Profile picture for ronporter

Is it smart to buy in the Florida Keys now?

I have always wanted to live in the Florida Keys.    I am retiring and would love to buy a house there.    I am a little worried about the risk of the oil spill and what it will do to the water.  Are prices dropping in the Keys.   ANy advice on if I should buy? 
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July 06 2010 - Key West
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3 years later... Yeah, it was!!!  Number of sales has steadily increased and the value of homes has also steadily increased.  A condo sold in my development for $150k in 2010.  I just sold one for $250k in the first quarter of 2013.  Hindsight is always 20/20.  Did you ever pull the trigger?  Was that you on picnic island last Sunday splashing around in the water with a margarita in your hand?
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July 31 2013
I thought that you may be interested in this information as consumer confidence in the market is actually very good and continues to rise:


The 2010 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is the latest in a series of large national NAR surveys evaluating demographics, preferences, marketing and experiences of recent homebuyers and sellers.

Homebuyers today have affirmed a long-term view of homeownership, the typical seller is experiencing positive returns and the vast majority of homeowners see their property as a good investment, according to the latest consumer survey of homebuyers and sellers. The study was released during the 2010 Realtors® Conference & Expo.
Although typical sellers had been in their previous home for eight years, up from seven years in the 2009 study, first-time buyers plan to stay for 10 years and repeat buyers plan to hold their property for 15 years.

NAR 2010 President Vicki Cox Golder says the pattern of buyers taking a long-term view has solidified over the past few years. "This underscores two simple facts – homeownership encourages stability; and the longer you own, the better your investment."

Even with several years of price declines, the typical seller who purchased a home eight years ago experienced a median equity gain of $33,000, a 24 percent increase, while sellers who were in their homes for 11 to 15 years saw a median gain of 40 percent.

"Sellers who purchased at the top of the market and had to sell in a short timeframe were hurt by the price correction, but the vast majority who are able to stay for a normal period of homeownership generally built enough equity to make a trade-up purchase," Golder says. "Despite swings in the housing market in recent years, the fact is most long-term owners see healthy gains in the value of their property."

House flipping is virtually nonexistent in today's market. "The primary exception is for experienced investors, many of whom pay cash and are making renovations or improvements after a careful study of properties, neighborhoods and market demand," Golder says. "The house flipping and quick gains which occurred during the boom period were abnormal, driven by risky, easy-money financing that should never have been allowed in the market."

In the 2006 study, which covered sellers during the close of the housing boom, 6 percent of sellers had owned their property for less than a year and a total of 30 percent had owned for three years or less. In the 2010 study, only 3 percent had owned their home for less than a year and a total of 11 percent had owned for three years or less.

Paul Bishop, NAR vice president of research, says the lion's share of buyers view their home as a good investment.

"Eighty-five percent of recent homebuyers see their home as a good investment, and nearly half think that investment is better than stocks," he says. "Even with the turmoil created by the housing boom and bust, this indicates the long-term view of homeownership as a fundamental goal and value remains sound. In fact, the single biggest reason most people buy a home is the simple desire to own a home of their own, cited by 31 percent of respondents, including 53 percent of first-time buyers."

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November 08 2010
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It is always a good time to buy and it is always a good time to sell (for agents). But for you what's the hurry?
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November 05 2010
Hi Ron,

I feel compelled to answer your question because of your first line, "I have always wanted to live in the Florida Keys". It seems to me, you have thought a great deal about this and have an idea of where it is you want to retire.

There are many professional, full-time, real estate agents like myself, that would be more than happy to provide you with information so that you can make an informed decision.  My family has lived in the Keys since the 80's and the brokerage I work for, ERA Lower Keys Realty, has been turning visitors into locals for over 30 years.

I  don't even know what to say to the responses you received from "not so sunnyview" that it's dangerous" to consider purchasing now  and that agents only care about money to "feed their family". I will just say that there are bad apples in every profession. Whether it be a physcian who doesn't take the time to talk with you or listen to what ails you or the salesman at the local tech store who tries to sell you the lastest new fangled gizmo when all you really wanted was something much more basic.

From the beautiful weather & world class fishing to the island lifestyle & friendly people, the Florida Keys are a wonderful place to live. Don't just take my word for it, for the past 2 years Island Magazine has included one of the  Lower Keys Islands on their  annual list of Top 20 Islands to Live On (2009 Big Pine Key & 2010 Sugarloaf Key).

When the time is right for you, do you homework & consult with a professonal. Wherever you end up, choosing to live,  I do hope you enjoy your retirement!
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November 05 2010
Profile picture for keywesthomeowner
As a Key's resident, my suggestion would rent for a year first.  Many people move here and find it is not what they expected.  That year would also give you a chance to see where you want to live and learn more about the market. 
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October 11 2010
The Keys are always desirable. Oil spill or no oil spill, that will clear up eventually anyhow and with the low interest rates and desirable prices, I doubt you'll find them that cheap later on. It's considered paradise there.

I have cousins that own property out there and we used to camp every holiday when I was growing up. KOA Campgrounds in Islamorada was our preferred spot but we originally started off camping in American Outdoors and once or twice at Sunshine Keys. Don't know if they are still around. Many of those campsites were sadly going to be eliminated for timeshare resorts but I have many great memories there. There was also the famous Tiki Bar. That was going to close down but I do believe that it's still there. Not sure but it's a hotspot.

Anyhow, buy smart and ENJOY YOUR RETIREMENT!!

Oh and I will add that I'm in Central Florida. Rather far away from the keys but I lived in S. Florida most of my life and am very familiar with the Keys. If I could buy there NOW, I would definitely jump on it.
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July 07 2010
Profile picture for ronporter
Thanks for your replies.   I am ready to go move today but will take the wait and see approach.   I hope the oild does not reach the Keys.   I hope to get down there soon especially before the winter hits here in Greenwich, CT.    
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July 06 2010
Profile picture for sunnyview
I don't think that agents are bad, but they are people first with families to feed. Buying in a market that you do not live in and do not know causes special issues. It means that you must rely on your agent's advice more heavily for local perspective with little or no information of your own and that can be risky in any market up or down. That doesn't mean every agent is dishonest, but as a buyer you would not know one way or the other until you had already closed and it was too late.
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July 06 2010
Hi Ron,
I work in Miami, not the  keys so I am not giving you advice for my own gain as the person below feels I may!:)
The keys are a very small and individual type of market and yes, prices did come down there as well as everywhere in Florida.
The oil spill, if it is going to touch Florida beaches will be doing so in the next month so I do not think you will have to wait long te see the effects and then you can assess.
You can't time a market Ron.  Yes, the prices will probably come down a little more but the reality is, at least here in Miami, you cannot rebuild some of the properties at todays prices for what some are selling for.  And if it is your retirement place, you are not looking for a quick flip.  You buy what you can afford wether it is the keys or in Iowa and you live you life!

Find a gerat realtor, do your research and enjoy.  The Florida Keys are unique and if that is where you want to be, go for it!

Beth Jenkins  
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July 06 2010
Profile picture for sunnyview
Agents in Florida will no doubt tell you that rates are low and prices are low and that it's a buyer's market. All that may be true, but prices do not look stable to me and may drop more in the next year or two due to downward pressure caused by high inventory, foreclosures, high unemployment etc.  Here is the chart for Key West. You can chart by zip code, city/state or neighborhood/city/state. 

If you want to buy there, but are not familiar with that local market I would wait and gather information first. It is dangerous to buy in an area hard hit by the bubble with so many agents looking for a commission to feed their family. Do some legwork, take it slow. The market will wait for you to do your homework before you buy and your decision will be a better one when you do buy.
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July 06 2010
 
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