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Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 That Was the Year That Was in Key West Real Estate

Each year I like to look back to see what was sold and select what I think were the outstanding sales for our little island paradise. Most of my customers are buyers.  Most of my buyers are folks from up north in America who are seeking either a getaway place or a potential retirement home. As a result I have been inside a lot of the houses that were sold in the past year and have a pretty good sense of what constitutes a good price, a good location, or just a really good all around value.
I wrote about 1435 Flagler Avenue a few months back. This home was typical of many places in Key West that had been occupied by locals for multiple years. The home needed updated and had some issues but overall it was a solid home in quality area.  It had once beautiful yard and pool that will be brought back.  I liked this place a lot. 
9 Gerome Avenue sold for $465,000. It is located on a walking lane near the Chevron gas station on Truman Avenue. It was a mix of an historic house that had been updated years ago but was also a place that would benefit from a new update. If this house had been located on an easier location to get to and if it had parking, it would have sold closer to a million dollars. And for the buyer who wants to be away from everything, the added value just may be the isolation.
I showed 1116 Varela Street on many occasions and had even more phone and email conversations with potential buyers. While the house pictured above may not look like much, the value with this property was the enormous lot not visible from the street nor the ability to add a pool and re-build an existing out building at the rear. This place sold for $475,000.
1518 Rose Street is a mid-century three bedroom, two bath home with a pool located in the mid-town area of Key West. It needed some updating but it was a solidly built home with a large pool and nice private yard. Buyers looking for homes now will probably have to pay more money to get something not as large or as nice and probably not get a pool.
1717 South Street presented a big challenge to the bank that owned this very large and once magnificent house. The 1900 sq ft home also had a guest cottage, pool, and sat on an 8531 sq ft lot. The place sat vacant and not maintained for several years. There was both water intrusion and termite damage that scared a lot of potential buyers. The people I showed the house to were overwhelmed by the amount of work that was required to fix up the place or the prospect of tearing down and building a new house on a glorious lot. I would have gone of the tear down and rebuild route myself. This place sold at $460,000.  Big Bargain despite the cost to renovate or rebuild. The lot by itself was worth more than the sales price.
1107 Southard Street is located amid some of the nicest and most expensive homes in Old Town. The place as a family homestead for generations. The place will require extensive repairs and renovation but will be worth perhaps 150% more than the price paid to purchase this fixer - $492,000.
237 Golf Club Drive was my listing and sold in just two weeks on the market for $744,000. The house had been thoroughly updated and offered more interior and protected outdoor living space than any other house when listed and sat a much larger lot than any other home in the Sanctuary.  I have sold dozens of homes at the Key West Golf Club and consider the community to be one of the very best values in Key West.
The picture perfect cottage at 628 Frances Street sold at a huge discount to asking price - just $675,000. I wrote about the place in my blog a couple of times and showed it several.times. When the sold price got published, potential buyers told me they would have paid that amount. They just did not expect the seller would be willing to sell that low. This is a lesson a lot of people learn in Key West. Sellers and their agents should list houses at realistic asking prices and buyers should not be afraid to make offers at price points they believe more reflective or real market value irrespective of the asking price. 
The mid-century modern at 1611 Seminary Street received a clever renovation that totally transformed the old house into functional 21st century home with open living spaces. This home sold for $865,000. 
25 Sea Lore Lane was another bank owned property that lingered on the market for quite awhile. The 3,023 sq ft house sat on a 14,688 sq ft lot with great open water views. The house was built in 1994 but seemed a bit dated as the kitchen and bathrooms were typical of construction materials used then which is three decades ago.  This place sold for just $940,000. This was a bargain!
I have sold a couple of homes in the Key West Writer's Compound over the years including the former home of John Hersey. This year a two story cottage at 715 Windsor Lane Rear came onto the market and went under contract within days of being listed. It sold for $900,000 and was worth more. It was adorable. None of these homes have off street parking which pose a challenge for a lot of potential buyers who fear separation anxiety over not being able so know there car is outside the window like a puppy. And some people don't like the idea of sharing a pool. This is about the best walking location and one of the quietest places in Old Town. 
915 Washington Street is an adorable little cottage located on one of the best blocks in the Casa Marina Area. It sold at $1,095,000 in one day on the market. I wrote about it in my blog and sent emails to various potential buyers and talked to a couple of buyers on the phone. I understand when people located a thousand miles away may reticent about committing to spending $500,000 or a million dollars for a house on a sight un-seen basis.  However, I have sold houses for more than that where the buyers did not see the house until inspection. This is one house where a buyer could tell from the photos and good old GOOGLE MAPS what a great location this house enjoyed.

527 Margaret Street appeared in my blog a couple of times over the past few years including when the original beat down house still existed.  The old house was taken down to the front frame and totally rebuilt and then stylishly outfitted by a noted interior decorator. The new "old" house sold in a flash for $1,460,000.
1104 South Street also appeared in my blog a couple of times. This is another magical Casa Marina Area home. Local architect Matthew Stratton transformed the prior master bedroom into the new living room and re-purposed a legal apartment over the double garage into the new master quite. This stunning home sold for $1,800,000.
744 Windsor Lane was purchased by my buyer for $3,675,000. This was the highest priced home sold in Old Town this year. This is the fifth home this buyer has purchased from me. As of today there are 34 homes for sale in Key West offered at $1,800,000 or higher. And there are many priced under the $1.8 price point. I am a buyers agent and I would love to work assist anyone reading my blog in finding their perfect place in Paradise.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Gary! And happy anniversary too! I just realized your blog turned 10 on Dec 30th. Thank you for 10 great years of bringing Key West real estate to all of us buyers, sellers and dreamers.

Anonymous said...

Gary congratulations on 10 years. Do you have any thoughts on the number of sales in 2016? It appears the 2016 Old Town sales volume will come in about 30% less than the 2014 peak.

Anonymous said...

My opinion is either this sales season is successful and buyers start to pay the prices seller are asking or everyone loses. Buyers won't get the house they want. Sellers won't sell the house. Agents will start to move to places where they can actually sell real estate. Anyone who follows Gary's blog religiously as I should easily see how much less his "the year that was" included. It's always been my favorite blog of the year. This one was just OK. Not Gary's fault at all. Simply not a whole lot of great deals to blog about.

Gary Thomas said...

Der Readers. The Anonymous reader just above hit upon the reason I have not been writing as many blogs as I used to: I a depressed about the market. Really depressed. There is such a lack of houses in the lower price range for buyers to look at. It seems like every new listing is in the $2 to $3 million dollar range. As of last Friday there were 34 houses listed priced at $1.8 million or more. I don't know where all those buyers are supposed to come from. I will soon be listing a new one of those high priced houses. Maybe I will be listing a couple. They will be worth it, but I guess all the others may be worth the asking price as well. If they are worth the asking price, this little town is going to change more than it already had because it will become a town of elites and a town of worker bees. And that will be our loss.

The city is money0-grubbing. They keep raising rates on parking and other services that we all use. Instead of using the TDC income to reduce fees to locals and to provide better services to locals, they build new buildings and buy more equipment.

And thanks for reminding me that my blog is now ten years old. I often get phone calls from people who just read a blog about some house that I wrote about several years ago when prices were much lower. They get upset that the blog is still out there and can't buy a house for the price offered back then. We are living in the present and we are planning for the future. I don't want prices to go backward,I just wish that more houses were more affordable for the bases of people who still want to buy their place in Paradise.



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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.