The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 32 - April 29, 2009


Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Remember sitting in the backseat of your father’s Ford wood paneled station wagon, or if you’re a little younger, your mom’s BMW SUV and asking, "Are we there yet, are we there yet?" These days you may be asking the exact same question about the bottom of the real estate market, only this time it’s going to take a lot more than your parent’s little white lies to convince you.

The well known economist Mark Zandi has predicted the bottom of the stock market to have already happened during the first three months of 2009, and the bottom of the real estate market occurring at the end of 2009. Goodness knows we all want to believe this, just like we believed our parents when they told us we’re getting off at the next exit. But are we willing to take that leap of faith yet? In spite of or because of the dismal foreclosure news during the month of March, there are a lot of good reasons to believe in Mr. Zandi’s comments.

The March home sales report for the country as a whole was down, however, home sales for the Sarasota-Manatee market, as well as the state of Florida, were up in both number of sales and median sales price.

Also during the month of March, there was a huge increase in foreclosure filings compared to March of last year. Towards the end of last year, lenders enacted temporary moratoriums against foreclosure actions in order to allow the government’s program of loan modifications to take effect for those who qualified. Because of this, when they restarted their foreclosure actions during March, the lenders’ foreclosure action numbers increased.

The last time I logged on to, Manatee County showed 3,389 registered defaulted home loans and 230 scheduled auctions. By the way, is one of the more addictive Web sites around for real estate buyers, sellers and geeks. It only takes a couple of seconds to focus in on properties in your state, county or zip code sorted by a variety of criteria.

None other than Zandi agrees that we will see foreclosures surge through the summer, but what about after the summer? There are some real positive signs that our great real estate nightmare may be starting to wake us up. There are stories all over the media that lower end properties are being snapped off the market. Bay News 9 recently had a story about multiple offers being made on properties under $200,000 happening all over the Tampa Bay area.

Cape Coral, and Fort Myers that were once the third fastest growing metro area in the country became the foreclosure capital of America last year. Now properties are selling at insane prices – as low as $50,000 each to first time buyers and investors who are looking for something tangible to hold on to. And don’t forget that first time buyers, defined as buyers who have not purchased a primary residence during the past three years prior to the purchase, are eligible for an $8,000 tax credit for purchases during 2009 subject to specific limitations.

There are no myths in real estate only reality, and the reality right now is low prices, low interest rates, oversupply of properties, bank owned properties, short sales and tax credits. This is still Florida with an incredible coastline, where the sun shines more days than not, and so far, no one is dipping into your pockets for income tax.

So the next time you’re wondering if we are there yet, remember what your father said, It’s just around the corner.”

No white lie there.

Real Estate Transactions
Closed sales between Jan. 5 and 31, 2009

Anna Maria

425 Pine Ave.         Cmm’l          $615,000
154 Crescent          SF          380,000
267 Gladiolus          SF          350,000

Bradenton Beach

2307 Ave. C         Duplex          $505,000
2412 Ave. A          SF          350,000
1103 Gulf Dr. S.         SF         302,500
1801 Gulf Dr. N. #137          Condo         225,000
2601 Gulf Dr. N. #226         Mobile          83,300


4126 Osprey Harbour Loop         SF         $250,000

Holmes Beach

101 47th St.         SF          $1,500,000
106 36th St.         Condo          1,137,500
105 81st St.         Duplex         615,000
6826 Gulf Dr.         Condo         480,000
6301 Holmes Blvd. #A          Condo         410,000
5608 Gulf         Dr. #102          Condo 289,000
3016 Ave. E         Duplex         300,000
6300 Flotilla Dr. #73         Condo         159,000


Source: Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office

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