There' s nobody to blame but ourselves
Want to know why the traffic on Gulf Drive is bumper to bumper in the middle of the afternoon or why everyone is saying there are more people here than ever before? Chances are it’s your fault, even though you may not know it.
I was having a chat with my publisher recently lamenting about how busy I am this time of year, with more and more friends and family coming down during the very compressed winter season. I started ticking off everyone that originally came to visit and now keeps returning year after year. In fact, I said I can’t think of anyone that I introduced to Anna Maria Island that has never come back. Like all good publishers, she said that could be your next column, so I started making a list.
And what a list it is adding up to more than 30 individuals who have moved either full time or part time, rent seasonally, rent for vacation or just make good use of my guest room. This does not include other people that have spun off from the original 30 that I take full credit for.
And all of this activity occurred from just one couple who introduced my husband and me to the area. You do the math – the numbers are overwhelming if you multiply those by everyone like me over a 15 year period, which gets back to the bumper to bumper traffic in the middle of the day.
There’s no doubt the real estate market is feeling the effects of all of this visitor activity. The number of sales on and off the Island, as well as the rest of the country, has drastically improved during the last year, as stated in last week’s column. We’re starting to see appreciation rates go up and inventory go down.
What was once a seasonal real estate market is pointing towards being busy year 'round as the first tier of baby boomers finally starts thinking about retirement or at least getting ready for retirement.
After years of not being able to sell their homes in the Midwest and Northeast, boomers are now able to sell their homes in order to downsize or relocate or both. A combination of cash in their pockets and historically low interest rates is motivating them to get off the fence they’ve been hanging out on for so long.
This is all great news for Anna Maria, whether it results in full time or part time buyers or seasonal renters. Some homeowners who have been unsuccessfully trying to sell for the past several years are now being presented with multiple offers, and many whose mortgages were higher than the home’s value are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The single most important thing to a healthy real estate market is activity. We are finally starting to see the most activity in 6 years breathing life into what was once a deflated market.
The next time your speedometer is registering 5 miles an hour going around the curve by Manatee Beach, don’t get upset at the Michigan plate in front or the Connecticut plate behind, just blame yourself. Come to think of it, it’s probably all my fault anyway. Maybe I should change my phone number.