The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 8 - November 24, 2010


Down under real estate

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and at first blush, you may not think there’s much to be thankful for regarding Florida’s real estate market, but it would be a mistake not to take another look. I was recently in New Zealand and Australia and compared to their real estate market, we’re looking pretty good, not to mention their unusual real estate culture.

To start with, the price of real estate all over New Zealand, which is comprised of a north and south island, as well as New South Wales, Australia, the state where the city of Sydney is located, is priced in the stratosphere. In every city and town I visited, I picked up either a local newspaper or real estate book and was hard pressed to find a sale or property listed for under $500,000.

New Zealand is very beautiful with incredible waterfront and mountain water views, but a property where you could even smell the water started over two million. The New Zealand dollar is currently about 17 percent less than the U.S. dollar so even adjusting for the exchange rate you’re looking at some serious numbers.

Sydney and its suburbs, where the Australian dollar is on par with the U.S. dollar, was even worse. Homes and condos in Sydney proper were very expensive, usually starting in the million dollar range, and an average three bedroom two bath house in a suburb of Sydney started about $500,000.

Property taxes are a little more affordable than Florida ranging between $1,500 to $2,500 annually but usually only 20-year mortgages are offered, which, of course, increases monthly carrying costs. However, the real kicker that impacts Australian real estate is when you sell it, at which time the federal government imposes an 8 percent sales tax stamp on the sale price of the property paid by the seller. With prices and fees like these, it’s naturally very hard for first time buyers to get into the marketplace resulting in most young people renting.

The other interesting thing about real estate in New Zealand and Australia is the method of sale. Most properties are sold at auction, which they call private treaty, rather than a system like ours. Both the newspapers and real estate magazines list available properties with pictures, descriptions of the properties broker information, viewing dates, auction dates and usually reserve dollar values. Sometimes you have to call the broker for this reserve number, which is the least amount a seller will accept.

Interestingly, on one of my last days in Sydney, there was a newspaper expose about brokers who were quoting below reserve sale prices to potential buyers in order to increase the number of bidders attending the auction. Naturally, this is illegal and brokers could face fines of up to $22,000.

One last point – the real estate books were very large – about the size of Life magazine for those of you who remember it. But what I found especially charming were the adorable little graphics on the ads indicating the number of bedrooms (graphic of a bed), baths (graphic of a shower), living areas (graphic of a sofa), office space (graphic of a computer monitor) plus a few I couldn’t figure out. Unique marketing that definitely caught my attention.

It’s good to be home back in the real estate environment I’m comfortable with where waterfront can still be purchased for under a million, and auctions are a last resort. But I wouldn’t mind seeing a few jumping dolphins indicating waterfront property or a sunset for Gulffront property on some ads. So maybe there is something to learn from our friends down under after all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Real Estate Transactions
Closed sales between Aug. 2 and Oct. 9, 2010

Anna Maria

721 North Shore Single family $1,100,000
512 Bayview Place Single family 800,000
216 Palm Ave. Single family 699,000
104 Maple Ave. Single family 667,500
309 S. Bay Blvd. Single family 425,000
780 Jacaranda Rd. Duplex 357,500
216 Archer Way Single family 332,500
204 Archer Way Single family 300,000
333 Tarpon St. Lot 300,000

Bradenton Beach

500 Bay Dr. S. Single family $965,200
2317 Ave. C #300 Condo 315,000
1325 Gulf Drive N. #165Condo 300,000
1325 Gulf Drive N. #166Condo 300,000
1325 Gulf Drive N. #164Condo 285,000
1325 Gulf Drive N. #161Condo 285,000
1325 Gulf Drive N. #264Condo 280,500
501 Gulf Drive N. #103Condo 240,000
1325 Gulf Drive N. #163Condo 239,800
501 Gulf Drive N. #305Condo 227,000
2211 Ave. C Single family 220,000
2311 Canasta Drive Single family 165,000
2412 Gulf Drive. N. #125Condo 160,000
2412 Gulf Drive N. #224Condo 155,000
2412 Gulf Drive N. #225Condo 155,000
1603 Gulf Drive N. #18Condo 150,000
1603 Gulf Drive N. #19Condo 150,000
117 Seventh St. N. #9 Condo 150,000
1603 Gulf Drive N. #33Condo 109,000
107 Sixth St. S. Single family 100,000
2503 Gulf Drive N. #302Condo 100,000
1603 Gulf Drive N. #34Condo 70,000


12909 42nd Terr. W. Single family $1,025,000
11900 Cortez Rd. W. RV resort
#10, #17, #28, #45 Multi-units 619,700
4224 Marina Ct. Condo 525,000
3860 Mariners Way #413Condo 274,900
12329 Baypointe Terr. Lot 140,000

Holmes Beach

528 72nd St. Single family $1,450,000
3212 Gulf Drive Single family 1,300,000
616 Hampshire Lane Single family 775,000
3009 Ave. F Duplex 763,500
403 80th St. Condo 595,000
203 76th St. Condo 584,500
525 74th St. Single family 550,000
612 North Point Drive Single family 525,000
303 61st St. #A Condo 510,000
209 69st St. Duplex 480,000
6200 Flotilla Drive #273 Condo 480,000
227 85th St. Single family 440,000
517 70th St. Single family 416,500
203 82 St. Condo 400,000
519 77th St. Single family 400,000
405 N. Harbor Drive Single family 400,000
614 Concord Lane Single family 399,900
506 74 St. Single family 390,000
405 74 St. Condo 375,000
3706 Gulf Drive. Single family 370,000
6250 Holmes Blvd. #70 Condo 355,000
6200 Flotilla Drive #274 Condo 365,000
322 64 St. Condo 350,000
207 55 St. Single family 305,000
4104 6 Ave. Condo 285,200
609 Emerald Lane Single family 285,000
2903 Ave. B Duplex 278,000
3703 5 Ave. #3 Condo 270,000
309 58 St. Duplex 270,000
3207 6 Ave. Single family 260,000
3803 East Bay Drive #2 Condo 260,000
6919 Holmes Blvd. Half duplex 250,000
2805 Gulf Drive Single family 249,000
3702 Sixth Ave. #4 Condo 230,000
504 Key Royale Drive Single family 223,000
2705 Ave. C Single family 200,900
2710 Ave. C Single family 160,000

Source: Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office

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