Sales for February were much stronger than last year with 26 properties sold on the island (SF-13,Con-9, Dup-3 & Lot-1) versus 9 (SF-5, Con-3, Dup-0 & Lot-1) in 2009. February sales of 26 are the highest in the last 20 months except for December which were 28. As you can see from the charts below, property sales on the island thru February this year are 40 versus 24 in 2009. As I said in last months newsletter, pending sales continue to be strong (in the 50‘s and 60’s) which bodes well for continued strong sales numbers. Current pending sales are 57 (SF-33, Con-18, Dup-2 & Lot-4). Island Real Estate continues to show a strong number of contracts (Nov-9, Dec-9, Jan-12 & Feb-12). If you look at the last 12 months sales in the chart below, both the average sale price and the median sale price are trending up as is the total number of sales in the last 12 months. We ended 2009 with 224 properties sold for that 12 month period and you can see that in the last 12 months there were 250 properties sold.

Inventory has bumped up about 10% over the last 2 months and is currently at 541 (SF-261, Con-193, Dup-43 & Lot-44). The Inventory hit a five year low in January at 498 and two thirds of the increase since then has been in single family homes and the other third in condos. The number of Distressed (short sales, foreclosures & bank owned) properties continue to remain at 8% of the inventory and about 18% of the sold properties over the last 12 months. This again shows that buyers are still grabbing the best deals first. Compared to distressed sales in Manatee County, which are 50% of the sales, the numbers on the island are in line with the percent of the inventory that is distressed.

Frank and Al’s Great Buy’s are going like hot cakes. Last month’s luxury pick 5622 Gulf Drive condo (Vista Grande #2) went under contract for very close to the list price of $1,799,000 and will close by the end of March. Vista #1 closed in February for $1,650,000 and that makes all four of the units in Vista Grande sold. Palm island Village condo’s are still the best buys on the island with the ratio of list price to rental income in the 8,9 & 10 range (lower is better on this ratio) which is much lower than anything on the island. These units will just about break even with a 30% down payment. Last month we closed another unit at Palm Isle Village unit 3203 Gulf Dr. (2bedroom/2bath) for $439,000. If you want a new ground level condo, in a great location that will cover all operating expenses and a 70% mortgage, Palm Isle Village is the place to buy. The next best buy on the island is 4002 6th Avenue a 1,500 sq ft home built in 2000 3 bedrooms/3 baths a block to the beach listed at $400,000. It was just reduced to $400,000 so I don’t think it will last long (see Frank & Al’s Best Buys). If you’re looking for a canal home the two best buys are first 610 Hampshire Lane which fronts on the golf course and has the big canal in the back. It’s 1,911 sq ft 3 bedroom/2.5 baths and needs to be updated but it has great bones and in a great location and listed at $559,000. If you want to be in Key Royale and have a view of the canal but not be on it then 678 Key Royale Drive is a great buy. It has been updated with new tile, new kitchen, new A/C and new windows and has 3 bedrooms/ 2 baths and is 2,160 sq ft with a large back yard with plenty of room for a pool. It is listed at $355,000. Call me for more information on these properties.

This month we have a new graph, for those of you interested, of the quarterly sales of all types of property on the island from the first quarter of 2005 to the current quarter. Since the peak in Q2-2005 and the precipitous drop in transactions in 2006 you can see the steady trend up in transactions as the prices came down compared to the historical average of 60 properties sold per quarter.

Tourism on the island continues to remain strong. Island Real Estate continues to lead with marketing efforts on the World Wide Web for both real estate sales and vacation rental searches. It is Island’s strong marketing campaigns that generate above average income levels for our rental owners. Driving around Anna Maria Island I saw a lot of competitor vacation homes empty in the month of February. If your investment rental is not with Island Real Estate and you think we might be able to help please give me a call. I can help get the right personnel to answer any questions you may have about our property management services.