The Internet has made it possible for ordinary people any place in the world to get all kinds of real time information on real estate listings in Key West. The Key West Association of Realtors has made public access to mls listings available to all for free with no strings attached and no requirement that you provide your email or personal information to any Realtor.
I mention the free access because so many people that come to look for homes have their three ring binders filled with listing sheets and property appraiser records and tax records (also available to the public). Buyers sometimes seem to know more about the listings than the listing Realtors because they have memorized (or at least documented) the details of each property they see. (Some of these buyers must have been honor society students in high school.) I digress.
I think some real estate search engines may extract raw data from the Key West Association of Realtors website or the websites of either the Monroe County Clerk or the Monroe County Appraiser and interpolate that data into something that could be misleading or false. All of a sudden nonsensical "data" can get transformed into real estate gospel. One buyer (with notebook in hand) recently showed me a list of "comparable sales" to a property he wast interested in purchasing. These comp sales were generated by Trulia. I looked at the Trulia generated printout: the sales were not comparable. My buyer wanted to purchase an inexpensive single family home in Old Town. I looked through the list of comparable sales. I was familiar with most by address. As I recall most of the "comps" were not comparable at all. But one in particular stood out. I knew it quite well because I sold it. It was an vacant lot in Casa Marina that sold for $500,000 cash this past summer. Trulia got it wrong: it incorrectly classified the property as single family residential which it was not. Trulia erred in the location. It was only by a mile off.
There were 20 single family homes in Key West in November 2009. Eight of those sales were bank owned homes and three were short sales. There were two notable houses that sold in November. The house at 723 Washington Street in Casa Marina area sold for $1.6 million or $650 per sq ft. The house at 631 Southard Street sold for $1,895,000 or $708 per sq ft. I wrote about that house right after it was listed. The buyer that got that bought 631 Southard Street got a hell of a good deal. In my opinion that house will appreciate significantly in value once the market finishes its correction.
By comparison there were 11 single family homes sales in November 2007. In November 2008 there were 7 single family home sales and 4 of those bank owned properties and 2 were short sales.
November 2009 saw 16 condo and town home sales. Six of the units were bank owned properties and only one was shown as a short sale. Most of the units that did sell are lower priced primary residences and most are located on the eastern end of the island. One Shipyard unit sold for $449,000. A first floor unit at Harbour Place sold in November 2009 for $1,175,000. Shipyard and Harbour Place are both located in Truman Annex.
There were 8 condos and town homes that sold in November 2008. Four of those were bank owned and one was shown as a short sale. The records show there were 8 condos and town homes that sold in November 2007. Four of those were "pre-solds" at Beachside. One condo at a totally different location became a subsequent short sale in 2009. A condo in an Old Town location sold for $926,900 in November 2008 and is back on the market and offered at $749,000. But that unit is not listed as a short sale. Do the math on that one. I did not make a typo.
The number of sales in November 2009 is clearly ahead of the past two years. The area of highest demand is still Old Town and the supply of single family homes in Old Town priced under one million is really small. The same can be said for Casa Marina. There is a large inventory of single family homes priced at $1.8 million or higher. I think there are a lot of houses priced in the $1.15 to $1.3 million range that are ripe for picking by a buyer with cash that can close quickly. The deal of the decade (906 Johnson Street) is under contract. That buyer is the luckiest and smartest buyer in Key West.
If you are looking to purchase your dream home in Key West, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or contact me by email at email@example.com. Use the Internet to help search for your new place in Paradise. But use a good realtor to help you make a good buying decision.