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Home prices drop 17 percent [Florida]
Herald Tribune ^ | 11/29/2006 | Stephen Frater and Michael Pollick

Posted on 11/29/2006 6:44:22 PM PST by ex-Texan

Prices remain the story in home sales, with Sarasota-Bradenton prices falling 18 percent in October, the second biggest drop in the state.

The median sales price in the Sarasota-Bradenton market was $277,900 last month, compared with $340,700 during the same month in booming 2005.

The Charlotte County-North Port market was not far behind, with a drop of 17 percent, from $243,900 to $202,800.

Only Fort Myers-Cape Coral took a bigger fall, posting a 44 percent decline in median sales price, from $445,100 to $249,200, the Florida Association of Realtors reported on Tuesday.

The median is the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less.

Those numbers came against the backdrop of a national decline in sales price of 3.5 percent, to $221,000, the biggest year-over-year drop on record. It marked the third straight month that prices have fallen nationally, the longest stretch on record.

Home price have been declining in Sarasota-Bradenton since June.

Sellers are giving ground on prices, recognizing that in a local and national market flooded with listings, how much you ask for your home is one of the few ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.

"It's often a matter of educating the sellers that in order to move their property, they've got to give on the price," said Brandy Coffey of Sarasota's Good Life Realty.

Many buyers are well-acquainted with that fact.

After looking at about 40 homes in the $800,000 to $1 million range, Craig Aberle and his wife just landed a deal in a south Sarasota golf course community.

The house they are buying was on the market for about a year, and they were able to get it for 20 percent less than the sellers were asking a year ago.

"They wanted to move," said Aberle, who will close before the end of the year. "They were reluctant to take our offer, which was a strong offer, mostly cash. But we said, 'Look, this is all we are willing to spend, and there are several other houses.'

"You're in a position where, if you want to be aggressive, you can play the sellers off against each other."

Aberle took his own haircut earlier this year when he sold in New Jersey: "We sold for 10 percent less than it would have been in 2005."

Yetta Levitt knows exactly what she is doing as she attempts to market her own spacious waterfront home in the Nokomis subdivision of Sorrento Woods for $850,000.

It is on the Internet with pictures and arrows; Levitt is offering a bonus to the selling agent; she will provide a full mortgage with only 5 percent down.

The problem is there aren't many buyers floating around.

"All I can say is nothing in my neighborhood is moving," Levitt said, noting that one of the less expensive, nonwaterfront homes in her 210-home subdivision sold last month for $410,000. "Prior to that sale, I believe the last sale was November 2005."

The numbers released Tuesday back up Levitt's theme.

In the Sarasota-Bradenton market, 24 percent fewer homes sold this October than October 2005. Sales were virtually flat in Charlotte County-North Port: 226 compared with 225 in 2005.

The Florida Association of Realtors noted that Hurricane Wilma struck Southwest and South Florida during the last week of October 2005, and that the storm's disruption likely reduced the number of sales in many communities.

If activity had been normal, the drop in sales would have been even more pronounced.

Sales nationally edged up 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.24 million in October. It was the first monthly increase after seven consecutive months of declines.

Meanwhile, Florida's total sales dropped 22 percent, from 16,407 in October 2005 to 12,773 last month.

'About right'

Some Realtors said the price drop during October is what is to be expected in a market where listings have multiplied from the heady days of the real estate market of the last three years, a time when homes moved in a matter of days.

Pricing in 2005 represented historic highs for the region, said Tom Heatherman, a spokesman for Michael Saunders & Co.

"We have experienced some double digit declines, but we are backing off what were historic increases over the previous years," Heatherman said.

Chad Roffers, president of Sarasota-based Sky Sotheby's Realty, said the price decline goes hand in hand with slowing sales.

"An 18 percent decrease feels about right. We're seeing unit sales down by a third across the board and prices off by 20 percent from the peak in mid-2005," said Chad Roffers, president of Sarasota-based Sky Sotheby's.

"We are seeing a 'liquidity point' at values similar to those that existed in the fourth quarter of 2004. Those sellers who accept that level of value are seeing action. Those who hold out for 2005 prices are not."

Budge Huskey, president and chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, agreed.

"These results should not come as a surprise. Price is a function of inventory levels, which have risen across the board," Huskey said, adding that "in some areas we're starting to see inventory levels stabilize or flatten out, although we're not at a point where we've reached equilibrium."

Huskey said pricing is the key: "Aggressive pricing and positioning are important right now for sellers."

He is not convinced that prices are done declining. "Sell now; you may get less in three months than today."

Coldwell Banker has closed 15 of the Florida offices that Huskey oversees from Sarasota, bringing the total to about 160. Real estate agents working for the company, meanwhile, total about 6,800, down 5.5 percent from 7,200 last year.

Homes were not the only part of the housing sector taking a hit in October.

Sales of condominiums in the Sarasota-Bradenton market were off 51 percent from the same time a year ago. The median sales price dropped 27 percent, from $294,000 to $216,000.

"Condos always go belly up when economy gets sluggish," said Barbara Anson of Manatee County's Wagner Realty.

Charlotte County-North Port saw a 24 percent drop in sales, but pricing in the market, which has few condos to offer, was difficult to use as any accurate gauge.

Anson said the 18 percent drop in home prices during October "was caused by homes in the region being overpriced," and she said the same is true across other classes of property.

"We now have to come back to reality," she said. "I am explaining to my sellers in Myakka that the bubble has busted. They're not going to get $350,000-$400,000 for a 10-acre parcel like they used to. They'll get $200,000."

Anson is seeing a lot of "half-backs," people who have moved halfway back north to places like Georgia, the Carolinas and Tennessee, where lower-priced housing is more readily available.

"We've priced ourselves out of the market and it'll take at least a year to get it corrected," she said. "I tell my clients, 'Don't think some Yankee will come down here and buy your property just because it's in Florida.'"

Chuck Edwards and his wife, a pair of those halfbacks, have been wheeling and dealing in Sarasota residential property for 13 years.

They decided last year to cash in their chips and move to coastal South Carolina.

Edwards still has eight Sarasota-Bradenton properties that he wants to sell.

He has been trying to sell 2408 Riverbluff Parkway for more than a year.

At first, he asked for $305,900 on this 55-and-older community home with boat docks available to owners. Now the price is $285,000 as a straight sale.

"We bought it right at the tail end of when the market was going crazy, where all you had to do was put a little two-by-five sign out there and somebody would buy it right away," Edwards said.

To make his Riverbluff Parkway house more palatable in today's tough market, Edwards is also making it available at a higher price of $289,500 for those who want to lease with an option to buy within a year.

"We are offering a lease option for it and any property we have, except for the personal house.

"I need to cash out of that."

KEYWORDS: abuseofketwords; abuseofkeywords; alasandalack; andagonyonme; anguish; blatantkeywordabuse; brokenrecord; bubbles; depression; despair; despondent; doom; dustbowl; florida; gloom; grapesofwrath; helpme; housing; housingbubble; ihaterealtors; iluvwilliegreen; imtomjoad; misery; prophetofdoom; realestate; runawayrunaway; skyisfalling; slitmywrist; votequimby; williegreenismyhero; woeisme
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To: Petronski

Yes, it's so pathetic, it's painful!

321 posted on 12/03/2006 10:49:27 PM PST by nopardons
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To: nopardons
You are such a dimwit. Which doesn't surprise me, seeing how you're part of the hyena pack. I have always know the difference between bid and ask. I told you pea brains some time ago that Monex didn't go by bid-ask when trading on margin. They have since changed their policy, and now they do. If you don't believe me, feel free to call Monex yourself ( You guys are such losers.
322 posted on 12/03/2006 10:51:25 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts; Toddsterpatriot; Mase; expat_panama; Petronski; Alia; Torie
The ONLY "dimwit" here is YOU!

You were CAUGHT by us "dimwits" in more lies than Bill Clinton has ever told, so now you hedge and backpedal, and lie some more.

Monex was quoted back at you, long ago and you were still claiming that there was never a price quoted to you, when you bought gold, just your storage fees.

You're the one who keeps proving, with every single post, that you are a phony.

323 posted on 12/03/2006 10:58:48 PM PST by nopardons
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To: GodGunsGuts; Torie
The following nations have decided to abandon the USD. They no longer accept US currency for the purchase of oil. These changes have occurred since March, 2006:

Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Russia, Nigeria, Bolivia

Other nations are reducing their US treasury and dollar holdings. Now they are reducing USD holdings by about 50%. These nations are:

China, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, United Arab Emirates

(Dubai moved $ 13.5 billion out of the US stock markets immediately).

China plans to increase its gold holdings by 146% in 2007.

The dollar is no longer the standard currency of the world. As of October 1st, Russia now rivals Saudi Arabia as the top oil producer in the world. Putin is calling back ownership of assets held in other nations.

17% of the worlds currency needs to be sent to the U.S. to support our national debt. That is over $ 1.62 billion a day. In the meantime, we are exporting more and more manufacturing jobs overseas. Over 320,000 jobs left the U.S. in the first part of November.

And the Fed no longer publishes its M3 statistics. $ 100,000,000,000 is being floated in U.S. stock market derivatives. Derivatives are basically debt. "Nothing going on here in my neck of woods."

Summary: At least five Major Bubbles that drive the U.S. economy are about to collide and cause havoc. A Bubble Quake is coming. The housing bubble. Dollar bubble. What are some of the others? Stock Market. Gold. Oil. Credit. Take your pick.

"Nothing to see here. Time to move on," is becoming a cue to naysayers to plunge their heads into the sand.

324 posted on 12/03/2006 10:59:14 PM PST by ex-Texan (Matthew 7: 1 - 6)
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To: Petronski
Please show me where I have tried to sell gold, recommended that anyone buy gold from ANY gold site, or recommended that anyone trade gold on margin. All I have ever said is that the US Economy is running out of steam, the housing market is about to tank, that the USD will continue to depreciate, and, conversely, that gold has and will continue to appreciate. But then again 1TPedro, all your replies show that you are only capable of one thing, and one thing only...

325 posted on 12/03/2006 11:00:58 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: nopardons

Call up Monex you ignorant fool. After you do, you will realize that you will once again be forced to decide whether to apologize or continue being a dirty, rotten scoundrel.

326 posted on 12/03/2006 11:05:09 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: ex-Texan

I agree with everything you said, except that the dollar is still the standard currency. But it is undergoing a challenge by the nations you just mentioned (for both economic and political reasons), and if it keeps falling, the remaining nations will be doing more than mildly reducing their currency holdings. If the dollar breaks 3% below .8050 for more than a few days, it will precipitate a full blown selling panic IMO.

327 posted on 12/03/2006 11:10:18 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: nopardons
And quit calling in the posse. If you insist on making a fool out of yourself, it should be you and you alone who loses face. I understand misery tends to love company, but you have taken this notion into completely uncharted territory. And while they may defend you against the likes of me, there will come a time when the grow tired of your antics. If you have no clue about what I'm talking about, I suggest you read story that even child can understand. It's entitled "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."
328 posted on 12/03/2006 11:24:57 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
In reality, oil is the standard "currency" for the world. Everything revolves around oil. Were you as amazed as I was when gasoline prices fell just before the Congressional elections? I thought I had seen everything. Not even close. And I'm an old geezer.

Watch energy prices very carefully this winter. The black, greasy stuff is now selling for slightly over $ 63/ bbl in Europe. In January, 2004, oil was selling for slightly over $ 30 / bbl. By the end of 2004, it was selling for over $ 39. In 2005, it went up to $ 58. Watch what is about to happen (not including Iran's recent threats to Israel). Venezuela wants OPEC to curtail production again. Chavez is going to stop exporting oil to the U.S. pretty soon. He may close down all those CITGO stations and just walk away.

The entire middle east is a tinder box. The Hezzies are looking for a match.

329 posted on 12/03/2006 11:30:48 PM PST by ex-Texan (Matthew 7: 1 - 6)
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To: ex-Texan

You're right. According to Sinclair, the current uptrend in oil has $70-plus written all over it (the gold, silver, USD, and Euro charts are looking very interesting too!):

330 posted on 12/03/2006 11:48:56 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts poor thing. This was done months ago, posted to FR and you got all bent out of shape and claimed that what was posted was a lie.

Name calling now? Back to being juvenile, are you?

I still want to know how you can borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars, on a credit card, and NOT have to pay it back. I'd also REALLY like to know just HOW you pay your bills with paper profits.

BTW...........unlike you, I am neither "ignorant" nor a "fool".

331 posted on 12/04/2006 12:00:58 AM PST by nopardons
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To: GodGunsGuts
Sweetums, I "called in" a few friends, so that they too can take advantage of the laugh riot you present. It really IS as simple as that.

And since you haven't managed to notice, none of my FRIENDS "defend" me. We all post to you separately and to each other the same way. You produce hours of sustainable laughter and some head shaking.

332 posted on 12/04/2006 12:04:43 AM PST by nopardons
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To: MeneMeneTekelUpharsin
"My biggest beef about housing prices. No way one can remain financially solvent and pay 50% of one's income toward housing. You're headed for the poor house if you do."

That is so correct.

333 posted on 12/04/2006 1:48:14 AM PST by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free!)
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To: NautiNurse
Sold platinum earlier this year at a 338% profit, gold at a 215% profit.

Actual gold and platinum? Not futures? Over what time frame?

334 posted on 12/04/2006 1:51:12 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with EPI, you're not a conservative!)
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To: GodGunsGuts; Torie; Petronski; nopardons; Mase; expat_panama
The discriminating speculator engages in the yen-carry trade, that is, arbitrage from the yen bond market to the dollar bond market. He borrows yens at 1 percent, exchanges them for dollars to buy US bonds yielding 5.

Is this your source? Greenspan Has Taken the Horse to the Water

I thought Antal E. Fekete was a clown before, this proves it.

Let's use a simple example, you hold a 1 year bond with a coupon rate of 5%. The "market yield" on 1 year bonds is 5%. Your bond trades at par (priced at $1000).

You borrow Yen at 1% and buy the bond. If you hold until maturity, you'd earn $50 interest on the bond, owe $10 interest on your Yen loan and after converting your dollar proceeds back to Yen, net a $40 profit, assuming no transaction costs and no currency fluctuations.

The purpose of the exercise is to drive up the price of dollar-bonds to the unheard-of heights of yen-bonds. Note the double-whammy. In addition to the unearned income of 4 percent the speculator will pocket huge capital gains after bond prices appreciate.

In this example, there is no capital gain because you held to maturity. In Antal's world, buying drives up the price, allowing you to sell (without driving down the price) at a huge profit. Profiting from the yield disparity and the capital gain.

Better still, the rising yen turns the double-whammy into a triple-whammy. The falling dollar makes the terms of trade for the speculator improve.

Here's where he starts to lose it. You've borrowed Yen, let's say 100 Yen to the dollar, 100,000 Yen total, (and sold them to buy dollars) and now the Yen rises. Say the Yen rises 10%, 100 Yen buys $1.10. In my 1 year example, you've earned $50 interest on the bond, but now your $1050 proceeds only buys 95454.54 Yen to pay off the loan, 100,000 Yen plus 1,000 Yen interest. You still owe 5545.45 Yen. A loss of 5.545%.

True, he will have a loss on the short leg of the trade, namely, loss due to the rising exchange rate. In percentage terms this loss is in the order of one-digit.

Yeah, 5.545% is only one digit.

But profits on the long leg, the portfolio of dollar-bonds, are in the order of triple-digit. With these odds, why should he care about losses on the short leg?"

This is funny! Let's see how we can get triple digit profits on a long bond. Use my 1 year bond example, just for simplicity sake. 1 year bond, 5% coupon bought at par. So many "speculators" buy these bonds because "the FED telegraphs that they will ensure bond prices keep going up" that the yield drops to 1%, the same as the Yen borrow costs. If Antal believes the bond is now priced at $5000, making the $50 interest payment a 1% yield, that explains his "triple digit profit" theory. How does it work in the real world?

When the $1000 par bond matures, you get $1,000, plus your final interest payment, $25 (they pay twice a year). So, a 5% coupon bond in a 1% interest environment would not be priced at $5000, but closer to $1040. You'd "lose" the $40 premium over the next year and receive the $50 in interest to net $10, or 1% (forgive my slight rounding errors).

In my estimation, a $40 capital gain on the bond, assuming you sold after rates instantly dropped from 5% to 1%, gives you a 4% capital gain, not a triple digit capital gain.

Now, even assuming that rates drop from 5% to 1%, instantly, is a bond trader going to buy a 5% bond if the "real" inflation rate is 8.5%?

I apologize to everyone for the length of my post, my earlier, shorter posts were apparently too difficult to understand.

335 posted on 12/04/2006 2:34:09 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with EPI, you're not a conservative!)
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To: MeneMeneTekelUpharsin
I am sick of the lies you and Petronski keep disseminating trying to convince people all is well.

When you call me a liar point out what you think I lied about. I don't think you can, so would makes you a false accuser/liar. When I call someone a liar, I always point it out. ex-Texan was a liar on his original headline in which he claimed Florida saw a 44% decline in housing prices, which was just one county. Florida has actually seen an increase in home prices since the beginning of the year.

336 posted on 12/04/2006 3:58:44 AM PST by Always Right
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To: Torie
Nobody that I know of with any credibility thinks the CPI understates inflation.

Major bingo on-spot sentence of the morning.

I wonder how many understand the components of the CPI, and alternate goods. If they did, they've have a far better understanding of stocks, inflation, valuation, and economic policy.

337 posted on 12/04/2006 4:17:52 AM PST by Alia
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To: M. Espinola

Notice how no one involved in this discussion will tackle that one. You simply can not pay too much of a percentage for housing and still be economically viable. It's been my main argument all along. And, for the record, I am NOT a gold bug. Buying gold or holding securities tied to gold will not solve the investment problem.

338 posted on 12/04/2006 4:23:52 AM PST by MeneMeneTekelUpharsin (Freedom is the freedom to discipline yourself so others don't have to do it for you.)
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To: M. Espinola
That is so correct.

That is so Not Correct. As I posted earlier. If I make 10K a month, you think its impossible for me to live on my 5K after housing dollars. (50%). However, I make 5K a month, living on $3.3K is doable (33%).

It just depends where ones priorities is.

339 posted on 12/04/2006 4:27:00 AM PST by Fan of Fiat
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To: ex-Texan

I met this guy and kid in Hilton Head one year. They would read the obits, rush in and offer the widow a pittance on her condo so she could go back up north. Then flipped it.

340 posted on 12/04/2006 4:32:38 AM PST by Doc Savage ("You couldn't tame me, but you taught me.................")
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