almost $500 billion dollars less than before:

6 Simple Graphs Proving This Is Nothing Like Last Time

During the crash, home values began to fall, and sellers found themselves in a negative equity situation (where the amount of the mortgage they owed was greater than the value of their home). Some decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a wave of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of other homes in the area. With the average home equity now standing at over $190,000, this won’t happen today.

This is nothing like the last time.

Bottom Line

If you’re concerned that we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, take a look at the charts and graphs above to help alleviate your fears.

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About Rhonda

Rhonda Walker, Real Estate Agent

Strategic Advanced Marketing, Clear Communication, and Experience you can trust.

Utilizing innovative technologies and marketing strategies Rhonda is raising the bar in the real estate industry by increasing the number of views your home receives from potential buyers.


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