The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 29 - April 20, 2011


Like politics, all real estate is local

The late Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill, is famous for saying all politics is local, meaning it doesn't matter what happens in Seattle if you live in Florida. The real estate culture has since adopted this philosophy and applied it to real estate, which, in our world, means it doesn't matter what happens in Cape Coral if you live on Anna Maria.

During a recent trip to Key West a relative of mine from New York who works in finance e-mailed me a CNN Money report titled "Nearly 20 Percent of Florida Homes are Vacant." The news piece was accompanied by his editorial comments indicating he knew it was bad but he didn't think it was that bad. Before I had a chance to carefully read the article, I answered him back not to believe everything he reads and that all real estate is local, asked him how deep the snow was in New York and then went straight back to my glass of Pinot Grigio.

When I finally found the time to do a careful read of the article, I was as horrified as my financial wiz in New York. Even I started thinking am I missing something? There aren't too many vacant properties around here; in fact I would be hard pressed to tell you where one is.

Nevertheless, CNN Money outlined the following facts:

The Census Bureau reported that 18 percent or 1.6 million of Florida's homes are sitting vacant, more than a 63 percent increase during the past 10 years.

The home vacancy rate is worse in Florida than in any of the other bubble real estate markets. California has only 8 percent vacant; Nevada has 18 percent even though they have the highest foreclosure rate in the country, and Arizona an 18 percent vacancy rate.

Also reported by the Census Bureau is that the population of Florida has slowed in the second half of the last decade to 5.7 percent which could further negatively impact the vacancy rates. However, Florida's growth overall was 18 percent starting in 2000.

The housing analysts are taking this information and predicting that the Florida housing market will take years to recover, some areas as much as 20 years. Celia Chen, a housing market analyst for Moody's, is also saying that prices in Florida will fall further and not hit bottom until mid-2012.

Well here's where we get back to the all real estate is local theory. As depressing as these numbers sound, and, make no mistake, Florida real estate has a lot of challenges, Manatee County and specifically Anna Maria Island are experiencing a very healthy sales market. The Bradenton-Sarasota sales rates during February rose for both single family homes to almost 20 percent and condo sales increased 26 percent over February of last year, and despite what the CNN report said, sales in the entire state rose in February outpacing the nation.

The story here is that first time buyers are getting in the market benefitting from a combination of low interest rates and low prices, and investors are also starting to see opportunities believing that the market is nearing the bottom.

When we asked our friends how they liked Key West, they said it was really nice and they were glad they saw it, but Anna Maria was really a lot nicer. Based on the traffic on the Island this season, they're not the only ones who feel that way. All real estate is local, you better believe it, just ask anyone on the beach if you can get over the bridge.

Real Estate Transactions
Real Estate Transfers from Jan. 1 to 31, 2011
Sponsored by Alan Galletto Island Real Estate

Sold Date | List Price | Sold Price | Address | Provision | Property Style

Anna Maria

01/21/2011 329,000 310,000 612 North Bay Blvd None SF Res
01/25/2011 1,474,000 1,050,000 103 SeaGrape Ln None SF Res

Bradenton Beach

01/31/2011 179,900 152,500 611 Gulf N Dr # D23 None Condo Res
01/14/2011 299,000 280,000 244 17th St N # 25 None Condo Res


01/27/2011 169,000 150,000 4227 126th W St None SF Res
01/24/2011 749,000 722,000 12519 Safe Harbor Dr None SF Res
01/21/2011 736,800 728,800 12310 BayPointe Ter Reo/Bank Own SF Res

Holmes Beach

01/18/2011 244,700 222,000 3402 Sixth Ave # 3 None Condo Res
01/21/2011 275,000 250,000 6400 Flotilla Dr # 11 Short Sale Condo Res
01/28/2011 349,000 310,000 6200 Flotilla Dr # 293 None Condo Res
01/20/2011 334,900 304,000 6313 Gulf Dr None Condo/TH Res
01/12/2011 699,900 500,000 5808 Gulf Dr # 109 N None Condo Res
01/05/2011 475,000 425,000 526 70th St None SF Res
01/21/2011 498,900 475,000 213 70th St None SF Res
01/14/2011 575,000 570,000 206 55th St None SF Res
01/28/2011 619,000 580,000 309 68th St None SF Res
01/14/2011 1,999,000 1,775,000 717 Key Royale Dr None SF Res
01/31/2011 359,000 345,000 307 63rd St None Duplex Inc
01/21/2011 1,000,050 1,000,050 534 70th St Cash Vacant Land


Source: Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office

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