May continues the strong sales performance we have been seeing since mid 2009. There were 28 properties sold in May (SF-20, Con- 6, Dup- 1 & Lot- 1) compared to 23 (SF- 11, Con- 10, Dup- 2 & Lot- 0) in 2009. Island Real Estate sales continue to be strong in May with 12 properties put under contract and 12 closings in May (10 of them on the island 36% of the island sales for May). As you can see from the charts below Y-T-D through May 31, 2010 sales are up 64% over the same period in 2009. Average and median sales prices are still trending up for single family and multi-family properties and condos are still down due mostly to the skew of sales so far this year to the low end. The number of properties sold in the last 12 months is up again to 282 which reflects the strong sales in the second half of 2009 and continuing into the first half of 2010. If this continues we will do well over the average of 250 sales per year on the island. Pending sales (properties under contract) continue to be strong with 66 properties ( SF-38, Con- 20, Dup- 4 & Lot- 4) currently pended.

Inventory which was at 543 last month has stayed flat at 549 (SF- 261, Con- 192, Dup- 44 & Lot- 52). Over the past 10 months it has fluctuated between 498 and 575. The continued strong pended sales will put downward pressure on the inventory. Distressed properties (short sales and bank owned) are currently at 47, about the same as this time last month. Distressed sales continue to be about 8% of the inventory and 20% of the sales.

There continues to be some great opportunities out there for some great buys. The special email that I sent out a few weeks ago on a short sale at Starfish Beach condo (a 4 unit condo complex like Palm Isle Village) we have already put under contract this week. Those good buys go fast. There are some great opportunities on Frank & Al’s Great Buys this month. For those looking to build a new canal home 718 Key Royale Dr. is a terrific buy at $399,000. This is the lowest price water front lot for sale on the island. There is also a set of plans for a 3,300 sq ft home that goes along with it. With building cost down to $100-$125/sq ft (compared to $300/sq ft at the peak) now is the time to build that custom canal home. For those of you looking for a 2bedroom/2 bath condo close to the beach, 3702 6th Ave unit 4 is a great buy at $259,000. It’s a block to the beach and with a new kitchen, two large porches you can’t buy anything this close to the beach at this price. On the luxury end 108 36th St the new condo unit at Palm Gables listed at $1,490,000 was custom built for this owner and has never been rented. This unit has great panoramic gulf views and would be a terrific rental. Last but not least 200 & 202 38th St., which is a short sale, is a good buy at the list price but who knows what the bank will accept. I think a good offer to the bank for both units would be $1.2million to 1.3million which at $1.3 million would be a steal ($650K a unit) for these 3,100 & 2,500 square foot units. They currently do $55K and $65K in rentals and with a little “fluffing” and “buffing” (spending under $10K) they could easily do $70K and $80K. Palm Isle Village is still the best buy on the island for one and two bedroom condos close to the beach. With 25% down, they just about break even after tax, and there is nothing else on the island that matches this investment.

As I stated last month, the number of sales transactions are significantly up but the distribution of sales are skewed to the low end with 90% of the sales under $700K. In spite of this the average and median sales prices are trending up. The sales by quarter chart will not be updated until the end of June but with 56 properties sold in April and May, the Q2-2010 trend will be significantly up. In summary the number of sales on the island is significantly up while sales prices are down about 35% from the peak in 2006. Inventory is settling down to historical norms and distressed properties are stable and low. Sales for May were up 22% from last year and Y-T-D sales through May of this year were up 55% over last year.