I’m writing this blog post in response to a recent article in the Ocala Star Banner about how the Ocala area has the dubious distinction of having the largest decline in homes values in the entire country in the 3rd quarter of 2010 as compared with the same period in 2009.
I thought the Star Banner article was too negative, just like most of their articles about local real estate. Low home values are bad if you’re a seller or a Realtor (my average commission is down 50% since 2006) but not if you are a buyer. Low home prices are great if you are a first time buyer or looking to retire here in sunny Florida. The Ocala area has a low wage structure and local people who couldn’t afford a home in 2006 can afford a home today. Homes in The Shores or Marion Oaks, built in the last 5 years, that originally sold for over $200,000.00, are now available as foreclosures for under $100,000.00.
The current median home price in the Ocala area is $82,000.00. I think this needs some explanation. The median home price is being brought down by really cheap sales. For example there were 77 sales in October under $50,000.00. Of this total there were 19 mobile homes, 27 were homes with fewer than 2 full bathrooms and 18 homes were smaller than 1,000 sq ft of living area. There were also 10 55+ homes in the under $50K category most of which were villas in On Top of the World. Now there’s nothing wrong with homes like these. Every area needs extremely affordable housing. I’m just pointing out that homes in the under $50K range require compromises that not everyone might want to make and it’s these under $50K sales that are bringing down our median home prices.
Lastly I want to make a few comments about foreclosures. As you know I like foreclosures but I haven’t sold one his year. I showed plenty of them but my buyers elected to spend more money on traditional sales. Why was that? When my buyers looked at what it would cost to get the foreclosed home up to the same condition as the traditional sale they decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. If you’re interested in foreclosures you should prepare in advance. You need to know what it costs to replace carpet, install tile or laminate flooring, the cost of appliances or even an AC unit or roof. To a lesser extent this would apply to some 55+ estate sales too.