It has been a while since you’ve seen a News Letter from me and I thought the 4th Quarter of 2008 was a good time to share some news about our real estate market with you. Our market has seen some great change over the past couple of years and we have really taken some hits down here on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Much like the national real estate market, this market has been in a major correction. In addition to having to recover from both Ivan and Katrina, we have been dealing with rising insurance costs, higher property taxes and now we are seeing an unusual number of foreclosures and auctions in our area. Put that together with bailouts of several major corporations, banks, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac and then throw in that we are in an election year and one can clearly see that our real estate market has taken a serious hit and for good reason.
So far this year MLS shows that only 23 houses and 7 lots have sold in Fort Morgan in 2008. A large number of these closed in foreclosure. In ’04 & ‘ 05 we saw Gulf Front lots sell for $1,675,000 and higher. This year we closed a 4 bedroom/2 bath house on a 75’ wide Gulf Front lot for $650,000. There continue to be some incredible buys in this market and it is obviously a buyer’s market today. That does not, however, mean that your property does not have serious value. Each property stands alone and although very little is selling today, this market WILL be back. It is very hard to predict when we will be back and also very hard to price property in this volatile market but we are working with our clients every day to do just that.
We had two storms in the Gulf this year that touched Alabama’s Coast. Although Ike received very little media coverage it took a serious toll on some of our beaches. Surge ate a lot of sand away and pushed a lot of sand through many of the properties on the western most end of our island that is still being removed today.
The State of Alabama has had a Capital Gains tax for many years. Our State Government recently passed a new law dictating that this tax be handled in a much different way for out of state owners than it has been handled in the past. For out of state owners, this tax will now be collected at closing and there are new procedures that will need to be followed. We will be happy to send you information on this upon request. We do feel it is our job to alert many of you to this new procedure and prevent surprises.
With a major market correction and other factors that affect your property values playing a big role in what is selling, we want to work with you to help you better understand where your property is likely to appraise in today’s market. We do not believe the “sky is falling” and we KNOW our real estate values will move in the right direction in time. Please give us a call or drop us an email if you would like specific information on your property in our area.
THE POWELL TEAM