Friday, January 29, 2010

Flagler County, FL - Real Estate Stats - Nov '09 - Jan '10

From time to time I will provide you with "snapshot" views of the Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Flagler County, FL,  Multiple Listing Service (MLS) real estate listings and sales.  The following denotes activity for the previous 3 month Quarter (November, 2009 thru January, 2010).  I know it's only the 29th today, yet I'm doing this because we are about to do a changeover to an entirely new, web based MLS system on 2/1/10... and I don't want to take a chance on losing all or part of the database!... not that I'm worried...   For purposes of this report, a "residence" is a single family house, duplex, townhouse, or condo.  The data are for Flagler County, FL only and exclude listings in our local MLS from out of the area, St. Johns, Volusia, and Putnam Counties.

Currenty Active "For Sale" Residential Properties:  1,900 
  • $1,000,000 and over = 87
  • $500,000 - $999,999 = 257
  • $400,000 - $499,999 = 142
  • $300,000 - $399,999 = 219
  • $200,000 - $299,999 = 382
  • $100,000 - $199,999 = 685 (36% of total market)
  • Under $100,000        = 128
  • Foreclosures             = 36   (only 2% of total listings)
  • Short Sales               = 492 (26% of total listings)
  • Median "asking" price of non-Short Sales = $289,000
  • Median "asking" price of Short Sales = $149,900
  • "Median" is the value, where half of the prices are higher and half are lower.
Properties which have "Sold" and gone to closing this Quarter:  369
  • Foreclosures sold = 64
  • Short Sales sold   = 143
  • "Normal" sold      = 162
  • Median Short Sale Sold price = $127,000
  • Median "Normal" Sold price  = $145,000
Inferences from these data:
  • There are not as many foreclosures as people think.
  • This lends credence to the rising number of bank owned "shadow inventory" homes.
  • Foreclosures sell quickly... and Short sales do not.
  • A large % of non-distressed properties are listed at prices too high for the current market, causing them not to sell... Because the median "Asking" price is $289,000, but the median "Sold" price is only $145,000!
  • Our current "Absorption Rate" (the rate at which homes sell each month, relative to total inventory) is only about 6.5%.  
  • That means if nothing else were listed from here on, it would take about 16 months to clear our inventory...  (And that can't consider those many homes which are listed at prices too high and will never sell)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mafia Wars in Palm Coast, Florida?

Facebook is one of those social phenomena that has come out of nowhere and exploded all over our lives.  Overnight, it's made sites like obsolete.  Why pay for "Gold" status to find an old flame from high school or college, when there is now probably a Fan Page for your class and/or school anyway... for free?!

Dear Lord, I hope they aren't teasing us and stringing us along... like those ads:  "Buy this amazing house full of furniture for ONLY $10,000 - a $30,000 value - and make no payments until 2011!!!"  Oh, man, by 2011 the cat has barfed on the couch - a lot - and you've discovered that vinyl sticks to your skin in the summer.  Then the payments kick in.  And so does reality.

They better not do that with Facebook.  It would be like the school yard pusher giving the kids free Chronic for a month.  Then when they come for more... there's now a fee involved! 

I've got hundreds of Facebook friends in Palm Coast, FL and all over Flagler County.  Many of them are in serious trouble.  I have a cop friend who is deeply involved in Mafia wars!  I'm sure that's a conflict of interest, right? Many others do really important things and they have GOT to be retired or independently wealthy, because it seems that's ALL they do!  They adopt baby seals in a fantasy aquarium, fry too many fajitas in a fantasy kitchen, and fertilize crops out in Farmville (which I think is west of Bunnell, near the Volusia County line, off Route 11)

They keep track of MY astrology sign for me, send me hugs and cocktails and glasses of wine.  They tell me when they are having coffee, leaving the office, going to the store, and what they had for supper.  I sure hope we don't start sharing trips to the bathroom - with or without the sports page.  Anyway, you get my drift.  I'm heading home now to fix Maritssa supper in Cafe World.  i Heart you all!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Shame on Bank's Shadow Inventory"

It's easy to point fingers at the Big Banks because... well, they do things that make us crazy!  That whole "Too Big To Fail" thing is scary.  They possess enormous power and power is both influential and intimidating.  Like the famous con, Willie Sutton, said when asked why he robbed banks:  "Because that's where the money is!"  Now, I'm assuming that if things get better for all of us, then they'll get better for the banks too.  Here are two things the banks could do - Today - that would help get the economy back on track:
  1. Release the burgeoning "Shadow Inventory" of bank-owned homes to the market. 
  2. Fast track the "Short Sale" process.
Shadow inventory is the bulk of bank-owned homes that are NOT listed for sale on the market.  They lurk in the shadows - maybe even on your street.  They often have no utilities turned on, which leads to mold and mildew issues in warm climates... and frozen pipes in colder areas.  They are abandoned with unkempt lawns and look "tired."  They are an open invitation to squatters and drug activities.  Estimates put the list at between 600,000 and 1,500,000 such properties.  A huge bulk of these are in Florida, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan.  On a local note, there are many in Palm Coast and Flagler County, FL.  I know of one in Palm Coast that is now vacant and unlisted for over three years!  The banks hide them in anticipation of better times and as a way to mitigate their losses, relative to government scrutiny.  Talk about "fuzzy accounting" practices!  Yes, it would hurt, short term, if they all came on the market at once.  But it's like a bad toothache.  Do you want it to hurt real bad for years... or get the root canal over with now?

You've all heard the horror stories on Short Sales.  Well, as a daily real estate practitioner, many of them are true.  It's better than it was two years ago, but it's still pretty untenable.  Here's a novel idea:  Instead of playing games and jerking everyone around, how about if the Big Banks take some of the $$ Hundreds of Billions of Dollars $$ they got from Uncle Sam and Fast Track the process!  How?  When a borrower is in default, say four months, and a mortgage workout isn't in the cards, get the property on the market with three things:  1.  A fresh appraisal.  2.  An MLS listing with a Realtor, at a "bank approved" price.  and 3.  A date, by which the property must close. If it does not sell, then the process starts over.

The missing link, of course, is what's going on, that none of us can see or fathom.  The stuff that gets talked about in Big Bank Boardrooms and Swiss Ski Chalets and in Corporate Jets... over Grand Marnier and Cubans...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"I Promise..."

I get to use this photo of "The Boy Scout Oath" because I was one.  Tender Foot to Eagle.  Order of the Arrow.  Lots of Merit Badges.

  • So anyway, I promise to be way better with this Blog in 2010.  I started out with it in 2007 and was initially very enthused.  "Hey, look everybody, I have a BLOG.  I'm so Tech Savvy!  Blogs are leading edge!  Watch me go!"    So I posted 51 times in the last half of 2007.  Then 22 times in 2008.  Then 14 in 2009.  My enthusiasm for this "blogging thing" apparently went South with the real estate market.  Other issues of losing my brother and serving as executor of his estate, serving as mediator of some serious stuff for family and friends, and a little triple bypass surgery may also have effected my "presence" in 2009.  (I'm just sayin'...)  -  Now, here we are on January 26th, 2010 and I'm re-committing!  It's part of my re-energized 2010 Real Estate Business Plan.

  • Another thing is I lost focus.  I was all over the map with commentary on a wide variety of subjects.  I'm told it was really good stuff... well written, interesting, funny.  Most of it had not much to do about Palm Coast, however.

  • Well, the blog is:  and I aim to make it so.  I'll stay away from national politics, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, global warming (or lack thereof... Ooops, there I go) and all the rest.  What I will do is provide useful information about, well... Palm Coast, FL!  Now to be fair you also have to include Flagler Beach, Bunnell, and the whole of Flagler County.  There may need to be mentions of Volusia and St. Johns Counties, because of where we are.  That's the focus:  Palm Coast and Flagler County, Florida!

  • Now if a Blog has no readers, it's not much good.  So check it out and post your feedback.  If you like it - Great!  If not, I'll respond and meet your needs.  I anticipate that 2010 will be way better... in many ways than that nasty old 2009!  Can't wait...

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