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Friday, February 22, 2008

Don't Say Cheap--Say Inexpensive

I have talked with several would-be buyers who think that the economic downturn has not hit bottom. They think prices will continue to fall and that they will be able to buy a second home in Key West at some future date for a lower price than is currently available. They may be right. But they could just as easily be wrong.

In an area where you have lots of similarly located, sized, aged, and comparable constructed homes I can understand how market events could cause prices on individual properties to fluctuate. And in locations that are dependent on one business or one industry, I can see where a downturn in a business segment (such as a plant closing) could dramatically effect prices across the board--not just in housing but in all segments of the local economy. But Key West is different from most parts of the American economy because of its particular location, the housing base, the tourist industry, and the significant military presence.

Some of the reasons people who visit Key West think about buying a second home here is the wonderful weather, the laid back lifestyle, the colorful locals, and the charming homes. There were stories on this morning's Today Show about the miserable weather in Michigan, snow in New York City, an earthquake in Nevada, and rioting in Europe. Our weather seldom changes and the front page of our paper, The Key West Citizen, usually deals local political news and human interest stories. We don't have riots or any serious crime as a rule. Our economy has taken a downturn because of the national emerging recession, but not all segments of the local economy are effected.

There are unique homes like the one I wrote about yesterday (409 William Street) that are very well priced by today's market and that I think will be deemed to have been a bargain just a few years from now. Some individuals who own numerous properties in Key West are hemmorhaging because they own too many properties that they have not been able to sell and have been forced to liquidate at below the now reduced fair market value. There are numerous properties in the foreclosure pipeline or that have been foreclosed that are now offered for sale at dramatically reduced asking prices.

Yet there is still a resistance by some buyers to buy because they think the markets will continue to decline. There are currently 17 condominium units at 1800 Atlantic listed for sale or less than 10% of the 172 units. They range in price from $398,000 to $1,698,000 (or $253 to $849 per sq ft) depending on location within the complex, extent of renovation, and the existence of transient rental license. There are several units that are in the process of foreclosure or that have been foreclosed. Those units have the lowest price points. A few weeks ago I wrote about ocean front and beautifully decorated unit at 1800 Atlantic that was being offered by the estate of the former owner at a very affordable price. It got snapped up immediately. I can understand hesitance or resistance at buying at the top end of a price range, but the units that are being offered as short sales or units that are bank owned are "buying opportunities". But that is just my opinion. CLICK HERE to checkout all current properties available at 1800 Atlantic. See for yourself whether there is a buying opportunity waiting for you.

Several of the properties that I have written about in the past couple of months have gone under contract and closed or are still awaiting closure. Most of the realtors I know are very busy right now showing properties and many are submitting offers. Many of those are There are opprotunites across the island in all price ranges and all types of properties. If you are seriously thinking about buying a property in Key West, it is time to get serious. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at for more information.

Of course I understand that not everyone believes in the future the same way I do. Some will just hang around waiting for prices to fall. Others may dream of buying a luxury land yacht so they can travel the country in style. But maybe a few will act now and buy into the dream of owning a place in Key West--maybe a unit at 1800 Atlantic.

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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.