Anna Maria in the limelight – again
It’s the classic be careful what you wish for narrative. Anna Maria Island homeowners wished for a better real estate market. Anna Maria hotel and restaurant owners wished for more tourist business. And Anna Maria Island shop owners wished they didn’t have to take a summer vacation. At this point in time, pretty much everyone got what they wished for.
The Island has been unusually busy with both property sales and tourists all summer. Much of this activity has been fueled by all of the national magazine and newspaper articles written during the past couple years about Anna Maria and its Old Florida vibe. Now, however, Anna Maria has made the big time, and we can only guess what will happen next.
On Labor Day HGTV aired an episode of its wildly popular show “House Hunters” filmed on Anna Maria. “House Hunters,” for those of you who may have made the trip to Mars with Curiosity, takes viewers along for the adventure of looking for a new home. This predictable, yet strangely addictive show, features potential home buyers touring three properties in their desired area. Since I have to admit “House Hunters” is one of my own guilty addictions, I couldn’t wait for this episode to air when I first learned about it a few months ago.
I certainly wasn’t disappointed with the house tour featuring a nice young couple with a toddler being shown Anna Maria properties by one of Anna Maria’s prominent real estate professionals. The broker was proficient in pointing out the assets and even some of the negatives of the homes. When one the buyers objected to cinder block construction, she tactfully pointed out that cinder block suited our Florida climate.
She also managed to educate the buyer about local building codes, the value of our rental market and the important fact that the market is on an upswing with inventories coming down. Basically a crash course in buyer 101 that all good real estate professionals should do only boiled down to typical TV sound bites.
The price range this couple was looking in was approximately $500,000, a number that during the past couple of years could get you a lot of house, but things sure have changed. The broker wasn’t kidding when she said the market is on an upswing, and inventories are low. In this couple’s price range the homes available were either two or three bedrooms without a lot of square feet, some with decent renovations some without any. None had any real water views to speak of, but beach access was available. Even though all of the homes were perfectly acceptable for a family with one child, none of them could be considered grand.
Someone watching this show in middle America would undoubtedly be thinking, “I thought real estate in the whole state of Florida was either underwater or depressed.” Well, not anymore, and obviously not on Anna Maria Island. The fact that this show was filmed after our traditional busy selling season only further proves the strength of our market going forward. Are you listening middle America?
So did we get what we wished for? It may still take some time before we really know. The way things are going, and with the Pine Avenue development getting better every month, we may have to build the great wall of AMI to keep the barbarians from the gates.