Friday, July 17, 2015


     Things in real estate were scary, from 2006, through 2012.  If you bought a home in 2005 and were needing to sell in 2010, you got the surprise of your life!  Let's see, "You're telling me that I can get $350,000 for my house?  The one I bought 5 years ago, for $500,000?"  
     If you were a Realtor, those were belt tightening times.  My wife and I are thankful we were prepared to weather that storm.  Distressed properties were saturating the market, as owners found themselves owing the bank far more than their home was worth.  Banks played the role of "bad cop" very well and were reluctant to work with people to re-finance.  Here in Palm Coast and Flagler Beach, FL, "short sales" represented 60% of our market for several years running.  These short sales, an attempt to preclude foreclosure proceedings, destroyed values for Mom and Pop "normal" sales.  To say the least, it was a mess!
     As we moved into 2013, we knew the bad stuff was over, as we started a long, slow climb out of a very deep hole.

     To say that we are in a "hot market" would be a stretch, but compared to those bubble busted years, we'll take it!  This July, 2015, shows these very positive trends:
  • Foreclosure filings (the beginning of the bank's process to take the house back) are way down from previous years.
  • Actual repossessions (the final step for the bank)  are up.  The good news here is that distressed inventory is clearing out of the market, allowing true value to be re-established.
  • Values are rising at a sustainable rate.  It's slow and steady, but the trend is heading positive.
  • Homes that are well priced and fixed up (staged well) are selling quickly.
  • Mortgage money is beginning to be more available.  For a few years it was quite odd, in that it seemed like the banks wanted to make buyers suffer... for the mess the banks created!!!
So, if you are ready, it really seems safe to say:


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Where Will 2015 Take Us?

I remember with clarity 1986...
It was the final year of my 20 year career, as a U.S. Army Officer and the beginning of my career as a Real Estate Broker - and that was 29 years ago!  I worked for a terrific firm (Mount Vernon Realty) in the Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland, and Washington, DC marketplace.  Leaving my Staff Officer job at the Defense Intelligence Agency and jumping into the civilian business world was quite a rush!  Let's see... hang up the uniform and go to Nordstrom's for pin stripe suits, button down oxford shirts, power ties, and wing tips... Check!
The real estate market was on fire and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.  1986, 1987, and the start of 1989 were a Realtor's dream.  Then February of 1989 happened.  Listings stayed on the market longer.  Some strange things called "short sales" and "foreclosures" entered our repertoire. Prices started dropping.  Oh, oh, what was this all about?  A few years later, by 1993, we were back in a climbing market once again.
I moved to Palm Coast & Flagler Beach, FL in 2001.  It was a shock to leave my market of Great Falls and McLean, VA, where $Million dollar+ sales were routine and I was managing an office for Century 21 New Millennium (the highest producing C21 company in the world).  However, from 2001 to 2005, things were hot as a pistol here as well.  I recall our monthly office sales meeting at my Flagler Beach Re/Max office in December, 2005.  I said, "Can anyone else feel "something" happening, or is it just me?"  Well, that "something" was the beginning of the worst real estate crash in US history.  From late 2005, all the way through 2012, we were in freefall.  It was crazy.  The "depressed sales" dominated over 60% of all we did!  Ouch!
However, since the beginning of 2013, we have righted ourselves... leveled out... and started a slow, steady climb out of the hole.  It's a safe bet that, barring a cataclysmic disaster, 2015 and the foreseeable years beyond should hold more of the same.  That is a slow, steady upward real estate trend.  Inventory is available.  Mortgage rates are low.  Foreclosures and short sales are way down.  Oh, and here's the statistic I always love:  Many of the real estate agents who bailed when things got tough, are scrambling to re-activate their licenses.  As a consumer, I'd ask you to consider asking your Realtor if they remained active and productive during those really difficult years.  You're better off with a battle scarred veteran of the real estate wars.  Been there... Done that... Got the T-shirt!!!

Why read "Palm Coast Unplugged?"

"Palm Coast Unplugged" gives a "backstage pass" to locally focused Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, and Ormond Beach, Florida... Real Estate and other useful information:
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