Monday, July 27, 2009

Real Estate Update

When I first started blogging, my intent was to focus on issues in Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Bunnell... and Flagler County, in general. Because of who I am and what I do, it was to keep us up to date on the local real estate market, as well. Well, I've certainly talked about Palm Coast real estate and Flagler Beach real estate now and again, yet I've gotten away from it more than I like. So, I'm re-committing to cover issues of Flagler County real estate more often.
Maybe I've strayed from that focus because it hasn't been a lot of fun these past three and a half years. Kinda like a small town sports beat reporter, whose local high school football team is "0 - 36" over the past few years... It's just more enjoyable to write about victories. Well, to continue with the sports analogy, it looks like we're in a re-building year. You know what I mean? New coach... new game plan... a few key players transfer in from out of state. And the down trodden fans are eagerly awaiting the new season to begin.
The problem with the local paper (Daytona Beach News-Journal) is that Flagler County real estate stats always get lumped in with Volusia. Like this week, for instance, they said "we" experienced 661 home sales in June (up from 550 in June, 2008). That's good news, however only 153 of these were in Flagler County (up from 141 in June '08). They have a much higher population density, yet they just blend us together.
Another interesting tidbit, is that our Flagler County Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service (MLS) shows that we have 3,194 total "Active or Pending Closing" property listings. Of these, 1,282 are either "short sales" or bank foreclosures. (Don't get me started on how totally inept most banks are in handling these so called short sales). Now, ALTHOUGH WE ARE SELLING MORE HOMES... THE PRICES ARE STILL FALLING!
That shouldn't be seen as a bad thing, because as an economic indicator, that scenario usually shows "the bottom." To temper that good news, we need to brace for one more round of foreclosures, as the last of those crazy adjustable rate mortgages ratchet up higher payments. That's tough to handle here, as we have had the highest unemployment rate in the State of Florida for 10 consecutive months. Ouch!
Look for increased sales numbers and a bit more downward pressure on prices for the rest of 2009. My crystal ball says that 2010 should clear out many of these distressed properties... thus paving the way for a climb out of this swamp. I'm thinkin' a slow, steady, predictable, balanced market will be back within a year from now. "Balanced," by the way, means that neither sellers nor buyers get to treat the others as though they rule the kingdom.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"The Turmoil Within... Which Way, America?"

I've always been interested in our government... or so I thought. Yet it was always "just there" - doing what it did - and staying between the lines. But now? Where are the lines?
I've been watching the History Channel on cable recently and have been overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of World War II. There has been nothing even close in recorded history that can match the depth and scope of the entire globe in chaos. Throw in the introduction of nuclear weapons and the implications are truly mind boggling. Here's what eats at me: The US WWII Generation fought against all odds - on multiple fronts - and won! The most massive statement for Democracy ever made! Afterward, that same generation took us for quite a ride. My economics professor for my Master's program at Georgia Tech called the period from 1945 to 1970, "The 25 Year Rocket Ride." It was... and is... the most impressive burst of output the world has ever known.
Ahhh, but my generation, the children of the great ones... we chose to slap their hand. Put a pin in the time line of history at 1968. That's when things started to change - and not for the better. When true democracy (by and for the people) is shoved aside for by and for Me, Me, Me... today's mess is what we get.
Our "sense of entitlement" is galling. But, hey, we all own General Motors now and soon we'll all own National Health Care, Inc., too! If you can afford to have a phone, call your friends in Canada and Great Britain and ask them how that's going for them.

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