Friday, June 8, 2007

Florida, the future of the broader housing market


You're not going to believe what some brand new townhomes went for on the auction block Thursday night in Fort Myers, considering where prices have been. A three bedroom townhome previously priced at $310,000 sold for about $180,000! First time home buyer Brandon Quarterman, a student at Florida Gulf Coast University, was the lucky bidder. He said, 'I'm feeling great. more money in my pocket!"

Greg Toher was outraged when he heard the prices some of the homes were going for. Walking out of the auction room, he told us, "$145,000! Unbelievable! We paid $300,000! They just got rid of at least four for $145,000!" He says he closed on his three bedroom San Simeon townhome in December, "You've got to be kidding me, that's not fair."

New buyers may be getting a steal, but current San Simeon homeowners, like Greg, tell WINK News they feel like they've been ripped off. Tara Gionpalo said, "I feel really mad, really sad, hurt." Victoria Toher said the developer went back on their word, "They promised us they were not going to go below market value." A Levitt and Sons representative told WINK News on Thursday night that the homes did go for fair market determined by the hundreds of bidders at the auction. He went on to say they feel terrible for the homeowners, but the prices were reflective of a challenging real estate market and they're confident it will once again shift in the homeowner's favor.

That's a pretty steep discount!
Florida is surely leading the country’s housing market decline. Ten months ago experts there were saying that there was only a mild market decline state wide. Of course we all know how that turned out.

Other areas of the country are currently lagging behind in this market downturn, but predictably are following a similar course of rhetoric about conditions in their neighborhoods, (sugar coating it).
It must be remembered though, Florida was claiming the same things about it's markets last year, trying to convince us all that things were about to get better any minute.

With that in mind I think it’s easy to speculate a short distance into the future and imagine things only getting worse nation wide. No matter how much denial one employs wishing won’t change it or make it go away.


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