Is the Sun About to Shine on Island Real Estate?

It has been a difficult few years for anyone wanting to sell a home on Anna Maria Island. Having been part of Florida’s spectacular growth, prices on island homes had risen tremendously since the 1990’s, and therefore were subject to the same kind of fall that all popular markets experienced starting a little over three years ago. But at least there always is something about a beautiful island that sets its properties apart from the larger inventories on the mainland. There is only a finite number of island homes, and people will always want to live on an island. So there is reason to believe properties on Anna Maria will be in demand again sooner than the general market.

Island Real Estate sunshine

The question is whether the nation is beginning to see a general upturn in housing sales and prices yet. There have been articles in highly regarded publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, indicating this may be the case. In a recent article in the Anna Maria Island Sun, Louise Bolger points out that Maureen Maitland, vice president for index services at Standard & Poor’s, has speculated that we may look back on April, 2009, as the trough in home prices.

Speaking of speculation, that would mean this could be a very good time to buy an investment home in Anna Maria Island … if you can afford the high property taxes. At least there is the possibility of covering some of those taxes and carrying costs through rental. And rumor has it that if the house has a swimming pool, it is much easier to rent. Of course this all is speculation, and speculation is largely responsible for the bubble and its bursting that put the market where it is today.

Many years ago, a financial advisor gave me the advice not to buy a house unless I were going to live in it for awhile. That way, I could be sure it would be worth owning the house, because I would get a lot of use and enjoyment out of it even if the market did not generate additional monetary rewards. And if the market were to fall and I could stay put, enjoying the house until the market recovered, I still would come out all right.

Anyone “stuck” living in an island house that is not selling can at least enjoy paradise while they are waiting for the market to come back. This summer there have been some glorious days with tolerable temperatures, thanks to gentle breezes, and with no crowds.

Not a single house sold in Holmes Beach in the month of July. One house sold in June. No houses sold in May. Who knows what will happen in the next few years, but this is obviously a buyer’s market, compared to several years ago, and maybe not a bad time to consider getting “stuck” on an island.

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