Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Starting the day out on Amelia Island with an apple fritter from Starbucks before heading to the Prudential office.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Great deal on a 2 story Charleston in Amelia Park. Bank owned for $383,000. 904-415-0171
New Homes in the Amelia Island Market. Just picked up all of the ICI Homes listings at North Hampton in Fernandina Beach. www.nassaumls.net

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Under contract - Lot 437 North Hampton Club Way, closing 7/31/09. List Price $364,500.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Florida Homes

Eleven Reasons To Move The Family to Florida Now
June 10, 2009
SARASOTA - Yes, the economy stinks. And it stinks in Florida. But Florida has been in recession longer than the rest of the nation. In recent months the state seems to have stabilized, employment-wise. That makes it the perfect time to consider that dream move to Florida. Our 11 reasons:

Universities are nearly free. We exaggerate a bit but … if your child does well in high school, the Bright Futures program allows them to go to state schools almost tuition-free; it was free until last year. This program does sound too good to be true, and has been slightly cut back, but still, it’s very popular in Florida and some sort of large state discount is bound to survive. Even wealthy parents take advantage of it; it helps them afford top graduate schools for students elsewhere. Even if your kids don’t get the grades, Florida has some of the least expensive college-level education in the U.S.
Houses are reasonable. Yes, houses are cheap everywhere, but consider that most people plan on moving for retirement somewhere they always wanted to live. Why not do it now. Today, a modest house can be had for $100K; empty dream houses are going waiting. Waterfront in many places is now sometimes under $300K. Florida got hit early with the real estate collapse, and so prices have stabilized. While most believe there are further problems in housing, the worst is over, and are making this a once in a lifetime opportunity. Do be careful about your insurance rates. Ouch!
Public schools are competitive. Florida has a bum rap when it comes to secondary education. Yes, there are some deficient rural and inner city schools, but what state doesn’t have them? What you should know, however, is that Florida has a liberal program of school choice; parents can usually pick schools within a school district. In addition, large numbers of established charter schools are in Florida. This gives the public schools hefty competition; which they rise to quite easily. Of course there are great private schools in Florida, too. Some that are connected to churches are very inexpensive compared to the Northeast. Another secret is that you can look at a profile of all public schools in Florida online. Before you move, go online to find the juicy details about every public school in the state, including stats on racial makeup, subsidized school lunches and FCAT scores. Realtors can’t give you this information by law but you can still look it up to get the answers. If you have even two children in private school in the Northeast, it might be cheaper to buy a house in Florida and send them to school there than a year’s worth of tuition.
Daycare is free. Floridians joke that it is the perk of a “Socialist Paradise,” but seriously, Florida offers state-subsidized voluntary pre-Kindergarten, called VPK. This is offered either in a public school, or the state will subsidize your children in a private daycare setting if it is not offered. They also have a state-subsidized health program for children.
Help is cheap. If you need help either as an older person or you just plain don’t like to clean house, consider that Florida has a wealth of service professionals who do just about everything. Many people in Florida work as old-fashioned sole proprietors in areas that include trees, computers, pests, carpentry, nursing, house cleaning, embroidery, pools, etc. They count on less income and trade it for a better quality of life. You will get household stuff done fast, with no unions.
The weather is temperate. Huh? The Northeast can get blistering in the summer, with high humidity. The west burns. But Florida stays about 90 degrees. Of course it gets hot, and the sun just CRANKS, but the great thing is that there is a pool everywhere so you never feel it. If you do like some seasons, consider northern bits of Florida, which do see some trees. Or do what most Floridians do and head to the Northeast during leaf season to see the weather change, and then head back to warmth.
Lots of family. If you move to Florida, your family comes to visit. Often. It’s great; they come for a few days, visit, catch up, and then go home, only to come back the next year. It does wonders for family relationships.
Beach, beach, boats, boats! O.K., so this is obvious, but if you like the beach and boats, there is plenty of it. And you will be surprised at how cheap the boats are getting in recent months. Because Florida has a tourist economy, there are also lots of public amenities that are free. In most places, things like beach parking and such have fees. While Florida has some of these annoying fees, mostly they don’t.
Churches dominate. The churches are the hub of life for Floridians. It’s like Mayberry. While Florida sometimes has a randy reputation as a state of troublemakers (just watch CNN’s Nancy Grace any night), the reality is that the large senior population and the large number of young conservative families make for busy churches and church programs that span a wide variety of denominations. Even if you are not conservative or old, you’ll appreciate the fact that every week of the summer, there is a well-run Vacation Bible School.
Jobs are there. O.K., so there are areas like Cape Coral that have high unemployment and not a lot of industries. Not the greatest place to move if you are jobless. But areas in the Panhandle, Tampa and Jacksonville area are close to defense clusters, meaning great jobs for the veterans and more stable employment. Space is obviously at Cocoa Beach, and will be making some cuts, but still the Atlantic Coast of Florida has many aviation jobs. Other clusters include cruise industry in Fort Lauderdale, light manufacturing and warehousing in South Florida, tourism-related jobs in Orlando (and everywhere) and university-related jobs in Gainesville, Sarasota, Tampa and Tallahassee. In Florida, the average jobs are respectable in the community. For instance, Publix hires college grads for its training programs, and well dressed twentysomethings are quite happy to work in the butcher department because Publix is such a great place to work.
Taxes are low. Taxes are going up in almost every state. And while the taxes in Florida are trying to inch up, they can’t but so much. There is no income tax, and real estate taxes are regulated if you get a homestead exemption. There are many tax refugees in Florida from places like California and New York. There are bound to be more.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Jacksonville Update.

Jacksonville, FL – Traffic Falls as Buyers Lack Conviction
(5,135 single-family permits in 2008, 18th largest market in the country)

Traffic at uninspiring levels. Buyer traffic declined in May and remained at levels below agents’ expectations for this time of year, as our traffic index fell to 39 from 45 in April (any reading below 50 suggests traffic below agents’ expectations). Agents were generally unimpressed with the traffic, as comments suggested first-time buyers were still searching around, but the move-up market was slow and the spring selling season appears to be winding down. Still, one agent quipped, “Anything is better than last year.” Another agent commented, “I think there is still a real fear factor out there.” Others said that even when they had serious buyers, it is tough to convert them into sales and closings as appraisals are coming in low and killing deals. “Appraisals are a tremendous problem,” according to one agent. Nearly all agents note lower prices as distressed sales continue to make up a significant percentage of sales. Home prices continued to fall in May, with foreclosures
and short sales representing about half of sales, according to the agents surveyed.

Our home price index fell to 7 in May from 18 in April, with 86% of agents citing lower prices over the past 30 days (readings below 50 indicate sequentially lower home prices). Inventory levels appeared flat relative to last month, with our home listings index improving to 50 from 45 in April, in-line with a neutral 50. We think inventory will trend higher in the near term as the end of the foreclosure moratoriums lead to higher foreclosures in the months ahead. This will likely continue to pressure home prices.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wine Shop Intercoastal

Dear Friends,

The summer season has started and the Intercoastal Wine Company has several upcoming events to add to your calendars.

Friday June 5th, 6-8pm- "Sounds on Centre" is back after the May hiatus. Stop downtown, enjoy the music, and come in for a free wine tasting!

Thursday June 11, 5-8pm- "Pirates and Other Notables" art show and reception featuring portraits by local artist Paul Massing. Paul will be here to discuss his art and meet and greet the public. There will be a free wine tasting and snacks. Stop by to say hello to Paul and support a fine local artist.

Saturday June 13, 5:30-8:30pm- Second Saturdays "Artrageous Artwalk". Support your local art shops, artists and galleries by coming downtown and participating in the monthly gallery hop. Stop in here at Intercoastal Wine for a free tasting of some fantastic wine while you are making the rounds!

Thursday June 18, 5:30-7pm- Wine tasting featuring Tapha Sears of Premier Wine. Tapha will be here to pour and present 5 wonderful wines from the Premier portfolio. There will be a $5 cover charge refundable with the purchase of a featured tasting wine. Details still in the works (at press time?) more later...

Saturday June 27, 8-11pm- MPact, the fabulous group from Jacksonville will be here to play their exceptional mix of jazz, soul and r&b. The cover for this night of entertainment is only $5. Mark your calendar for this special evening of entertainment. Cash bar.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Market Update

From the desk of Alan Vanderheiden
Senior Mortgage Advisor
Regions Mortgage
1409 Sadler Road
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-277-3232 (office) 904-335-0500 (cell) 904-277-2261 (fax)

May 29, 2009

FNMA 30 Year Fixed: 5.00%
FNMA 15 Year Fixed: 4.50%
USDA / FHA / VA: 5.375%

Hello Friends,

WOW! What a week. This has been a week full of economic news and potential moves and it has affected our business. As you can see, mortgage rates are up a bit from the previous week. But don’t panic just yet.

GM has announced it will file bankruptcy on Monday. The markets won’t like this at all. Today, GM’s stock price is $0.73 and will be $0.00 on Monday. With a potential hit on Wall Street next week we are seeing a flood of money into bonds today. Bond yields are up 128 basis points this afternoon. Remember, when bond yields go up, rates go down. This trend may continue into next week and rates may work down again.

The GDP, the measurement of US good and services output, was down 5.7% in the first quarter of this year. This make three straight quarters of decline….the worst since 1974 – 1975. While this number is better that 4Q of 2008 it still shows a lagging economy. This recession may be slowing a bit but we still have a ways to go.

The Fed is concerned about the increase in rates above 5.0%. They feel is will slow this re-fi boom and stale the recent upswing in sales transactions. Home sales were up 2.9% year over year in April. The Fed still has over $300 billion available to buy bad debt from banks and they may use this money next month. They have done this twice before and mortgage rates have gone lower each time. Look for this to happen again next month.

The weak dollar is not helping oil prices…..up to $66 a barrel today. Just as the summer driving season is here gas prices are up 40%. This can be seen as inflationary but mostly it is fueling the recession. If gas costs more there is less money to spend on other stuff.

And let’s not forget employment numbers. We are still losing jobs and this trend will have to change….put people back to work……making money and spending money. This is at least in 4Q of 2009.

As always thank you for your trust and support. Please call on me anytime I may be of service.

See you soon.