February 2010 Newsletter

Well we just got the numbers for sales in January and 2010 looks to be starting off about even with 2009 with 14 properties sold in January (SF-8, Con-5, Dup-0 & Lot-1) compared to 15 (SF-9, Con-4, Dup-2 & Lot-0) last year. Of course one month’s data doesn’t tell us much but there are some other indicators that point to a strong 2010. First, pending properties continue to be strong with 62 (SF-33, Con-18, Dup-6 & Lot-5) properties under contract. For the last 6 months pended properties have been in the 30’s and 40’s with the last three months being in the 50’s and 60’s. Another healthy indicator is the number of properties Island Real Estate has put under contract the last several months (Nov-9, Dec-9, Jan-12) and we have 9 already for February. To put that in prospective last year 224 properties were sold on the island (just under 19 per month on average) and we account for 20-25% of the island sales. You can see that bodes well for stronger sales in 2010 than 2009.

Inventory for this month has bumped up a little to 532 (SF-264, Con-188, Dup-39 & Lot-41) from 498 last month but last year at this time the inventory was at 616. Last year we had a similar bump up in inventory in February and then it continued down over the rest of the year so we will see how the next couple months will go. Of the properties on the market the distressed (short sales, foreclosures or bank owned) properties are still running consistently below 8% yet as you can see from the tables below, of the number of properties sold over the last year about 20% have been distressed properties. That says that buyers are grabbing up the best deals first. Another interesting number is that even thought the number of sales on the island for the last year has been in the normal range, 98% of the properties bought have been below $700,000. For the State of Florida as a whole, 50% of the properties sold in the last 12 months have been distressed. The Manatee County numbers of the per cent of properties sold in the last 12 months that were distressed properties is 47%.

For those of you who are interested in what the trends are in Manatee County I’ve attached charts that show the inventory, sales, and median & average sales price trends for single family and condos for the last 12 months. The net, for those of you not interested in the detail, is Inventory has been slowly trending down over the last 12 months for both single family and condos. Single family average & median sales prices have trended up slightly while condo average and median sales prices have trended down.

The best condo buy on the island right now is in Palm Isle Village. Since lowering the prices about a month ago we closed unit 3207 in January for $310,000 and Unit 3203 this month for $439,000 and there is a lot of activity on the remaining 7 units. These units come very close to paying for themselves after all expenses and a 75% mortgage. If you pay cash they through off a healthy net positive cash flow. This is the 3rd year we have been renting the PIV units and they are terrific rentals. Give me a call for the details on any specific unit. See the complex at

Rentals are very strong this year with IRE rentals, as of this writing, up 20% in January, 10% in February, 35% in March over last year. The summer rentals are also looking strong with bookings as of this date up 40% to 70% over this time last year. Other new news, Island Real Estate has made a significant investment in a 10’ box truck that we are outfitting with all the normal supplies and tools to fix properties onsite without having to use high cost vendors. It will allow us to respond immediately to minor issues and satisfy the guests problem faster so they can enjoy their stay. We think this is a huge win for our guests, owners and IRE. Another exclusive from IRE.

In summary the island market sales are in the normal range for our market. We are still in the high side of normal for inventory and have to burn off a little more to get to a balanced market. There are still some “deals” on the island from a price stand point but not many left that are good rentals. Sales continue to be strong with pended sales at a two year high. Interest rates are expected to rise over the next six months so it looks like rates today are as low as they are going to get.