July 31, 2011

168 Sunset Gardens Drive, Tavernier, Florida Keys

A close friend of mine, who is also a local Realtor, has allowed me to photograph and promote one of her listings.  This is a great house in a very secluded location.  

Casual bayside living is yours in this beautiful 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home with loft overlooking Florida Bay. Features include cathedral ceilings, custom cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, spacious Florida/Family Room, large bedrooms and endless bayviews from every room. Located in a very secluded community of just 14 homes, with boat ramp & dockage. This is the essence of island living.  Offered at $925,000

July 26, 2011

Real Estate Activity in the Florida Keys - July 18th to July 24th, 2011

New listing - pending in less than 1 day!
It has always been said that if a property is priced right, it will sell. That has held true this past week, with 2 of the 18 new listings to hit the market already under contract.

875 Ellen Drive - Pending
A bank owned property at 102 Iroquois Street was on the market less than a full day before going under contract.  It was priced at just $75,000 for a 2 bedroom, 1 bath home. Grant it, it needs A LOT of work, including a new roof, but I suspect this home will be repaired and re-enter the market at a much higher price.

Other properties that went under contract include a nice canalfront home on Ellen Drive in Key Largo. It is a custom built 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on a wide canal and was listed at $599,000 at the time of it going under contract.

209 Ocean Drive - sold for $1,450,000
Oceanfront living is soon to be enjoyed by the new owners of 209 Ocean Drive in Tavernier. This 5 bedroom, 4 bath home is truly spectacular, with no detail over looked.  It's unique features include a mini swimming pool in the master bathroom!  It sold for $1,450,000

To view the listings, follow the links below:

New Listings
Pending Sales
Closed Sales

Listing information gathered from the Florida Keys MLS.  Listing links will expire on August 25, 2011.

July 22, 2011

Florida Keys Pool Homes - Enjoy the Keys Lifestyle, Poolside

 If fishing and diving aren't your thing, you can still enjoy island lifestyle offered by the Florida Keys by relaxing poolside in your own pool.

All of these island homes have swimming pools, and many of them offer stunning water views from the pool itself. 

Dive on in . . . the water's fine!

July 20, 2011

Waterfront Single Family Homes in the Upper Keys

The purchase of Century 21 Keysearch by Schwartz Property Sales to create the new company called Century 21 Schwartz Realty has created a new leader in waterfront single family homes in the Upper Keys. A quick look at the numbers this morning reveals that Century 21 Schwartz Realty is now holds a higher inventory in both number of listings and in dollar volume in the Upper Keys.

Click on the chart below for a closer look.

Source: Flex MLS - Florida Keys Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. Parameters: Property type of Single Family Waterfront Homes; Status of 'Active'; Listing Board Florida Keys Board of Realtors. Graph represents active listings as of July 20, 2011

July 19, 2011

New Listings, Closed Sales and Pending Sales in the Florida Key - July 11th to July 17th, 2011

New Listing - Offered at $299,000
It's definitely summer here in the Florida Keys!  Temperatures are up, people are out on the boat fishing and diving and live is good! It's a great time to be living in the Florida Keys!

Pending Sale - Offered at $1,300,000
For the first time in a long time the number of closed sales dropped, but pending listings and new listings continue.

Sold Listing - Sold for $150,000
This past week, we had 20 new listings come on the market, 18 properties go under contract and just 6 closings.

New listings include a well-maintained dry lot home in Key Largo offered at $299,000. This 3/2 home is fairly new and move-in ready.  Pending sales included a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home on Adam's Cut.  This home features over 100 feet on the cut and offers immediate access to both bay and ocean. It was offered at $1,300,000.

Most of the properties that sold or went pending this past week were single family dry lot homes.  Priced right, dry lot homes are selling very well. They have become the "gateway" to owning a home in the Keys. Buyers have realized that dry lot homes can be comparable in price to condos, but without the monthly association fees. Most neighborhoods provide some sort of boating access, with some neighborhoods having fairly elaborate homeowner's parks with boat ramps, picnic areas, even small beaches. 

To see the listing activity from this past week, follow the links below:

New Listings
Pending Sales
Closed Sales

Listing information gathered from the Florida Keys MLS.  Listing links will expire on August 18, 2011.

Not what You're looking for? Click Here to Search the entire Florida Keys MLS. No sign-up required!

We're now a part of the Century 21 system!

We have great news! Schwartz Property Sales has acquired Century21 Keysearch Realty and formed Century21 Schwartz Realty. We have 6 Offices located in Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key, Sugarloaf, and Key West.

The Century21 brand is the largest real estate sales organization in the world with over 8400 independently owned and operated locations and 120,000 licensed sales professionals. Any buyer, anywhere in the world, looking for property in the Florida Keys through the largest real estate organization will be directed to Century21 Schwartz Realty. This is absolutely phenomenal! The Century 21 System has come to symbolize not only professional real estate knowledge but a dedication to honesty, integrity and exceptional customer service.

Affordable! 3 Madeira Drive, Key Largo, Florida Keys

A home in the Keys doesn't have to be expensive or  out of reach!  Whether you are a first-time home owner or just looking for a small weekend retreat in the Keys, this adorable Keys home fits the bill perfectly.

This ground level home in the heart of Key Largo is perfect for a first-time home buyer or an investor looking for a rental property. This location is also an easy commute from the mainland and from Miami. Just remodeled with new doors and windows, new kitchen cabinets and countertops and a new bathroom, this house is in move-in condition.

The master bedroom features a large walk-in closet with a private side entrance into the shared hallway bath.  The guest bedroom overlooks the backyard and has ample closet space. 

There is a separate dining are adjacent to the kitchen with sliding glass door opening to the large backyard. A storage shed can easily accommodate bikes, yard equipment and more.  The side yard has a large wooden gate that can be opened to store a boat alongside the house.

The community features a great homeowner’s park with picnic areas as well as a boat ramp for launching your boat, all just minutes from the house. 

Just $179,000! Start living the Keys lifestyle at an affordable price!
Learn more at www.3Madeira.com
Not what You're looking for?  Search the entire Florida Keys MLS. No sign-up required!

July 15, 2011

Luxury Living in the Heart of the Florida Keys

The Heart of the Florida Keys – Marathon. This quaint, tropical city is located mainly on Vaca Key, Fat Deer Key, and Grassy Key, and is a 10- mile-long family-oriented island community rooted in a heritage of fishing, and reflects the old-Keys lifestyle that residents, snowbirds and visitors enjoy so much.

Though the area has been settled for some time, Marathon is a relatively new city, incorporated in 1999. The city's boundaries extend from the east end of the Seven Mile Bridge (Mile Marker 47) to the west end of Tom's Harbor Bridge (Mile Marker 61), excluding that portion of the area within the city limits of Key Colony Beach.

The name Marathon dates back to the origin of the Florida East Coast Railroad. The name came about by the railroad workers who were working night and day to complete the railway – due to the unrelenting pace and struggle to complete the project, many of the workers complained that "this is getting to be a real Marathon", and was later used to name the local station along the railroad.

Marathon boasts some of the most breathtaking luxury homes in the Keys. From homes located on secluded harbors to direct ocean and bay front estates, even the most discrimination buyer is bound to find something to suit their needs.

Take a look at some of the best homes the area has to offer. If you see something you like, call or email to arrange a private showing.

Single Family Homes in the Florida Keys Under $250,000

Prices in today's market are making it more affordable than ever to own a home in the Florida Keys.  Whether it is a year round residence you are looking for or a weekend getaway, there is plenty of inventory to choose from. Attractive financing rates make this a perfect time to invest in the Florida Keys.

Here is a list to single family homes in the Upper Keys, all priced under $250,000.  One of them might just be perfect for you!

July 14, 2011

Signs of Stability - An article from the local Free Press

Home prices stabilize, while condos tumble
Agent: Association fees may be a drag
Click The Free Press cover for full article
UPPER KEYS -- Local home sales kept pace during the second quarter of the year while prices stabilized. The condo market, in contrast, saw an increase in volume from April through June, but a precipitous decrease in price, according to Multiple Listing Service statistics prepared by Tracy Larson of Schwartz Property Sales.
From April through June 102 single-family homes closed in the Upper Keys. That's up slightly from 98 during the second quarter last year. It's also up slightly from the first quarter of this year. However, year-over-year growth -- considered a more reliable indicator -- was more pronounced in the first quarter, when 98 home sold compared to 76 in January through March of 2010.

Upper Keys second quarter prices held fairly steady compared to 2010, with non-waterfront properties selling for an average of $254,000, nearly identical to last year's $253,000. The average selling price of a canal-front home increased slightly from $597,000 last spring to $613,000 this year. Oceanfront homes, where the average price fluctuates more widely from quarter to quarter, went for an average of $1.4 million, down from $1.7 million last year.

MLS data does not capture homes listed and sold at the Ocean Reef Club, nor does it include those that are not listed with an agent.

The year-over-year stability of Upper Keys home prices during the second quarter differed from the first quarter numbers, when canal-front homes were off 25 percent compared with 2010 and dry lot homes were off 27 percent.

Condo prices, however, failed to rebound from the winter months. There were 42 condo closings in the second quarter, up from 30 during the same period last year and up from 32 during January through March of this year, MLS data shows. But the average sales price, which was $280,000 over the winter, dropped a bit, to $278,000. During the spring of 2010, 30 Upper Keys condos sold at an average price of $354,000, 27 percent higher than this spring.

Larson, who also publishes the Florida Keys Real Estate News blog, said she believes the continuing decline in condo prices, even while home prices have bounced both up and down, has been caused by the high cost of condo association dues. Fees often run $500 to $600 a month or more, she said.
"I think fees have become a real issue with the condos," she said, adding that buyers often decide that purchasing a dry-lot home makes more sense.

This year's Upper Keys real estate trends have largely been echoed countywide.

An MLS analysis compiled by Ed Anderson of Coldwell, Banker Schmitt Real Estate Co. shows that Keyswide residential sales are up 13 percent compared to last year. A total of 862 properties closed during the first six months of the year at an average price of $472,000, down less than 1 percent from last year's average of $477,000.

The largest bump in price came in Key West, with the average property up 16.7 percent from last year, to $523.000. Prices in the Lower Keys are up 5 percent, but they are off 18 percent in the Middle Keys. The average price for all Upper Keys residential properties was $471,000 for the first six months off this year, off eight percent from 2010.

Real estate trends in the Keys this year differ from what has taken place in urban South Florida.
Prices in those markets continue to struggle. Inventory levels, however, are way down.

In Miami-Dade County there were just seven months of residential inventory on the market as of the end of May. In Broward inventory stood at less than six months - the threshold figure that analysts say is indicative of a healthy housing market.

Here in the Keys, residential inventory still sits at 18 months, down from 21 months after the first quarter. Inventory peaked at 56 months in the fourth quarter of 2007.

As a general rule, the Keys have more months of housing inventory up for sale than more traditional markets like Broward and Miami-Dade, where second homes make up a much smaller portion of the housing stock, said William Hardin, a real estate professor at Florida International University.

"If you're in the second home market and you don't need to sell, you may throw it on the market and see if it sticks," he said. "Otherwise, you'll keep using the house for vacations."

Markets in the Keys and Miami-Dade continue to be burdened by distressed sales, though the problem is worse on the mainland, where 57 percent of all residential closings in May were either short sales or bank-owned properties, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.

In the Keys, distressed sales have made up approximately 40 percent of closings this year, figures provided by Larson and Anderson show.


If I Had a Million Dollars . . .

The Barenaked Ladies sang it best . . .

If I had a $1,000,000 / (If I had a $1,000,000)

I'd buy you a house / ( I would buy you a house)

Here in the Florida Keys, $1,000,000 would buy you a nice house, too.
Here is a selection of open water homes in the Upper Florida Keys, all priced under $1,000,000.  Each one has open water views, allowing you to start living the Florida Keys lifestyle.

Call or email for more information about any these featured homes or others available in the fantastic Florida Keys.


Listing information and photos provided by The Florida Keys MLS IDX

July 13, 2011

Waterfront Homes in the Florida Keys Under $500,000


In years past, a waterfront home in the Florida Keys was often out of reach for most buyers.  Today's market has changed that. Now there are amble opportunities to live on the water for under $500,000 - a price that was once a starting point for waterfront homes.

The link below will take you to a full list of properties in the Upper Keys, including Key Largo, Tavernier and Islamorada that are all priced under $500,000.  Some of these are brand new listings that are priced so low, they will not last, so if you see something you like, contact me and I'll let you know if it is still available.

July 11, 2011

New Listings, Closed Sales and Pending Sales in the Florida Keys - June 27th to July 10

The Fourth of July weekend in the Florida Keys was a busy one, with most people out enjoying the fishing, diving and other water adventures off our shores. This past weekend was still busy but perhaps a bit more laid back as we continue into summer.

On land, the real estate market was still showing signs of stability with 29 new listings, 25 pending sales and 24 closings over the last two weeks.

New Listing in Venetian Shores - $1,325,000
Among the activity, a gorgeous new home in Venetian Shores came on the market. This 3 bedroom, 3 bath house is in the very back of Venetian Shores, offering peace and quiet from the sounds of the Overseas Highway. It has a small pool, 70 feet of dockage and instant access to both Florida Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It is offered at $1,325,000

Pending Sale in Key Largo - listed at $999,000
Pending sales include a spacious waterfront home in Key Largo with Ocean views all around and over 154 feet of dockage. Entertaining area poolside provides the perfect Keys lifestyle. Interior features include large great room, granite kitchen and marble baths. It was offered at $999,000 at the time of contract.

Sold - 136 Coconut Row - sold for $244,000
Closed sales include a dry lot home in Tavernier that has been under contract more than once and has finally sold. This 3 bedroom, 3 bath home features unique wooden spiral staircase to all levels, open living/dining/kitchen are and a rooftop widows walk with panoramic views. It sold for $244,000.

Curious about other opportunities that are available on the market in the Florida Keys? Email or call today to start you search for the perfect Florida Keys home.

Click the links below to view the listings.

New Listings
Pending Sales
Closed Sales

Listing information gathered from the Florida Keys MLS.  Listing links will expire on August 10, 2011.

July 05, 2011

At glimpse at the Florida Keys Real Estate Market - 2nd quarter 2011

When you ask people their opinion of how the real estate market is doing in the Upper Keys, you're likely to get several different answers. Some may say that is is still falling. Others will say that it is stable. And yet others will say that it is improving. And all of those answers are correct.

The truth is, it depends on what segment of the market you're talking about.  A search in the MLS for recent sales statistics reveals some interesting facts.

While the price for open water homes is declining, the number of transactions closing has improved this year over the same time period last year. Canalfront homes appear to be improving, and non-waterfront homes appear to be remaining stable.  Clicking on the image to the left will show you a larger version of the chart. 

For those that are interested I also have a chart comparing each segment of the market by quarter, with 2010 complete and the first two quarters of 2011 complete. If you'd like to see it, just send me an email and I will be happy to send you the PDF file. It's an interesting glimpse at how the market has been rising and falling during certain time periods, including the third quarter of 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was in full swing. Thankfully, the oil never reached or impacted our shores, but it did have an impact on our real estate market.

Rates are still down, inventory is plentiful. In short, it really is a great time to invest in the Florida Keys!

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