Anna Maria: The best of
all possible worlds
By Louise Bolger
SUN STAFF WRITER
Hurricanes, red tide, over inflated prices,
high taxes, rent to value ratios, $3 million condos, bubbles,
increased interest rates. Ive heard it all this month
and frankly I dont think any of the "experts"
know what the heck is going on, and thats as it should
World and especially local economies dance to their own drummer,
and its the rare economist that can predict accurately
how a specific region will perform. The west coast of Florida
certainly has challenges since were one of the top most
likely areas to be hit with a hurricane.
Add to the formula this years epidemic of red tide,
off the chart appreciation rates and higher mortgage interest,
and it sure looks like were headed for financial ruin.
Well, I for one dont buy it. The red tide wont
be here forever, the beaches are still some of the best in
the country, the hundreds of miles of boatable shoreline hasnt
gone anywhere and the state of Florida is still your best
bet for keeping tax burden to a minimum. And if youre
worried about hurricanes, be thankful you dont live
in northern California at least we get five days notice.
In addition, if we were in a different point in history, I
might concede that we have the potential of a serious downturn.
But, in my opinion, Florida has a better defense against real
estate deflating than many other parts of the country. Baby
boomers, who start turning 60 in 2006, with their jingling
pockets and the desire to get away from the stress of living
in northern cities, will keep our market afloat for years
Every day Florida has hundreds of new residents, twice a week
I read a story about another farm or orchard being sold for
millions to a developer for a new residential subdivision.
What we should really be worrying about is not a downturn
in real estate values, but rather an upturn in population
flooding our roads.
And if you dont believe me, just look around at the
construction on the Island. Somebody knows something. Big
time developers with resources must have done extensive demographic
studies because they are offering all kinds of money to buy
out older waterfront condos in Sarasota to make way for new
Residents of some of these older condos are being offered
upwards of $1 million for their one bedroom one bath units,
just so the land can be turned into $3 to 4 million condo
units. The key issue here is all real estate is local, dont
include Florida in the broad stroke of a countrywide downturn,
even if you think that may happen.
So its time for everyone to take a deep breath (maybe
not this week), and dont turn all this doom and gloom
into a self-fulfilling prophecy. And to my northern friends
and relatives, sorry, Anna Marias million dollar condos
will never drop back to $100,000. I dont care what you
read in the papers you all missed the market.