Happy real estate Thanksgiving?
It’s the old be careful what you wish for scenario. We’re devastated when things go wrong, especially if it involves a loss of finances, and when things start to turn around, we’re worried that our lifestyle is changing.
To say that Anna Maria Island has changed especially during the last three to four years could very well be the understatement of the decade. Some people are happy with the changes and others not so much. Recently yet another “best” places report came out. Last month Conde Nast Traveler magazine picked Anna Maria Island as the 26th best island in the world out of 30, yep you read that right – the world. It’s important to note that Anna Maria was the only island in the Conde Nast survey in the state of Florida.
The top rated island in the world was Palawan in the Philippines with a readers' rating of 88.7; Anna Maria’s rating was 81.4. We’re also in really good company with Kiawah Island, S. C. and four islands in Hawaii also on the list, as well as Bermuda, two islands in Greece and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.
We all know that since 2010, Anna Maria tourism has been promoted bringing more and more people to the Island. In addition, the financial downturn also kept many Southern families looking for a beach vacation within an easy drive from Georgia and northern and eastern regions of Florida. Recently we learned that Manatee County is being targeted for tourism from Scandinavia. Part of this promotion is to attract sports teams to IMG in Bradenton, but much of the targeting is really to attract beach visitors from upscale countries. Even the Sarasota/Bradenton Airport is campaigning for charter flights from Scandinavia.
So now we’re faced with the results of be careful what you wish for. After the financial crisis, we all wished for a better housing market and more visitors, and boy did we get both. The Manatee Association of Realtors historic sales data show the following: In July of 2006, the median sale price for all three cities on the island was $790,000; this was the top of the market. The following year, the median dropped to $475,000 and went progressively down until it hit the bottom of $294,000 in July of 2013. The July 2014 median sale price was $520,000 and August 2014 it was $585,000.
Interesting numbers, which certainly show a hearty comeback, however, much of what has driven the real estate market are investors who are taking advantage of the influx of visitors by creating a vigorous short term rental market. Not only has this change in the culture of the Island pushed full time residents off the Island, but it has also created all of the chaos we’re now seeing in governing oversized rental properties and associated traffic in all three cities.
The day I sat down to write this column Minto Homes the builder of Harbour Isle on Perico Island announced the purchase of 35 acres on Perico. Minto’s intention is to build several new 12 story multifamily residences as part of the Harbour Isle development, in addition to a marina, restaurant and retail space. Think about the beach traffic when this community is totally built out.
So here we are. Our little piece of paradise has been discovered. The challenge now is to find a way to manage the great success we have found and still keep the small and special island vibe that brought everyone here to begin with. Be careful what you wish for, be thankful with what you have and be hopeful that the future will bring it all together. Happy Thanksgiving.