Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you and we hope your Holidays are full of happiness and joy.

As we approach the end of another year the Anna Maria Island Real Estate Market continues to improve for 2009. Sales for November 2009 were up again a healthy 30% (SF-9, Con-8, Dup-1 & Lot-1 = 19) over November 2008 sales (SF-8, Con-4, Dup-1 & Lot-2 = 15). Sales have been consistently strong the past seven months and for the first time this year sales for 2009 (205) are ahead of 2008 (202). Pended properties (properties currently under contract) also continue to be very strong at 61 (SF-34, Con-22, Dup-4 & Lot-1). Of those 61 pended properties 39 of them are scheduled to close in December. If only half of them close by year end we will definitely beat 2008 sales by a healthy number.

Distressed properties (short sales, foreclosed & bank owned) continue to be below 10% at 40 (SF-13, Con-25, Dup-1 & Lot-1) the majority of them condo’s and most of them short sales and most of them less than $500K. The inventory remains about the same from last month with it currently at 502 (SF-242,Con-186, Dup-40 & Lot-34). It broke 500 earlier this month and got down to 498. The good news is that the inventory trend is down and the sales trend id upwards.

Financing for single family and multifamily properties is relatively easy with 20% down and good credit and the rates are still at an all time low. I’m seeing current 30 year conforming fixed rates at around $5.37%. Appraisers doing appraisals for banks, until recently, stated the island market as a declining market,- that has changed. The island market isn’t designated in appraisals as a declining market anymore. This, along with the numbers we are seeing, points to a rising market. For those of you currently looking for financing HUD is requiring all financial institutions to provide a new Good Faith Estimate (GFE). The new GFE is 3 pages long instead of the old one page GFE. It will include the loan origination charges (the charge for getting the loan), all other settlement services (appraisal, credit report, home inspection…etc) and all the other things you are used to seeing on a GFE such as loan amount, interest rate & monthly principal & interest. What’s new about this new GFE is not only the form but that the HUD-1 (settlement statement) at closing must match the original GFE within the allowed tolerances (some charges can’t change and others can vary by 10%). If there is a change or variance above the tolerance allowed then the lender must reimburse the buyer/borrower for the excess at closing or within 30 days. These new rules will apply to all mortgages beginning in January1, 2010 but some banks are already beginning to use them. Ask your lender to explain them in detail.

Some newsletter readers are paying attention to Frank and Al’s Great Buys. Since last month’s newsletter a client made a cash offer on 211 69th St (a duplex) and closed on it a few days ago. This great duplex, remodeled, close to the beach with two garages sold for $445,000. The new property in this month’s great buys is a single family charming bungalow in the north end of Bradenton Beach. It’s a ground level, cutely remodeled, 3 bedroom 1.5 bath which is currently being used as a rental. It’s one block to Bay sunrises and three very short blocks to the beach and listed at a great price. Check out the virtual tour.

Rentals is closing the year very strong. Island Real Estate rentals are up about 20% for 2009 and there are strong bookings into 2010. Since we have implemented a quality assurance program the ratings we are getting from our guests satisfaction surveys have improved dramatically. Happy guests mean return guests and return guests mean higher occupancy for our owners.

To summarize, the island market sales continue to build and we will close 2009 with about a 10% increase in sales over 2008. Sales are trending up and inventory is in the normal range and trending down and I think the island market is on a solid base to show some appreciation by the end of 2010.