Monday, December 22, 2008

Amelia Island Plantation Opportunities

Recently I had the opportunity to preview some properties for sale on Amelia Island Plantation. The Plantation is located on the south end of the island with numerous ammeniteis. Shops, restaurants, 3 golf courses, pools, tennis courts and more make this community a wonderful place to call home. Here is a sampling of some of the properties I recently visited:

Unit 3201 Fairway Oaks Villas - $273,000 This villa is the least expensive property on Amelia Island Plantation. The unit is being sold furnished and comes with some very nice additions like granite countertops in the kitchen, bathrooms and wet bar and new tile floors.

Unit 2029 Beach Wood Villas - $329,000 If you are looking for a weekend get-a-way this villa will be of interest to you. The unit, which is being sold furnished, has recently undergone some renovations to include a remodeled kitchen, new windows, sliding glass doors and new HVAC system.

Unit 2216 Linkside Villas - $549,000 This quaint villa has a beautiful view of the golf course and lake and is spacious enough to be considered for a primary residence. Besides the view, the owner of this property will enjoy close proximity to the beach, and ammenities of the Plantation.

Unit 1744 Dunes Club Villa - $1,705,000 Wow, this upscale villa with an incredible view of the ocean is a must see. If you are in the market for a luxury home with upgrades galore then this is the place for you.

Unit 6532 Spyglass II - $2,450,000 The newest oceanfront villa complex has it all. Views of the ocean from bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen.

These properties are offered by co-operating brokers and I would be happy to give you a full tour of the Amelia Island Plantation. You can also view homes at

Thanks for reading - John Holbrook - Realtor

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We are the catalyst

We Are the Catalyst To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury - Chief Economist
Robert Stein, CFA - Senior Economist
Date: 12/15/2008

Many observers are pessimistic about the economy because they believe a vicious downward cycle has taken hold, where less spending leads to fewer jobs, which reduces purchasing power, leading to even more job losses. Many just can’t see how this vicious cycle will stop.

We are frequently asked; “what is the ‘catalyst’ for a recovery?” What force (external or internal) will break the downward cycle of job losses? How does it ever end?

Taking this thought process to its conclusion clearly shows that something is missing. If job losses beget less spending and more job losses, then recessions would never end. On the other hand, if job gains beget more spending and more job gains, then expansions would never end.

But, a cursory look at history shows that this can’t be true. Since 1854, the US economy has gone through 32 business cycles (recessions and recoveries). In other words, the direction of economic activity eventually changed. Many times in these past cycles, the economy started to recover well before employment turned up.

There are a number of reasons for why this is true. The first reason is that the combined decisions we make as independent members of a free society tend to generate economic growth. When people lose their jobs, it does not mean they lose their ability to be productive. It may take time for them to find a new position that matches their skill set, but as long as they have worthwhile abilities, they will eventually get another chance to produce.

In the meantime, companies can use layoffs to increase efficiency, laying the groundwork for future increases in profits and wages for their remaining workers. What that means is that a 1% loss in jobs results in a smaller than 1% loss of production. And using assets more productively frees up resources to do “new” things. We have lost millions of farming jobs over the decades and centuries, but the nation as a whole is more prosperous as a result, not less.

In addition, if a recession is partly caused by over-investment in a particular sector, two forces drive down jobs in that sector, but one is temporary. For example, home building exceeded demand, and those extra jobs were unnecessary. But, by reducing inventories of homes, employment will fall even further. Once excess inventories are worked off, the industry will be adding jobs, even if it does not ramp up to the previous peak in production.

Nonetheless, some still look for a catalyst to end the panic that started this Fall. Consumers and businesses have pulled back, basically hoarding cash, to the point of driving down the T-bill interest rate to zero. Part of this was because many people lost faith in the banking system, but the end result was a sharp decline in the velocity of money. Only once in history has something like this spread in a long-term downward spiral and that was in the Great Depression.

But, in the Depression, the real problem was that the Fed let the money supply collapse, which in turn shut down aggregate demand. This is not happening now. The Federal Reserve is making sure a persistent deflation will not take hold and is adding liquidity to the system as rapidly as it can. As a result, we expect both money growth and a turnaround in velocity to start healing in the months ahead. In fact, given the unexpected increase of 0.5% in “core” retail sales in November, this may already be happening.

In other words, the catalyst for recovery is attached to the very eyes that are looking for it. As long as human beings attempt to better themselves and improve standards of living, and as long as policy-makers don’t compound problems, the natural course of growth will return in its magical and mysterious way.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Starlight Lane in Yulee

For those looking for a starter home in the Yulee area, I have listed 2 properties in the Heron Isles community. Both homes are 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. One is priced at $159,900 and the other is $159,800. There are several state bond programs available for first time home buyers as well as 100% FHA programs for qualified buyers. These homes are in excellent condition and close to local shopping and schools. Yulee recently built a new middle school as well as a new high school. The MLS numbers for these homes are 47462 and 48143. They can be viewed at

Thanks for reading the blog!

John Holbrook - Realtor 904-415-0171

Golfside South at Summer Beach

One of the better buys that I saw recently on the MLS for Nassau County was a home in Golfside South at Summer Beach. The neighborhood is on the south end of Amelia Island and within walking distance to the Ritz Carlton and Atlantic Ocean. It is a 3 bedroom home that has been totally renovated with a modern flair. It is currently priced at $535,000 and is just over 2000 square feet. The MLS number is 46917 and can be viewed at

John Holbrook - Realtor 904-415-0171

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mortgage rates drop to lowest level since January

WASHINGTON – Dec. 5, 2008 – Rates on 30-year mortgages plunged this week to the lowest level since January after the government launched a sweeping new effort to aid the U.S. housing market.

Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 5.53 percent in the largest one-week drop in 27 years. That was down from 5.97 percent last week, and the lowest since the week of Jan. 24, when it was at 5.48 percent.

Further drops could be on the way if the government launches an industry-backed plan to lower the rate on a 30-year mortgage to 4.5 percent by spending hundreds of billions to buy mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

That would follow an effort announced last week by the Federal Reserve, which is planning to purchase up to $600 billion of mortgage-backed securities and other debt issued by Fannie and Freddie and the Federal Home Loan Banks. Those institutions don’t make loans directly to consumers, but provide money to the mortgage market by packaging loans into investments.

The Fed’s move caused rates to immediately drop by about a half-point, and many in the real estate industry hope rates will keep dropping as the government increases efforts to battle the credit crisis.

Rates “are now almost a full percentage point lower since the last week in October,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said in a statement.

Bringing mortgage rates down is positive, but it “doesn’t help people that currently have unaffordable mortgages because it doesn’t help them refinance,” Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., said Thursday. “Low interest rates help some consumers, but the ones that really need help and can’t refinance are not helped.”

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the government can take steps to improve the functioning of the mortgage market, which would allow more people to secure home loans and help stabilize the housing market. Currently, he said, “the mortgage market is dysfunctional.”

Mortgage rates are sinking as Treasury yields, some of the most sensitive barometers of investor sentiment, have dropped to record lows this week as a torrent of bad economic news continues. But as investors send yields down, they’re also influencing the economy – driving interest rates so low that savers get punished and borrowers get a break.

Treasury buying has picked up and sent yields down because the economy is in a recession that investors believe will be long and deep.

Consumers already are taking advantage of the situation. New mortgage applications more than doubled last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey released Wednesday. Refinance volume more than tripled, and made up nearly 70 percent of all applications.

Rates on other types of mortgages also fell, according to Freddie Mac’s survey. For 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 5.33 percent, down from 5.74 percent last week.

Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages dipped to 5.77 percent, compared with 5.86 percent last week. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages dropped to 5.02 percent, from 5.18 percent last week.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for 30-year and 15-year mortgages averaged 0.7 point last week. The fee on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 0.6 point, while the fee on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 0.5 point.

A year ago, the nationwide average rate on 30-year mortgages stood at 5.96 percent, 15-year mortgage rates averaged 5.65 percent, five-year adjustable-rate mortgages were at 5.75 percent, and one-year adjustable-rate mortgages stood at 5.46 percent.

The rate on Fannie Mae 30-year mortgage-backed securities fell to about 4.25 percent Thursday, said Kevin Giddis, managing director of fixed income at Morgan Keegan. That is down from about 5.5 percent in mid-November.

Fears of a protracted recession are slamming Treasury yield, which is good for borrowers with mortgage rates tied to Treasurys, but bad for people invested in money market funds that have been buying up Treasurys for safety.

Treasury prices fell again on Thursday, sending rates to new record lows, as the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points. The 10-year Treasury note yielded 2.56 percent, down from 2.67 percent late Wednesday, while the 30-year Treasury bond yielded 3.07 percent, down from 3.17 percent.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Amelia Island Holdiay Events

Here are a few of the upcoming holiday events going on around the island. To find out more visit the Amelia Island,Fernandina Beach, Yulee Chamber of Commerce Web Site at

December 1, 2008 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM

A Place of Peace Festival


December 5, 2008 07:00 PM

Nutcracker Ballet


December 6, 2008 11:00 AM

Shells of the Talbot Shores


December 7, 2008 01:00 PM

Talbot Stings


December 13, 2008 09:00 AM - 04:00 PM

Yulee Holiday Festival and Parade

Amelia Island Holiday Happenings