Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Home sales up in first quarter, though prices stuck in 2004

Well, so that you can see it's not JUST me going on and on about the real estate market in the Keys and what great buying opportunities exist here, I am posting an article that was in this morning commenting on this very subject.
Inventory is high, very high, prices have plummeted, and cash is still cheap, so for those well qualified and astute Buyers, there are wonderful gems out there for the picking!

"Home sales up in first quarter, though prices stuck in 2004.
By ROBERT SILK Free Press Staff
MONROE COUNTY -- Real estate sales in the Keys were up in the first quarter of 2009, though prices continued to plummet.
A total of 278 properties were sold between Key West and mile marker 107 in Key Largo during the months of January though March, according to a Multiple Listing Service analysis prepared by Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Co. That's a 4 percent increase over the same period last year.
The first quarter increase is the first since 2004.
Though more properties were moving, the overall news remains bad for sellers. Prices declined 22 percent between the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same months this year. The average closing price of $494,000 per property is roughly at a par with early 2004, the Coldwell Banker analysis says. And though the total number of properties on the market has gone down a bit, there's still a 48-month inventory.
"The first quarter of 2009 is behind us and the results are bringing continuing good news for buyers and sobering news for sellers, at least for the balance of the year," Coldwell, Banker broker Brian Schmitt wrote in a synopsis of the current market.
The Coldwell Banker numbers differ somewhat from a second MLS analysis run by Tracy Larson of American Caribbean Real Estate and Marr Properties, which showed that 301 properties were sold Keyswide during the first quarter of the year. That search included the Ocean Reef Club and other properties north of mile marker 107.
But the main discrepancy between the two analyses was in the Lower Keys between Bay Point and Big Pine Key. There the Coldwell Banker analysis captured 57 sales while the American Caribbean analysis captured 75 sales.
The analyses also having varying sales prices figures. MLS statistics in the second report show an average Keyswide sales price of $464,000 per property, 6 percent lower than the Coldwell Banker report.
The MLS database does not include the sale of properties that weren't listed with a Realtor.
The Upper Keys fared worse than other areas of the archipelago in the first quarter, with both the number of sales and the average sales price plunging 19 percent year over year, according to the Coldwell Banker analyses.
In Key West prices dropped an even more robust 30 percent, but the low prices brought a boon to sales, which increased 27 percent.
Sales also increased in the Lower Keys, though they went down in the Middle Keys.
One possible reason the Upper Keys has yet to begin attracting more buyers is that prices remain higher than elsewhere in the county.
Of the 63 Upper Keys residences sold from January through March, the average closing price was $545,000, the American Caribbean analyses shows. In contrast, average sales prices in the Middle Keys, Lower Keys and Key West were between $478,000 and $484,000.
In a memo to sales associates, Schmitt of Coldwell Banker predicted that in the coming year low interest rates combined with low prices will continue to prop up sales. But he also predicted that high inventories and an increasing number of short and foreclosure sales will force prices down at a rate of 1 to 1 ¬½ percent for the rest of 2009.
"The problem for sellers is that this is a buyers market and buyers will continue to drive prices lower until the inventory is depleted from its present levels," Schmitt wrote."

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