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Friday, June 3, 2011

Care for a Double Dip?

Care for a Double Dip?


The AM political discussion today is the prognosis for a double-dip recession. The talking heads on morning TV do what they do best - they pontificate and the agitate. Republicans blame the Democrats and the Democrats blame the Republicans. And it seems to me that nobody does anything productive. The second most talked about issue on this date (and yesterday) is Congressman Anthony Weiner's alleged weiner picture. A close runner-up is Sarah Palin's upstaging of Mitt Romney in New Hampshire.

I will bet you that the discussion of a new potential dip in the economy will scare the beejeezus out of many potential buyers of real estate across the country. Too many people (myself included) get most of their information on what is happening from TV. I assume many watch or listen to networks or individuals that mimic their political philosophy and probably do not look for alternative discussions in other media. Networks and talking heads repeat the topic of the day (sometimes for days on end) and beat the topic into the psyche of any viewer or listener. That discussion becomes the basis for a current belief of what is actually going on. This belief may be true. But it could equally be just a theory that got repeated so many times that people believe it to be fact.

I am lucky enough to be working with some potential buyers who have not yet made the move to actually offer to purchase a property in Key West. Several have questioned "timing" and expressed concern about what will happen in the future. I understand that. Nobody wants to buy in a declining market and pay too much today what might be purchased in the future for less money.

I have written before and most likely will write again that what happens elsewhere in the United States does not necessarily happen here in Key West. While there me more and more new foreclosures being filed up north, the fact is that there are fewer new filings in Key West this year compared to last year.

There were 79 new bank owned properties in all of Monroe County between April 16, 201o to May 16, 2010. Only 18 were located in Key West and one of those was a weekly timeshare. During that same time period lenders filed a total of 93 new Lis Pendens (the legal document that gives notice to the world that a new foreclosure has been filed against a specific property). Just 25 of those Lis Pendens were for houses located in Key West.

During the 2011 April 16 to May 16 time period the number of new bank owned properties in all of Monroe County decreased to 21 and only 6 in Key West. New Lis Pendens filings for all of Monroe County also dropped to 47 with only 18 for properties located in Key West (with one timeshare included). Those numbers signify to me that the local real estate market has improved over the same time last year. The inventory of new bank owned properties has decreased and that should me bank owned properties will be less of a drag on the rest of the real estate market. The number of new Lis Pendens is less than before, but the new filings suggest that the market still has not recovered overall.

Several of the new Lis Pendens and new bank owned properties are for properties located at the Key West Golf Club and Las Salinas. Sales at the golf course have picked up over sales from two years ago but that has caused some sellers to maintain higher asking prices than they perhaps should. Presently there is a large inventory of unsold units at the golf course. If sellers really want to sell houses there, they need to meet the market. I have never shown a unit at Las Salinas and won't. I wouldn't want a buyer of mine to buy there.

Back in the hot summer days in the 1950s my dad would drive us over to the Dolly Madison to get double dip ice cream cones. I would always get two different flavors for just ten cents a cone. Nobody feared double dips back then.

CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors mls database. If you are looking to buy a place in Key West please think of working with me, Gary Thomas. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Contact me at 305-766-2642 or by email at kw1101v@aol. Don't listen to the talking heads. There job is to pontificate and agitate. Think for yourself.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Glade we took your advice Gary.Life is too short to not enjoy KW if that is your plan. The economy be dammed, you can not take it with you. And if you are going to be homeless what better olace than KW.
Ed

Anonymous said...

Wanna be Key Westers...we watched the real estate market here for a few years before we finally bought (closed on our new condo in old town a few months ago).

While nobody can predict the future - it's highly unlikely for the $300k condo in old town to sink to $150k or the $700k home with a pool in Casa Marina to sink to $350k.

Market timing is a Bitc# - who knows. However, if you look at the trends and think about the aging demographic of baby boomers looking for a great place to retire...our little 3x5 island is a good bet.

Gary speaks the truth.

Anonymous said...

Look at most realtors in the US and they will tell you - we haven't hit bottom yet. Not to say you didn't get a deal - to your thinking. However, you may never know the deal you would have had if you had waited the market. It is only money but think of what you could have saved and made had you waited.

Real estate is just at the tip of the fall - just wait till you see next year and if a hurricane hits, yipes!

Anonymous said...

realtor broker dolly lenz of nyc is biggest and most successful in the US and gives reviews and opinions to CNN, MSNBC, FOX and the WSJ along with the NYTimes

She says now is not the time to buy real estate as the market has not seen bottom

She says we have yet to see the prices start to fall with all the shadow inventory and short sales around and banks sitting on inventory about to dump.

Now is not the time to buy and this from THE MOST SUCCESSFUL in the US who says FLORIDA HAS NOT SEEN BOTTOM YET AND THAT INCLUDES THE FLORIDA KEYS!!!!

You jumped the gun but then a fool and their money.......

Gary Thomas said...

Obvioulsy Gary Thomas who lives and works in Key West does not know as much about what is going on in Key West as Ms. Dolly Lenz who sells real estate in NEW YORK CITY. She makes millions and Gary makes much, much less. Therefore, what she says must be true and what Gary says must be false.

The thing is I don't even go up the Keys to try to sell real estate. I don't understand properties outside of Key West. There are different rules and lots of government intervention in insuring and policing real estate. I usually do a referal if I get a buyer who wants something past the golf course or Shark Key.
When I make the referral, I tell the prospective buyer exactly why I can't represent them: I don't know the area. I stick to what I know. I tell them I would be incompetent to help them in something so important.

I certainly would not offer to comment upon, let alone contemplate, real estate in NEW YORK CITY. I do confess to watching the TV show on HGTV Selling New York.

Gary

Anonymous said...

Hi Gary. I hope you are wrong about Las Salinas. I am looking at a one bedroom condo there for a very reasonable price. It is nothing fancy but it allows me to be able to afford a second/vacation home in Key West. Not everyone can afford a condo starting at $250-$300,000 with high association fees and insurances.

Bill

Anonymous said...

Too many rentals and lots of short sales at Las Salinas. We refer to the complex as dumpy and it is not a prime location for most buyers. Beware- it has low income Ocean Walk apts right next door and that is the tenament slums section 8 low income rentals here aka 'the projects' . Bad indeed! Keep your car doors locked and please excuse the overflowing dumpster and pet urine smells as they are horrible at Ocean Walk so I hope your condo faces away from them. Every person I know who rented at Las Salinas left after their lease was up - they took a chance and didn't know better but they learned a good lesson.

Anonymous said...

Las Salinas is not prime vacation rental property. Most are long term rentals or owner occupied. Way far from Old Town and Duval Street--about 3 miles more or less. A hike to Smathers beach so be prepared to cross mega traffic on South Roosevelt to get to the water. Locals call Smathers beach 'Stinky Beach' for obvious reasons-- low tide makes for the most putrid sulfur odors that could knock an elephant down in his tracks. Plus riff-raff laden Ocean Walk is not the most desirable neighbor. Condo fees have gone up there lately to pay for so many delinquent homeowners / deferred building maintenamce.

Not a sound investment in Key West. Buy in Old Town or save your $$$ till you can afford a better location in KW.

Signed a native Conch.

Anonymous said...

If buying a condo at LaSalinas for a vacation home, seeing the horrible comments above, what is the likely hood of getting my money back if I decide to sell down the road?

Anonymous said...

Lots of rental units can make it a difficult proposition for mant lenders as they do not like to see a high percentage of units not owner occupied. Las Salinas has had a high amount of bank owned, short sales, etc. it is not in the most desired location--it is a condominium and has a small pool as its only ammenity. It is a concrete, cross- shaped building with small balconies facing its parking lot ( some units have covered parking ) and not much lush landscaping. It backs up to a hotel and us behind Seaside which are newer and nicer townhomes. It is more 'apartment' than 'condo' in design--the same builder built these units and its next door neighbor Ocean Walk apartments. Condo units here are affordable -- rents are cheaper as a whole so your neighbors will be the local worker bees sharing with room mates due to their affordability. Condo sales are not always easy but Las Salinas is older and many units need to be updated from their 1980's decor. With over 200 units here you can be assured that all these factors will present many hurdles to overcome should yiu decide to sell.

I have a friend who bought her unit in early 1990s for 124,000. Three bedrooms and two bath unit and should have listed it in 2006 when she could have got $550,000. Now she woul be lucky to get half that. So after 20 years she might get 80K after the real estate commission and I am not including the 15-20K in upgrades she made in 2005. Plus she has covered parking and pays over 400 a month in cindo fees, paid a special assessment when the roof was replaced in 2008 and lost her two vehicles in the flood surge of Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

I would not recommend buying here unless you plan to hold it for a long time and not a quick turn around. There are better incmvestments here and Las Salinas is not a place you would want as a second home in Key West. It is NOT a second home vacation building.

Anonymous said...

Just remember location is not Las Salinas. No one buys a unit here for a vacation home. They do buy it to use as a long term rental unit for all the bartenders, waiters, housekeepers and construction workers on the island. Legal or undocumented workers, they rack 'em and stack 'em here--- get as many into a unit as possible. Party all night long on your balcony ! Hey even the military looking for community housing doesn't like to rent here or Ocean Walk or West Isle or Santa Clara.

When you think Las Salinas, think a well established trailer park dressed up in concrete and tile.

Now do you have a better understanding?
Signed a native Conch

Anonymous said...

Dolly Madison and NYC real estate have nothing to do with KW. I would also argue that KW is not necessarily Florida. To compare Old Town to Gainesville or Orlando would be like comparing Manhattan to the finger lakes. Just becuase they are in the same state - doesn't make their values co-dependent.

Again, if you are looking at striking on real estate in KW...look at the trends. You will see a downward line from 2006/2007 to 2009/2010 and see it flatten out. While any econmoic boom or recesssion will never be a completely straight line, the 2009/2010/2011 line resembles a bottom, particularly if you look at the number of bank owned properties and short sales from 2-3 years ago versus now. The numbers don't lie.

And, as a wise person has told me...the nice, well-priced properties are in KW are moving. What is not moving is the junk...problem is, there are less nice properties on the market now then there were 3 years ago. Take your chances and wait if you like, but rest assured, Dolly Madison's crystal ball ain't gonna be as accurate as you think...nobody's will be!

Anonymous said...

And Las Salinas is not moving. Therefore, it is junk in your analogy.

A very well respected Broker on the island told me that the statistics don't lie. NOTHING is moving in Key West UNLESS YOU ARE A CASH BUYER! Nice, well priced properties with the right location will always sell. However, even this real estate Broker said to me DON'T BE FOOLED - WE ARE IN THE MARKET TO MAKE EVERYTHING SEEM ROSY AND PERFECT! TRUTH - IT AIN'T HAPPENING HERE!

My two cents. And I have lived here for many, many years. Seen the ups and downs. Seen it all.

Don't buy cheap. Don't by bottom. Buy what will be a good investment for you and your future.

We are still seeing prices drop.

Signed
a native Conch

Anonymous said...

here are the actual STATISTICS from Las Salinas...Listings as of 06/09/11 at 9:48am Page 1

4 ACTIVE lISTINGS $249,000., $249,000., $259,000., $299,000.
2 SHORT SALE ACTIVE LISTINGS. $189,829., $239,000.
12 SOLD LISTINGS From $135,000 to $270,000. with a Median Sale price of $180,500
5 LISTINGS UNDER CONTRACT.

Gary Thomas said...

There is no dispute that cash moves big deals. But there are lots and lots of new mortgages being made at very affordable interest rates.

Don't let nameless conchs or respected (but un-named brokers) or New York uber-brokers dissuade you from buying a good property in Key West. There are still good properties left to buy, but there are not as many now as there were a couple of years ago. The inventory on nice houses has shrunk. The inventory on nice cheap houses is next to nil.

There is, however, an abundance of opinions.

Gary

Anonymous said...

It is all in how you perceive the deal. If you think you are getting a great property for the price, buy it. To you it may be the best price possible. To someone else it is overpriced.

Real Estate is they type of business where everyone has an opinion. An objective. A horse in the race.

If I want your opinion, I ask. If I am curious, I pursue. Otherwise, stay out of my affairs. It's my money and I'll spend it anyway and anywhere I want.

And that is why Key West is so real. We all know the score. We all know who to believe and who to laugh at. And we do it all day long.

Anonymous said...

It is all in how you perceive the deal. If you think you are getting a great property for the price, buy it. To you it may be the best price possible. To someone else it is overpriced.

Real Estate is they type of business where everyone has an opinion. An objective. A horse in the race.

If I want your opinion, I ask. If I am curious, I pursue. Otherwise, stay out of my affairs. It's my money and I'll spend it anyway and anywhere I want.

And that is why Key West is so real. We all know the score. We all know who to believe and who to laugh at. And we do it all day long.

Anonymous said...

To statistics person - just how far back are those sold properties?

Just because you can see the PUBLIC access side of the MLS doesn't mean you know anything. You are only seeing what you are able to see.

The PRIVATE MLS for REALTORS isn't for you to see. You are restricted from its access. Therefore, your so called statistics are meaningless. Useless. Pointless.

Just like your post. So? What does it prove? Las Salinas is STILL a VERY BAD INVESTMENT!

Buy in Old Town for a vacation home or save til you can afford your dream of Key West.

Simple.
Even for you.

Anonymous said...

To statistics person - just how far back are those sold properties?

Just because you can see the PUBLIC access side of the MLS doesn't mean you know anything. You are only seeing what you are able to see.

The PRIVATE MLS for REALTORS isn't for you to see. You are restricted from its access. Therefore, your so called statistics are meaningless. Useless. Pointless.

Just like your post. So? What does it prove? Las Salinas is STILL a VERY BAD INVESTMENT!

Buy in Old Town for a vacation home or save til you can afford your dream of Key West.

Simple.
Even for you.

Las Salinas Property Owners said...

We have read the negative blogs that have been posted about Las Salinas. First and foremost, it saddens us that professionals in the real estate market have not checked out their facts. Las Salinas has not increased its maintenance fees since 2007, our reserves are fully funded, and Ocean Walk has not accepted Section 8 low income rentals for some time. While some may feel the city is negligent in maintaining its “stinky beach”, here at Las Salinas we only experience the ocean breezes. We are not a vacation rental property. Rather, we are a community comprised of resident owners, second home owners, and tenants that include elected officials, city workers, teachers, business professionals, tradesmen and service employees. We challenge any real estate agent to tour our property and see for themselves the improvements that have been made over the last two years. We have additional improvements planned, again without increasing owner fees. We are proud of our property and will continue our efforts to make Las Salinas an affordable, better community in which to live.

Las Salinas Property Owners

P.S. This will be our only response to this blog. If you are uncertain or have questions, please feel free to stop by and see for yourselves.

Gary Thomas said...

I received the below email. For some reason it did not post to the blog:

"
We have read the negative blogs that have been posted about Las Salinas. First and foremost, it saddens us that professionals in the real estate market have not checked out their facts. Las Salinas has not increased its maintenance fees since 2007, our reserves are fully funded, and Ocean Walk has not accepted Section 8 low income rentals for some time. While some may feel the city is negligent in maintaining its “stinky beach”, here at Las Salinas we only experience the ocean breezes. We are not a vacation rental property. Rather, we are a community comprised of resident owners, second home owners, and tenants that include elected officials, city workers, teachers, business professionals, tradesmen and service employees. We challenge any real estate agent to tour our property and see for themselves the improvements that have been made over the last two years. We have additional improvements planned, again without increasing owner fees. We are proud of our property and will continue our efforts to make Las Salinas an affordable, better community in which to live.

Las Salinas Property Owners

P.S. This will be our only response to this blog. If you are uncertain or have questions, please feel free to stop by and see for yourselves.



Posted by Las Salinas Property Owners to Key West Properties at June 10, 2011 9:13 AM "

Gary

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The information on this site is for discussion purposes only. Under no circumstances does this information constitute a recommendation to buy or sell securities, assets, real estate, or otherwise. Information has not been verified, is not guaranteed, and is subject to change.

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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.