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Atman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:37 AM
Original message
Florida real estate: FIRE SALE!
I just got back from my thirtieth high school reunion in Cocoa Beach, Florida. If anyone is looking for a cheap beach house, wait a bit longer for the market to tank even further, then make your move. If you're the gambling sort. The place looked like a giant tag sale of homes. It seemed like EVERYTHING is for sale or rent-to-own. I've never seen anything like it. Apparently all the insurance companies pulled out after the last hurricane. You can buy, but you can't get insurance unless you go through the government program. One of my old friends is still waiting for a settlement from the storm three hurricanes ago. Surprising thing is, there wasn't really even any serious damage. The insurance companies have gotten gun shy; obviously the town has lucked out so far, and they don't expect it to be as lucky next season. So if you've been dreaming of that nice little place on an Florida sand bar, this could be your golden opportunity.

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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
1. So you have to ask yourself:
Are you feeling lucky?

Parts of Florida could become ghost towns. I remember vacationing in the Sarasota area after the time-share crazy period had peaked and there were hundreds of dirt cheap rentals around. Some places looked completely abandoned.
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fishnfla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
2. I've been driving A1A to my fishing spot on the seashore for what, 16 years now
those signs have always been up there. True there is a housing crisis, but beachfront is always for sale or rent. the newer developments west of 95 are really getting whacked
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Atman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. I LIVED there. They haven't "always been there."
Sure, it's a tourist town, so there are always rental signs. I'm not talking about antecdotal stuff just from looking at signs. I spent nearly a week there talking with all my old friends who still live there...the bottom has dropped out. We went into a local restaurant for lunch and my wife grabbed the real estate mags just to see what they were asking for this stuff now. Even our waitress got into it; "Oh, are you looking to buy something here? You want to look at my house?" We told her we were just curious and then she started in, too, about how bad it was.

Sorry, this is NOT normal. You used to be able to at least insure your property. Now, between the mortgage crisis, the speculators not being able to flip their condos and the insurance, it's a freakin' nightmare for the locals. I didn't just "drive by on my way fishing." I spent time there talking to people.

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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. No, it's NOT normal
My dad lived in the area for 35 years and I had ample opportunity to visit during that time. He died two years ago, and I was amazed to see the number of "for sale" signs in his area, an area that was considered prime for retirees and families alike. This was in January, 2006, long before anyone admitted there was a problem.

I think what started the decline was the hurricane season of 2004. The area escaped direct hits but got got secondary hits from 4 hurricanes, hits that ripped up screens around lanais and toppled palm trees and generally made a mess. My dad was without power for a total of 22 days among those 4 storms. Smart people in his area got out in the spring of 2005, which was the peak of the market, and oh boy, did they get out!

No, this is not normal. There was a mini bust in the early 70s after the manned space program wound down and before the shuttle program really got started, but it's nothing like the bust now. I met people there 2 years ago when I sold who had condos on the market for a year and a half then. I imagine those condos are still on the market and will be 2 years hence, unless they do something creative like sell raffle tickets.

People were trying to sell 2 years ago, although they didn't do what I did and drop the price 10% below the comps. They're still trying to sell now, and I imagine they're getting pretty desperate because their insurance premiums, if they're able to get insurance, are now through the roof and they have to choose between food and insurance.

Florida will always be a destination for retirees seeking Paradise, but it's going to take a few more quiet hurricane seasons to bring them back to the market. Until then, desperation will prevail.
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bullimiami Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:45 AM
Response to Original message
3. its not gun shy, its greed.
there hasnt been a major hurricane in florida since andrew.
for the last 15 years they have been collecting from the entire state and paying out ticky tac.
they dont want to ever have to pay out more than their current profit. the past profits are in the bank.
its a scam and everyone is forced to pay in if they want a mortgage.
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Atman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Actually, the FEMA horror stories are real. My father-in-law collected.
Remember all the stories about how FEMA was paying off anyone and everyone, and the speculation was that it was to "buy off" voters for Bush? My father-in-law told us just such a story. He said they were in his neighborhood writing checks on the spot for virtually ANYTHING. He had minor roof damage, a few shingles...a FEMA guy showed up and wrote him a check to have the entire roof stripped to the frame and re-built, after a five-minute walk-around. His neighbor had purchased a generator, just in case. FEMA wrote him a check for the generator on the spot, even though it was purchased before the storm and had nothing to do with the storm. BushCo was literally in there buying people off. My father-in-law is one of those millions of converted Republicans who voted for Bush twice but now says he never actually liked him...but he sure loved the money he got.

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bullimiami Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. the bushco corrupt fema is a different story than the insurance scam.
we tried to put in a claim. north dade county. forget it. we dont vote republican here. they sent us paperwork and more paperwork to apply for a loan IF we couldnt get one otherwise.
and getting citizens to pay?
mysteriously whatever damage there was happened to be just less than our deductible. i could have fought it but it would have cost me.

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RockaFowler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. We had the same problem in Palm Beach County
After Frances hit in 2004, we filed a claim with our Insurance Company and FEMA. We were denied by both. I had to write at least 10 different letters to get something done. We received the FEMA check after the election. Gee, I wonder why.
As for our insurance, we were dropped by them on January 1st 2005. We were with them for 10 years and never filed a claim. I guess they got their money out of us!!!
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Extend a Hand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:11 AM
Response to Original message
7. I grew up in Merritt Island
all my family still lives there. On the island, My mom has had three friends get calls from their insurance companies telling them that that rates are going up a little but the deductilbe is being raised from $500 to $10,000.

*for those that don't know the geography. Cocoa beach is on a peninsula of the mainland that protects a large part of the island.
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Mojorabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
9. Bethune beach
is the same way. For sale signs everywhere. We stayed at Cocoa Beach in Oct for a long weekend and there was a real estate place near the restaurant where we ate that had a ton of preforeclosure adds in the window.
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
11. Within twenty years, Cocoa Beach will be under water.
The most optimistic models show that significant parts of the U.S. coast will be underwater within decades, and even if we start to reduce carbon emissions now, which we aren't doing, it is too late to save most of the beaches.

So I don't recommend beachfront property as a longterm investment, hurricanes or no.
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RockaFowler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
12. Port St Lucie area is really bad
I would have to say the entire South East part of Florida is in really bad shape. There is a home down the street from us and the sign out front says $98,000 or best offer. It is a 3/2 1 car garage. That house shows it's worth $190,000 in the property appraiser's website.
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SharkSquid Donating Member (659 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
13. I live in Jacksonville
And am in the military, I am SCARED SHITLESS of my next move!
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