Mid-Year Market Update for 2024: What Florida Keys Buyers and Sellers Need to Know

by Karen Williams-deCastro- Broker Associate®, C2EX, RSPS, GRI, SRS, ABR, SFR, AHWD, CELA, CREN

Last December, when the Federal Reserve projected a series of benchmark rate cuts in the coming year, some analysts speculated that mortgage rates—which had recently peaked near 8%—would fall closer to 6% by mid-2024.1,2,3 Unfortunately, persistent inflation has delayed the central bank’s timeline and kept the average 30-year mortgage rate hovering around 7% so far this year.2

While elevated mortgage rates have continued to dampen the pace of home sales and affordability, there have been some positive developments for frustrated homebuyers. Nationwide, the…

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by Karen Williams-deCastro- Broker Associate®, C2EX, RSPS, GRI, SRS, ABR, SFR, AHWD, CELA, CREN


The peak moving season is upon us. In fact, according to Move.com, almost 70% of U.S. moves occur between May and September.1 And while the percentage of Americans who move each year has declined, the desire to relocate remains strong.2,3 

In fact, Architectural Digest recently declared “Americans are restless” after a survey found that 55% of adults “are moving, plan to move, or want to move” in 2024. The top reasons included: increased affordability; desire for safety; and closer proximity to work, family, or friends.3

If you’re one of those millions of Americans yearning for a change, this guide is for you. 

Sure, moving can feel…

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by Karen Williams-deCastro- Broker Associate®, C2EX, RSPS, GRI, SRS, ABR, SFR, AHWD, CELA, CREN

From wildfires to floods, the past few years have brought a historic number of devastating climate and weather events to the United States. In 2023 alone, there were 28 individual weather-related disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damages each.1 

These events triggered a huge influx of home insurance claims, and analysts expect the increase in both catastrophes and claims to continue. Adding to the problem, construction labor and supply costs have risen, making it more expensive to repair affected homes. Consequently, home insurance rates have surged: In 2024, Bankrate reports, premiums are already up an average of 23%, following…

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by Karen Williams-deCastro- Broker Associate®, C2EX, RSPS, GRI, SRS, ABR, SFR, AHWD, CELA, CREN

When you've lived somewhere for many years, it can be tough to say goodbye. But if you (or a loved one) currently have a home that is bigger than necessary or is too high maintenance, it may be time to trade unused square footage for a smaller, more manageable space.

Take it from the downsizers who’ve been there: Although living small might require some adjustments, it can also be liberating––especially if you're in a stage of life where past responsibilities have given way to new possibilities and adventures.

In fact, many downsizers report feeling invigorated by the change, according to real estate journalist and author Sheri Koones. “It…

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by Karen Williams-deCastro- Broker Associate®, C2EX, RSPS, GRI, SRS, ABR, SFR, AHWD, CELA, CREN

One of the best parts of owning a home is the freedom to make it truly your own with design choices that reflect your personality and lifestyle. Whether you lean toward contemporary design or a farmhouse aesthetic, your home is your canvas.

Even so, it’s always smart to think about the long-term impact those decisions might have on your home’s value. Choosing over-personalized or unpopular materials and finishes could make your home less appealing to future buyers. And selecting out-of-style or overly-trendy elements could cause your home to feel dated quickly.

To help inspire your design choices, we’ve rounded up some of the top trends…

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by Karen Williams-deCastro- Broker Associate®, C2EX, RSPS, GRI, SRS, ABR, SFR, AHWD, CELA, CREN

A growing share of home buyers and sellers sat on the sidelines last year as the pace of home sales continued its downward trajectory.1 In fact, since the Federal Reserve began its series of interest rate hikes in 2022, the combination of higher borrowing costs and record-high home prices has fostered the steepest real estate market slowdown since the 2008 recession.2

Priced out of the market, a generation of would-be buyers has been forced to delay their plans for homeownership.3  At the same time, current owners—reluctant to give up their pandemic-era mortgage rates—are waiting to sell, which has resulted in a sharp drop in…

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by Karen Williams-deCastro- Broker Associate®, C2EX, RSPS, GRI, SRS, ABR, SFR, AHWD, CELA, CREN

It's the most wonderful time of the year. But for many families with festive plans and hectic schedules, it's also the most wasteful.

According to one survey, for example, 60% of respondents admitted to throwing away more than usual during the holiday months as they filled up their trash bins with uneaten food, wrapping paper, gift bags, and commercial packaging.1

The reality is, Americans routinely toss about 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than at any other time of year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.2 In fact, we throw away so much ribbon during the holidays—around 38,000 miles’ worth—that the…

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Buying a new home is one of the most exciting experiences in life. And if you’re like most homebuyers, you’ll be planning your furniture placement and decor before the ink dries on your offer letter. But before you run to the nearest home goods store, take a deep breath. First, you’ll need to delay any major purchases before you close on your new home. A large outlay or additional line of credit could lower your credit score and, thus, impact your mortgage terms.1 Second, moving and closing costs can add up quickly, so it’s important to be strategic with your remaining budget. But don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to save on home essentials, and we’ve rounded up some of our favorites to share…

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by Karen Williams-deCastro- Realtor®, C2EX, RSPS, GRI, SRS, ABR, SFR, AHWD

My husband and I recently bought a multi unit here in the Florida Keys. If the prospect of putting your money into tangible assets, such as brick and mortar properties or even some creatively adorned siding, ignites your enthusiasm, you're not alone. 

Real estate investment has consistently ranked as one of the preferred wealth-building methods for Americans. According to Census data, individual investors, not corporations, own more than 70% of single-family rental properties in the country. [1]

Furthermore, Bankrate surveys spanning a decade reveal that Americans have historically favored real estate for long-term wealth accumulation over other investment options. The…

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by Karen Williams-deCastro- Realtor®, C2EX, RSPS, GRI, SRS, ABR, SFR, AHWD


Not long ago, home sellers were in their heyday, as historically-low mortgage rates triggered a real estate buying frenzy. However, the Federal Reserve shut down the party when it began raising interest rates last year.1  

Now, it’s not as simple to sell a home. While pandemic-era homebuyers were racing the clock—trying to lock in a low mortgage rate and gain a foothold in the market—current buyers are more discerning. Higher prices and mortgage rates have pushed their limits of affordability, leading them to prioritize cost, condition, and overall value.2

The reality is, home inventory remains low, so most properties will still sell with some basic prep, the…

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