April was a very good month as far as sales activity.  Island Real Estate put 18 properties under contract in the month of April and the activity continues into May.  There hasn’t been a day that I haven’t showed property to prospective clients and as of this writing we have 5 properties under contract in May.  The total number of properties currently under contract on the island is 46 (SF-23, Con-19 & Dup-4).  As you can see from the Y-T-D sales below we are behind last year but April 2008 sales were unusually high (48% of the whole April 2008 Y-T-D sales).  With pending sales so high I believe we will make up the difference in the next couple months.   Being so early in the year the average and median sale prices are skewed by any high or low end sales.  At this point in the year a better measurement of where we are in average and median sale prices are the last twelve month numbers.  They show the prices holding about the same compared to the end of the year numbers as you can see from the charts below.  It looks like prices have bottomed and we’re bumping along the bottom.

Our market is not the same as the mainland market because of the fixed supply on the island.  As a matter of fact there is a comfortable pace of new construction and remodeling going on all over the island.  As I mentioned we’re seeing an increase in buyers because they are starting to see the great values now available and along with interest rates at under $5%, for conforming loans, the time to buy is now.

Inventory took a significant drop to 598 (SF-302, Con-206, Dup-43, Lot-47) which is another good sign for the island market.  The norm for inventory is in the mid to high 400’s.  The number of short sales, foreclosures and bank owned properties on the island are also decreasing and are currently down to 23 (SF-5, Con-15, Dup-1) under 4% of the inventory versus the mainland market still at 24%.

Since my last newsletter one of Frank & Al’s Great Buys went under contract.  One of the Palm Isle Village units was put under contract last month.  In addition, there is a lot of activity on the 8 units that are left.  These units are the lowest cost of ownership on the island.  These are ideal second homes especially for you Florida residents who are within and hour or two of the island.  Take a look at the May list of Frank & Al’s Great Buys and call us with questions or more information on those properties.  The two unit condo at 200 & 202 38th Street is begging for a contract.  These are Million dollar units priced at 25% below their current (within the last month) bank appraised value and 45% below their cost to build.  They have great gulf views and are constructed well above current hurricane standards.

Speaking of hurricanes, at this time of year I like to provide you with an updated N.O.A.A. Hurricane Landfalls in the US chart.  I’m including the 1950 to 2008 updated chart and also, this year, I’m including the 1899 to 1996 (category 3 or above) US Hurricane Landfall chart.  N.O.A.A. didn’t have one from 1899 to 2008 so even thought they overlap I thought you’d be interested in how few hurricane make a landfall on the west coast of Florida.  You can see that especially around Tampa Bay we have been hurricane landfall free.  If you’re going to live anywhere on the coast of the US from Mexico to New England there the west coast of Florida is as safe as anywhere.

Rental revenue for Island Real Estate properties is up significantly over last year.  This year’s revenue through April is up 25% over last year and the booked reservations for the rest of the year is up 25% over the same time last year.  We continue to see many new first time visitors to the island and many of these looking for and buying property.  As a matter of fact the buyer for the Palm Isle Village property was a first time visitor to the island.  They saw the USA Today article about the island and decided to see if it was as good as it sounded.  Obviously they must have because they bought their first time here.