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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Verry Interesting!



If you are old enough to remember Rowan & Martin's "Laugh In", you'll surely remember Arte Johnson's German Soldier character as he peered through bushes and chortled "Verry interesting!". I don't know that I am chortling, but I do think I just found some very interesting sales statistics for Key West real estate. Earlier this month I recapped the April 2009 sales figures. We have had a fairly remarkable sales week just in my office. And that got me to wondering what else is going on. This is what I found:

There are seven single family homes sales "pending" in Key West. A pending sale means that all conditions of the contract of sale have been met and that the parties are just waiting to close. Two of the seven pending contracts are for "bank owned" homes. Three of the seven pending contracts are for properties priced above $1,180,000. There are nine condo, town home, duplex, and multi-family homes under contract. Two of those are short sales and three are "bank owned" properties. We should see most of the pending contracts result in actual closings sometime in the next 30 to 45 days.

This next part is "verry interesting": there are 88 single family homes listed as contingent in our local mls database. Contingent means that some condition in the contract (such as financing, home inspection, or other condition precedent) has yet to occur. When all conditions have been cleared, the contract is then re-classified as pending. If the condition cannot be satisfied (buyer cannot obtain financing, for example), the contract may fail. Fifty-six (or 63%)of the 88 single family home contracts are designated as "short sales" and 8 (or 9%) of the contacts are for "bank owned" properties. And those numbers only reflect what the listing Realtors have committed to writing regarding the contracts. I have spoken with other Realtors that have told me properties shown as contingent are also short sales but are not designated that way in the mls database. The importance of this is that something in excess of 75% of the single family homes sales in Key West that are effectively designated as distress sales.

The news on condos, town homes, duplexes and multi-family is about the same. There are 100 such properties designated as contingent. Fifty-six of those (56%) are short sales and 8 (8%) are bank owned properties. Not all short sales actually close, but the lenders are speeding up the approval process. More importantly, the number of short sale and bank owned contracts is whittling away at the perceived "over supply" of property. When all the excess (most of which are low-end)properties are sold, the Key West real estate market may be headed back to a sense of equilibrium. I mentioned the three pending single family home sales above $1,180,000. That's because we haven't had many such sales. The market has been depressed and buyers have not been buying. They have been sitting on the sidelines. Waiting. Waiting for the prices to fall more and more. And they have. Fallen.

There are 425 active single family homes listed for sale in Key West (from Mile Marker One at Mallory Square to Shark Key). None of these houses are officially designated as "short sales". Two Hundred-two or 47.5% of the active listings are located in Old Town, The Meadows, Casa Marina, and Sunset Key. There are an additional 12 single family homes in the same areas that are designated as "short sales" in the mls database. They range in price between $299,000 to $1,998,000 with a price per square foot variance between $304 to $572.

There are 147 condos, townhomes, duplexes, and multi-family properties in the Key West area actively listed for sale plus and additional 28 officially designated "short sale". (Some Realtors do not designate their listings correctly, so I am reporting what they input into the database even though their listings may be in error.)

I sense that we may be nearing the end of the down market. We still have to sell off all the excess inventory of unsold houses and condos. But for buyers looking to purchase a dream home in Key West, there just are not a lot of dreamy houses available. People that do not need to sell are pretty much not listing their properties. Buyers are resisting the prices of nice houses and are waiting for prices to fall. By the end of August or early September we will see who wins the waiting game. Hurricane season is approaching. It will be interesting to see how many buyers will be heading this way to snap up a house this summer. Verry interesting.

If you have been waiting for the bottom of the market, maybe you will agree with me that we may be near the bottom. CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors mls database. If you see a property that you like, please consider working with me to help you find your place in Paradise. Please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com.

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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.