This month I’m going to try to do something that might not be easy – counter the overwhelming amount of bad news lately that has been being thrown at us every day.

It may only be good news about Florida real estate but heck at least it’s some good news.

And at the end of the newsletter I’ll go over the Visa and American Express Gift Card drawing I mentioned in the email.

And don’t forget to click on the Plus One icon  
on any page you like.

But first, last month’s sales statistics.

July is generally a down month for sales compared to earlier months although in 2009 we saw pretty strong sales due to the tax credit.

This year, as was seen during all of the last 4 years, sales in July were down from June.  However, when comparing this July to the last 4 Julys, we were higher than all those years including 2009 when the tax credit boost helped drive sales up.  This is now the 7th straight month where sales were higher than the same month in all of the last 4 years and the 8th straight month with sales higher than the same month in the last 3 years.  Once again, the recovery trend in our local market is continuing and defying all the negative predictions.  See the graph below:

Pinellas County Real Estate Sales Chart Jan 2007 thru July 2011
(Based on information from:  1) PRO/Suncoast MLS for the period of Jan 2007 to May 2011 and from 2) MFRMLS for the period May 2011 thru the end of July 2011)

So let me quickly get into the good news and also tell you about some bad news that isn’t as bad as it sounds so we can get into the gift card info.

The good news is that there is now more information coming out supporting what I’ve been saying about the recovery in Florida real estate.  At the end of July I got a daily news email from our state Realtor organization with an article describing a report from the Federal Reserve about real estate in the southeastern United States where they said “…Florida was bucking the trend and reporting positive news.”

Here’s the link to that article (and don’t forget to come back and finish this newsletter if you go to read it):

Florida real estate gets high marks in Fed’s laest economic review

Now for the bad news that isn’t quite as bad as it is being made out to be (for the most part).

This past month there were stories on the news about the state-run insurer, Citizen’s, requesting a very large increase in the sinkhole coverage portion of homeowner’s insurance.  Figures like 400% and 2000% were brought up in these stories and I’m sure a lot of people were concerned.  The areas that will feel the most significant impact from this are in Pasco County (Holiday, New Port Richey and such areas) as there have been a lot of sinkhole claims up there and the rates were already high and will be going higher.  It couldn’t have anything to do with all the billboards of attorneys promoting sinkhole claim services though….

Since most of the buyers I work with buy in Pinellas County I decided to see what this would really mean to homeowners in Pinellas County and was able to find a chart from Citizen’s showing, county by county, what the proposed increase was and what the current average sinkhole premium is and what it would be if the proposed increase was approved.

For Pinellas County the chart lists 3 areas:  Coastal, St. Petersburg and Rest Excluding St. Petersburg.  The proposed percentage increases for these 3 were 2045.6% for Coastal, 163.8% for St. Petersburg and 5.2% for the rest of the county.

As shocking as the Coastal increase might seem, the current average sinkhole premium in that area is listed at $3 and would increase to $72 under this proposed rate hike.  Now that’s still an increase and not a welcome one, but it isn’t as horrible sounding when you know the actual amounts as compared to just hearing a “2000% increase”.

It’s always good to get all the information before assuming the worst.

Now I’ll get into the gift card info.

I’m doing a major redesign of my Clearwater Homes website to make it not only look better but to also provide many more advanced property search features that I think you’ll be very happy about.  But I want to make sure that I include the features and tools that you really want and so I’ve put together a survey with just 5 questions that will let me know what is most important to you.  I’d appreciate it if you would take the few minutes to fill out the survey and as a way of thanking you I’m going to give away a $50 gift card (Visa or American Express) to 2 of the people who submit a completed survey.  I will take all the names of people who have filled out a survey by September 10, 2011 and have a random drawing to choose 2 people who will each get one of these gift cards.  I’ll put the link below to where the survey is and you can go there and probably fill it out in just a few minutes (don’t forget to follow the instructions on the page you go to after submitting your answers so that I have your name and email address or you won’t be entered into the drawing).

Survey with Gift Card Drawing (Survey now closed 9/11/11)

Hope the rest of your summer is great and that I get to see you before the first snow flies!