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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Laughing in (Key West) Florida

If you are among the many freezing up north right now and are dreaming of someday owning a place in Key West, please consider the following. I did a quick analysis of the November 2010 single family home sales in Key West and compared those numbers to 2008 and 2009.

November 2010 - 15 total sales
Bank 1
Short Sale 2
Market 12
5 in Old Town with the lowest $435,000 for a fixer and the highest $1,475,000 in Truman Annex
Average Old Town price per sq ft $441

CLICK HERE to see what sold in November 2010.

November 2009 - 22 total sales
Bank 8
Short Sale 4
Market 10
Average Old Town price per sq ft $509

CLICK HERE to see what sold in November 2009

November 2008 - 6 total sales
Bank 2
Short Sale 3
Market 1
Average Old Town price per sq ft $765 (only one sale but good location)

CLICK HERE to see what sold in 2008

I have often said that statistics lie and liars use statistics. Politicians lie every day. Dogs lie in the middle of the floor. I am sure someone will see the fewer number of sales in 2010 from 2009 as an omen of doom and gloom. But 2010 is double the sales of 2008. The price per sq ft in Old Town in 2008 (with just one sale) and 2009 (with 5 sales) is higher than 2010 in Old Town. Go back and look at the two higher end houses that sold in 2009: one was at 1108 Fleming and the other at 631 Southard. Both are great locations. The Fleming Street property is a poster child for Key West charm and the Southard Street house was an incredible buy at $1,800,000. My point is that you can use the numbers to prove any thesis. The numbers for 2010 are better than 2008 on number of sales but not a price per foot basis. However, there was only one sale in 2008. There were an equal number of sales in 2009 and 2010 but 2009 was higher on a price per sq ft basis.

I checked the Monroe County public records to see what is happening in the world of foreclosures. I only compared foreclosures for the Key West to Stock Island because the rest of Monroe County is too far to drive and not areas where my buyers typically look. And I don't think what goes on in Key Largo has anything more to do with me than what goes on in Havana. Both are about the same number of miles away from Key West.

There were 4 new bank owned properties in all of Key West in November (plus one week at the Galleon Resort which I do not count). During the same time 11 new lis pendens were filed in my target area plus one for another unit at the Galleon Resort. (Why do people buy timeshares? I have never understood that.) A lis pendens is the document lenders file the with Clerk of the Court (county clerk in most locations) that tells the world the lender is taking legal action that is adverse to the owner and that usually means a foreclosure lawsuit has been filed. I acknowledge that a few national lenders have stepped back from filing new foreclosures so I am not sure if the current small number of new lis pendens filings means other foreclosures will be filed en mass once the moratorium is lifted. Time will tell on that. (I don't believe there are that many new foreclosures being withheld, however.)

I then checked the Clerk's records to see how many Key West properties became bank owned in 2009. The answer was 10 in Key West plus 19 more timeshares. Again, I don't count timeshares as they are evidence of too many cocktails and poor judgment.

Since foreclosures take so long to actually occur, it looks to me like the foreclosures in 2010 are down significantly from 2009. This follows the trend that I previously have written about.

If the politicians in Washington would stop playing politics and start to do the peoples' business, we could get things moving more expeditiously than they are. The good news nationally is that the economy is starting to recover and some businesses are starting to hire. Once people get being over being afraid of the future and embrace it, money will start to flow.

It happens every January - forever

I believe prices today are at the low point. I think we will see our real estate market move up significantly in January. The snowbirds will soon be here and they will be looking for deals and they will buy. It happens every January. In the past 33 days 5 Old Town houses priced over $1,000,000 each went under contract. One of those is priced over $2.8 million. It went under contract yesterday. The average price per sq ft on the 5 houses is $652. When those houses sell (close) other buyers in the market are going to feel a lot better about buying now that others have made the decision that it is okay to buy in Key West.

If you are looking for a place in Key West, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or email at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. Our office is the Exclusive Lower Florida Keys affiliate of Christie's Great Estates. CLICK HERE to checkout the real Key West Association of Realtors mls database. If you see a place you like, please contact me. I left Colorado 17 years ago to get out of the cold. I love living in Paradise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this ongoing monthly year-over-year analysis!


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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.