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Monday, April 23, 2007

Season is Over. How did the Market Do?

Season is over. How did the real estate market do in Key West this year as compared to 2004, 2005, and 2006?

I did a quick search of SOLD homes, condos, duplexes, and 3-4 units from Key West through Shark Key priced over $200,000 from January 1st thru April 22, 2007. There were a total of 122 such sales. The least expensive sale was a studio condo listed for $239K and sold for $220K. The average sale was a 3-bedroom home with 1425 sq ft listed for $954,991 and that sold for $888,826. The most expensive sale was a Sunset Key home listed for $6.5 million that sold for $5.8 million.

In 2005 there were only 95 sales during the same time period. The least expensive condo sold for $287,000. The average sale was a 3 bedroom, 1706 sq ft listed at $775,000 and sold for $729,000. The most expensive home was an Old Town home on Southard Street that was listed for $5.9 million and sold for $5.5 million.

But 2005 had more sales that 2006 and 2007 combined. There were a total of 244 sales in the same time period. The least expensive sale was a condo listed for $324,900 that sold for $320,000. The average sale was a 3 bedroom 1411 sq ft listed at $982,502 and that sold for $948,271. The most expensive home was listed at $4.5 million and sold for $4.3 million.

But there is good news to go along with the above numbers for 2007. There are a total of 64 contingent or pending contracts. The least expensive is a condo listed for $250K, the average is a 3 bedroom 1550 sq ft home listed at $998,381, and the most expensive homes average $5.1 million.

I am fond of saying that statistics lie and liars use statistics. There is no doubt that the statistics I cited show that the market has taken a dramatic downturn from 2005. But 2007 average sales price appears to outshine the 2006 time period. There are currently 1160 units on the market with the least expensive listed at $239,000, the average listed for $1.090,501, and the most expensive averaged at $6.250 million. That’s a lot of inventory.

The hardest part of the market to sell is the mid range priced home. And if you go back through Key West real estate sales to 1997 you will see that the mid range priced home has always been the most difficult priced property to sell. Back then the affordable fixer-uppers in Old Town sold around $250-280K. Homes over a million sold quite easily. But the majority of homes in the $500-800K range languished. Those homes are now just priced a lot higher. And I think the pessimism or skepticism about the lack of sales is failing to recognize this fact. Doomsayers are comparing the "boom market" sales of 2003 thru 2005 to today, and they are seeing dome and gloom.

My suggestion: if you are a seller and don’t need to sell now: Don’t list your property. If you must sell now, price it correctly. If you are a buyer, now is the time to buy. The market may not have totally bottomed, but good properties will get purchased before the dregs. Get the right property at a price you feel comfortable with.

Look at it this way: Macy’s is having a clearance sale on Prada shoes originally priced at $500. The sizes vary, and the prices will drop hourly until the entire collection is sold out. Would you prefer to get your exact size for $300 or hope to wait and get it at $250 or $225? You might get it at the cheaper price. But someone else may get the last pair at $300, and you go home shoeless. I think my analogy translates across the board to what is happening in the Key West real estate market today.

If you are interested in buying one of the Key West bargains CLICK HERE to do your own search of all real estate for sale. And then give me a call at 1-305-766-2642. I would be glad to help you find your next home or business in Paradise.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.