Home ownership: Back to the basics
I hardly know where to start, I consider it my job, you might even say mission, to dispense as much information about the real estate market as possible. Up until two years ago, this was pretty easy and tons of fun. The real estate market was going full tilt,making history as the best time ever to buy and invest in real property. And, boy oh boy, did we buy – everything from second homes to pre-construction condos. Unfortunately, as we now know, the real estate market was not a solid brick structure, rather a house of twigs built literally on sand.
As it turns out, government, financial institutions, individuals and industry players seeing an opportunity to make outlandish amounts of money forgot that the American dream of home ownership was fundamentally about pride of ownership. It may be a long period of adjustment, but now is the time to get back to basics. The basics of sound financial responsibility for both buyers and lenders, and the basic concept that homes are for shelter, raising families and creating memories.
Ironically, in spite of current economic conditions, this place in time is one of the best to take the plunge into the real estate market. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac government takeover has already resulted in mortgage interest rates dipping below 6 percent, listing prices are down on virtually every resale across the country and the large number of properties for sale make it very inviting for the pickiest of buyers.
The opportunities are endless whether you’re looking for a second home, a retirement home, a larger home or your first home. The caveat, however, is unless you have a platinum credit rating, you may be boxed out of the market. The downside, or some would say the upside, of the credit crisis is that lending standards will be much more stringent.
Locally, Anna Maria Island is starting to show some modest signs of recovery. Since January through August of this year, the sales of single family homes are up in both numbers, 97 to 91, and median sale price, $625,000 to $550,000, compared to last year.
Condos also are up in numbers compared to last year, 60 to 53, but down in median sales price, $386,000 to $425,000. Multifamily properties are up in number of sales, 20 to 9, but down in median sale price, $390,000 to $425,000. The monthly sales for this year thus far are 22 per month and 19 per month for the same period in 2007. These statistics are provided by a local broker based on the Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service and does not reflect private sales outside of the Multiple Listing Service.
What do these numbers mean? Frankly, it’s too soon to wave the all clear flag, but certainly no one should be waving the white flag either. Only after the traditionally busy winter real estate season will we know which flag to drag out.
In spite of everything, I’m still passionate about real estate. I firmly believe home ownership is one of the great privileges of living in America, and a goal everyone should aspire to. Just because it was sold down the river by a bunch of greedy stock traders in $2,000 suits and inept bureaucrats doesn’t mean the concept is wrong. I guess I really did know where to start. Now let’s all move on to the real real estate.