Monday, January 24, 2011

National Housing Stats

Thursday saw Existing Home Sales shoot up 12.3% in December, to an annual rate of 5.28 million, well ahead of the 4.87 million rate the consensus expected. Overall, existing home sales are off 2.9% compared to a year ago, but that's when sales were artificially boosted by the homebuyer tax credits. All regions showed sales gains in single family homes, condos and coops.

The supply of existing homes dropped to 8.1 months from 9.5 months in November. The pace of existing home sales is up 38% since July and sales are now only around 5% off the long-term trend, which has been a 5.5 million annual pace. All this has happened without government tax credit support. Smart buyers don't want to miss out on housing affordability that's at its highest level in 40 years.

John Holbrook - Realtor Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach & Yulee, FloridaCell: 904-415-0171 Email: Web:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Palms at Amelia

The Palms at Amelia - Located in Fernandina Beach

Special bank pricing on the remaining inventory.
2 Bedroom units $67,500
3 Bedroom units $77,500

Click here for details
John Holbrook - Realtor Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach & Yulee, FloridaCell: 904-415-0171 Email: Web:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fort Clinch State Park

Fort Clinch State ParkDaily tours with period reenactors depicting garrison life bring the fort to life for visitors. Sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing are popular activities at the beach. Anglers can fish from the pier or take advantage of excellent surf fishing. Hikers and bicyclists can enjoy a six-mile trail through the park. Self-guided nature trails provide opportunities to learn about and observe native plants and wildlife. A full-facility campground and a youth camping area provide overnight accommodations. Located north of the city of Fernandina Beach, off State Road A1A.

Fort Clinch State Park
2601 Atlantic Ave.
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Phone: 904-277-7274

John Holbrook - Realtor Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach & Yulee, FloridaCell: 904-415-0171 Email: Web:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Florida is Hot!

The top 10 fastest growing states increased by the following:

Nevada, 35.1%
Arizona, 24.6%
Utah, 23.8%
Idaho, 21.1%
Texas, 20.6%
North Carolina, 18.5%
Georgia, 18.3%
Florida, 17.6%
Colorado, 16.9%
South Carolina, 15.3%

John Holbrook - Realtor Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach & Yulee, FloridaCell: 904-415-0171 Email: Web:

7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home

January 6th, 2011


By doing your homework before you buy, you’ll feel more content about your new home.

Most potential homebuyers are a smidge daunted by the fact that they’re about to agree to a hefty mortgage that they’ll be paying for the next few decades. The best way to relieve that anxiety is to be confident you’re purchasing the best home at a price you can afford with the most favorable financing. These seven steps will help you make smart decisions about your biggest purchase.

1. Decide how much home you can afford
Generally, you can afford a home priced 2 to 3 times your gross income. Remember to consider costs every homeowner must cover: property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable, as well as costs specific to your family, such as day care if you plan to have children.

2. Develop your home wish list
Be honest about which features you must have and which you’d like to have. Handicap accessibility for an aging parent or special needs child is a must. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are in the bonus category. Come up with your top-five must-haves and top-five wants to help you focus your search and make a logical, rather than emotional, choice when home shopping.

3. Select where you want to live
Make a list of your top-five community priorities, such as commute time, schools, and recreational facilities. Ask your REALTOR® to help you identify three to four target neighborhoods based on your priorities.

4. Start saving
Have you saved enough money to qualify for a mortgage and cover your downpayment? Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price set aside for a downpayment, but some lenders allow as little as 5% down. A small downpayment preserves your savings for emergencies.

However, the lower your downpayment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for, and if you still qualify, the higher your monthly payment. Your downpayment size can also influence your interest rate and the type of loan you can get.

Finally, if your downpayment is less than 20%, you’ll be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Depending on the size of your loan, PMI can add hundreds to your monthly payment. Check with your state and local government for mortgage and downpayment assistance programs for first-time buyers.

5. Ask about all the costs before you sign
A downpayment is just one homebuying cost. Your REALTOR® can tell you what other costs buyers commonly pay in your area-including home inspections, attorneys’ fees, and transfer fees of 2% to 7% of the home price. Tally up the extras you’ll also want to buy after you move-in, such as window coverings and patio furniture for your new yard.

6. Get your credit in order
A credit report details your borrowing history, including any late payments and bad debts, and typically includes a credit score. Lenders lean heavily on your credit report and credit score in determining whether, how much, and at what interest rate to lend for a home. Most require a minimum credit score of 620 for a home mortgage.

You’re entitled to free copies of your credit reports annually from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Order and then pore over them to ensure the information is accurate, and try to correct any errors before you buy. If your credit score isn’t up to snuff, the easiest ways to improve it are to pay every bill on time and pay down high credit card debt.

7. Get prequalified
Meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter that says how much house you’re qualified to buy. Start gathering the paperwork your lender says it needs. Most want to see W-2 forms verifying your employment and income, copies of pay stubs, and two to four months of banking statements.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll need your current profit and loss statement, a current balance sheet, and personal and business income tax returns for the previous two years.

Consider your financing options. The longer the loan, the smaller your monthly payment. Fixed-rate mortgages offer payment certainty; an adjustable-rate mortgage offers a lower monthly payment. However, an adjustable-rate mortgage may adjust dramatically. Be sure to calculate your affordability at both the lowest and highest possible ARM rate.

John Holbrook - Realtor Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach & Yulee, FloridaCell: 904-415-0171 Email: Web:

National Housing Stats

Traffic Up, But Buyers Show Tremendous
Price Sensitivity

Some buyers hunt for bargains, most remain fearful of lower prices:
Our Monthly Survey of Real Estate Agents indicated a modest uptick in
traffic in December, bringing traffic back to weak, but more palatable levels
in many areas. Many agents noted that buyers were brought into the market
by the perception of good deals, or the fear that mortgage rates would
continue to increase. Traffic also remains spotty within markets, with
increases one month followed by decreases the following and vice versa.

Mortgage rates introduced a sense of urgency, bargain hunters looked
around: The fear of rising mortgage rates was a clear catalyst for buyer
urgency across markets, although some agents mentioned that the higher
rates are already starting to reduce the pool of potential buyers. In nearly
every market (especially those with significant foreclosure listings), buyers
remained focused on finding distress listings. Buyers remain fearful of further
price declines; so the need a clear bargain to have sufficient confidence. Our
traffic index increased to 29.1 in December, up from 22.1 in November.

Continued pressure on home prices, but somewhat less seller
willingness to cut before the Spring. Our price index inched up to 23.0 in
December, from 21.6 in November, indicating continuing pressure, as any
reading below 50 indicates sequentially lower home prices. However, agents
noted that the lower prices had brought out some additional buyers and that
sellers were reluctant to cut prices further given their hope for significantly
higher buyer traffic in the Spring. We do worry about renewed pressure on
prices in the Spring if demand is not sufficient and also because of the
added competition as foreclosures return to the market (after banks
postponed sales due to documentation issues). Our home listings (inventory)
index improved to 51.2 in December from 41.3 in November, indicating flat
inventory and generally consistent with the trend of lower inventory in
John Holbrook - Realtor Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach & Yulee, FloridaCell: 904-415-0171 Email: Web:

Restaurant Week - Amelia Island

Restaurant Week headed to Amelia Island
Uncategorized — posted by jimabbott on January, 5 2011 4:26 PM Discuss This: Comments(0) | Add to | Digg it
For the third consecutive year, Amelia Island is serving up its popular Restaurant Week, a seven-day showcase of some of the island’s favorite spots for food and fun.

Running Jan. 23-30, this year’s Restaurant Week features 23 different island restaurants, ranging from fine dining to flip-flop friendly. Each participating restaurant will offer a special fixed menu (priced at either $19 or $29 per person) that includes three courses and a beverage. During Restaurant Week, diners can also enter to win a “Year of Dining” that includes one $50 gift certificate for each participating restaurant to be used throughout the next year.

Participating Restaurants include:

29 South (904) 277-7919 American Cuisine

Baxter’s (904) 277-4503 Steakhouse

Beech Street Grill (904) 277-3662 Fine Dining

Bonito Grill & Sushi (904) 261-0508 Asian Cuisine

Brett’s Waterway Café (904) 261-2660 Casual Seafood & Steak

Café 4750 Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar (904) 277-1028 Italian

Café Karibo (904) 277-5269 Eclectic American Cuisine

Crab Trap (904) 261-4749 Seafood

Espana Restaurant & Tapas (904) 261-7700 Spanish & Portuguese

Golf Club of Amelia Island (904) 277-8015 Casual Dining

Horizon’s (904) 321-2430 Continental Cuisine

Jack & Diane’s (904) 321-1444 Casual Dining

Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro (904) 321-2558 Fine Dining

Kelley’s Courtyard Café (904) 432-8213 American Cuisine

Le Clos (904) 261-8100 French Cuisine

Lulu’s at the Thompson House (904) 432-8394 Creole-American Cuisine

Marina Restaurant (904) 261-5310 Casual Seafood Dining

Merge (904) 277-8797 Fine Dining

O’Kanes Irish Pub & Eatery (904) 261-1000 Irish Cuisine

PLAE (904) 277-2132 Fine Dining

Sliders Seaside Grill (904) 277-6652 Oceanfront Dining

The Surf Restaurant & Bar (904) 261-5711 Seafood & Steak

The Verandah (904) 321-5050 Casual Seafood Dining

In conjunction with Restaurant Week, several of Amelia Island accommodators are offering a “Free Night, Any Night” deal, which allows visitors to receive a Free Night with a minimum nights stay. For more details, visit

John Holbrook - Realtor Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach & Yulee, FloridaCell: 904-415-0171 Email: Web: