Thursday, August 30, 2007

Record Foreclosures in Key West & Florida Keys

The number of defendants for foreclosure filings in both Key West and Monroe County (all of the Florida Keys) has hit an all-time high, according to the Monroe County Clerk of the Courts website.

Key West Chronicle searched the County Clerk’s website for foreclosure filings since 1989 for Key West and Monroe County.

Those searches reveal that the number of defendants in foreclosure filings for this year has shattered the all-time highs and is already 50% above last year’s record numbers.

Keep in mind these numbers show the number of defendants in these cases, and therefore overstate the number of actual properties since many properties have multiple owners/defendants. Also, many of the foreclosure filings are for timeshares – which begs the question: “Is there something wrong with buying a timeshare in Key West?” – but that topic may be for a future post.

Still, this is a useful view of the condition of the real estate market in the Florida Keys.
“Foreclosure” defendants, Key West
“Foreclosure” defendants,
Monroe County
2007 (so far)

Some have lately blamed the press, media, and blogs like this for contributing to the demise of the real estate market.

Instead, they should blame:
  1. Lenders – who lost all sense of reason while lending money with no equity and questionable credentials
  2. Developers – as they overbuilt like mad, responding to a temporary surge in demand from the loose lenders (and who also continue to overbuild – I mean, who on earth is going to buy these ridiculously expensive projects like Harbor House, Steam Plant, Casa Marina Club, Cay Clubs, King’s Pointe, Parrot Singh ;-D, Swift’s Stuff, the Spottswood Hotelzone, or the countless other developments? And yet they keep building – further flooding the market with property for sale
  3. Realtors – who were there throwing gas on the fire, convincing the public that they couldn’t lose
  4. and Flippers - who saw the dollars and sucked up every crumb left over.
Like this post? Let us know:


Anonymous said...

And your point is?

Looks like it might be a good time to BUY a property in KW. Esp for those buyers who prev could not afford to do so. There is a silver lining here.

The Developers will have to drastically lower their prices or sit on empty units, the realtors will have to be realistic in what they hope to get for a property or face going out of business and the flippers "hopefully" have learned their lesson As far as the greedy banks and mortgage companies they are getting their dues. Their predatory practices have gone on far too long. And on your comment regarding time shares I know of one gentleman in that industry who refers to his own business as TIME SCARES. I do not think time shares are a good option in any market.

Anonymous said...

"Looks like it might be a good time to BUY a property in KW. Esp for those buyers who prev could not afford to do so. There is a silver lining here. "

Not for a few years. Who in their right mind would buy on the way down? And we're only just starting the plunge. ALL of the real estate stats are rear-view mirror. We will see the real mess this fall.

We better not hear that "there's never been a better time to buy" baloney for a while! :)

Time to buy is not when things are just off their highs, but when they become cheaper to own than renting (when you count taxes and upkeep expense). According to all these blogs and economists that time won't be here for a few years.

I think the "time to buy" will be here when today's [then former] realtors and flippers talk you out of it saying: "it will only keep going down, don't buy, I lost $X on realty". THEN we buy! :D

Rock said...

Another excellent post, Dave.

You've seen the latest about Cay Clubs up at Sombero I suppose? That's small change, IMO, to what is going to happen to all the Singh and Spottswood developments.

By the way, we should put together a vote for "Ugliest and Cheapest Looking Major Development". Is there a way to do a poll on a blog?

My girlfriend ushers MARC house clients around town every day. They all call Pritam's Parrot Bay "The Fake Houses". I kid you not.

I can't go by there now without looking over, laughing, and shaking my head, "Yep, looks like a Potemkin Village to me too!"

Still, I think the Spottswood monstrosity at the top of the island looks like Stock Island Jail Part II, except the original jail is prettier.

Check out my latest about the growing groudswell of anger from honorable American savers who do not want the government to give bailouts to speculators and gamblers.

Here's hoping you are one of the first to join us at Motley Fool soon,

Rock over and out

Broham said...

Looks like "Anonymous" is a realtor...w/ language like "looks like it might be a good time to BUY (realtors always use ALL CAPS) a property in KW"

also...isn't sad that someone might blame a "blog" for the decline in housing prices, the forclosure of homes purchase by people who should have never had a loan to begin w/, and the current credit crunch?? they just don't get basic economics.

Anonymous said...

I own in Seaside South Court. Yes, one block to the Atlantic Ocean and I can see it everyday. 2 bedrooms, 2 baths. Garage. Yard. Gated community with pool. Brand new construction. Affordable unit I paid $196,000 two years ago. Didn't have to pay closing either - nice perks because I looked into the HAMI loans (didn't need them)and because I couldn't prove my income (work in service industry) I lucked out and I saved the money. Plus, I am homesteaded and under income restricitions for my taxes - I pay only $1500 a year. Mortgage payment is sweet too - under $1400 a month. Insurance just $3500 a year for everything - and I have hurricane impact windows and concrete construction. My home is going nowhere.

So while you are paying $2000 or more for a rental unit, I sit back and look around at the home I OWN and say you are the fools.

Oh, by the way, I am moving to Hawaii, the REAL paradise in October. Got my place rented for - get this - $2400 a month and the tenants will pay utilities. Got first and last months rent and security deposit. So I will not only pay my own mortgage and taxes and insurance, I will BE MAKING MONEY FROM MY HOME INVESTMENT!

You can't say that because you missed the boat on affordable homes in Key West. Why didn't you take that made-in-the-stock-market cash and use some of it to put a downpayment before the boat sailed away leaving you high and dry in an overpriced market?

Rule number one in economics - don't pay all cash for a home!

How stupid are the posters on this board anyway? Just sour grapes from a lot of whinners who should of bought instead of complaining about real estate in Key West.

I'll think of you idiots in Hawaii - hope you enjoy Key West now that the tourists don't even want to come to place where the water is polluted and the talk stinks.

Remember - you could have bought where I live too but you didn't.

Now who is laughing all the way to the bank - me!

Anonymous said...

stay in Hawaii. No one wants you on the mainland.

Anonymous said...

Sure, I'll stay in Hawaii and think of all of you. Now that Duval Street is falling apart with high priced rents no one can afford and the real estate market has tanked in Key West. I can name names of all the contractors, plumbers, realtors, loan officers and appraisers who are losing their own businesses and homes because of over speculating in the housing market. Foreclosure and bankruptcy are the only things growing in this sorry town. So many big names are tumbling around the island it will make the 1930's Great Depression look like nothing. I wouldn't want to be in Key West in another year. No way. You can stay if you want to sink with the lot - that's your problem.

Anonymous said...

Affordable unit I paid $196,000 two years ago.

I have lived in key west for less then year, but when I got here the lowest priced condo on the entire island was around 400k

how did you find a place that cheap?

was it under some sort of income restrictions?

So while you are paying $2000 or more for a rental unit, I sit back and look around at the home I OWN and say you are the fools.

Well when I look on zillow at historic prices in key west , last time decent places cost 200k was more like 5+ years, I will look up your property if you give the address because it really interests me that it was that cheap only 2 years ago.

When places were selling for 200k I was in college in NY, so it would have been sort of tough to buy one then.

Foreclosure and bankruptcy are the only things growing in this sorry town. So many big names are tumbling around the island it will make the 1930's Great Depression look like nothing.

yeah don't really care, I am here to fish and dive

looking online most of the seaside court addresses seem to be price over a million now? is there something I am missing , because it seems like there would have to be some special circumstances for a place like that to cost only 200k, only 2 years ago

Anonymous said...

The Seaside South Court are deed restricted, like many on the island, for 30 years. The people who live here are lucky they got in about 2001 pre-construction and closed in 2005. Sure they waited but look what they got for the money. Look it up on the Monroe County Tax roles and you will see some of the low number addresses for Seaside South Court all sold below 200K. Take a drive there and look. It was the last place I ever saw that was affordable. They are even better than the Salt Pond condos directly behind them and they were also deed restricted and sold for about $140K in 2001. Unless you were here then you won't see those prices anyway soon.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone on this blog would say buying real estate in key west before 2001 was a bad move.

I think they are mostly saying buying in 2005, 2006, 2007 will probably be bad moves for a bunch of years

I doubt prices in key west will got back that low, but I have feeling they will go a whole lot lower then what most people think

Anonymous said...

If you need housing and are ready to buy, why is that a 'bad move' as you say? If you have a down payment and take out a fixed rate loan you should buy as long as you plan to live there at least 5 years. It is the fools that bought just to flip for profit and have no idea what they are doing that screwed up the real estate market just like the day flippers did for the stock market. Why is it that so many people with such little knowledge try to get rich quick with something they know nothing about? I blame the Internet and the lack of proper education in the US. That and the fact that cousins marry.

Anonymous said...

If you need housing and are ready to buy, why is that a 'bad move' as you say?

well if I bought a year ago when I got here I would be living in a condo that lost 100k of value in year for one thing, and if I held on to it for 5 years it might lose 200k before it starts going up again

I'm not sure how anyone could not see that as a bad move, especially since my mutual funds are giving me around a 7% return most of this past year

Anonymous said...

But do you rent or own with your 7% return? If you rent, you are throwing away a lot more than 7% a year. Plus, if you bought last year and PLAN TO STAY AT LEAST 5 YEARS you will have a place that will not have a rent increase or a touchy landlord ready to evict you when your lease is up. You will have a roof over your head AND the ability to make 7% a year with what you will save in rent increases, security deposits, moving expenses, etc. Real estate IS NOT and short term investment; it is people who think of owning a piece of property as the means to wealth that are truly stupid.

Anonymous said...

The Canadian real estate market is booming. The Canadian stock market is on par with the US and the Canadian economy is robust with high wages, low unemployment, universal health care and a dollar at its highest since Trudeau was PM in the mid 1970's. Why? Because they do things in moderation. Take their real estate market - there is NO PREDATORY LENDING practices and a convervative approach to home ownership is the norm. Prices are rising higher and higher each month and their strong economy is providing abundant wealth and stability. Start watching or and see what the great white north is offering. Sounds like a win-win place and a beautiful one too. Not as warm as Key West but not as troubled and polluted either. And definately not as greedy.

Anonymous said...

I own property and I make more than 7% return a year. Anything less than 9-10% is foolish. Quite wasting your money and your time.

Anonymous said...

yeah Canada, cold and no coral reef not where I would want to live

But do you rent or own with your 7% return?

um I rent a place, my landlord offered to sell it to me for i think like 700k, it has a boat slip and is on garrison bight

You will have a roof over your head AND the ability to make 7% a year with what you will save in rent increases, security deposits, moving expenses, etc.

yeah not really sure if rents are going to be increasing that much in key west, I know its the off season but there are tons of rentals in the paper, some of have been in there for months, as more and more flippers have to rent out there places ,rents will probably not be going up, in fact they are going down in Miami.

I'm curious what effect all these high end places coming on to the market will have on the rest of the market. Will the increase of the high end units effect the price of low end places that I could afford.

I rode my bike through that seaside court, its pretty nice, people got a good deal on them, when they were new. I also noticed a large number of the units look totally deserted. They look like one has been in them yet

Anonymous said...

A growing supply of condos and houses in all price ranges bumping into stagnant demand = falling prices any way you cut it. Plus a probable small, medium, or capital R recessionary downturn in the national economy. Desperate flippers putting their properties up for rent to delay the inevitable = flat or declining rents for the immediate future. All of this might not be a bad thing for people who don't want to see all of Key West spottswoodized!

Anonymous said...

Most flippers will walk away and not turn to renting on a long term basis. It doesn't pay and most don't want the hassle. Sorry to disappoint you but as long as people will want to come to Key West rents won't go down; they are going to stay where they are or go up. Every short term rental is being grabbed up for season so there is no overflow of prime rentals on the market. If anything there is a shortage. I would worry more about commercial real estate now; Duval Street is becoming deserted with stores and lease holders leaving left and right. And what about Waterfront Market? Another landmark bites the dust, just like Dennis Pharmacy, The Deli, and I bet Schooner Wharf, Half Shell and Turtle Kraals will be next on the chopping block. Don't be stupid and think everyone is in trouble; there are a lot of vultures with deep pockets just waiting for the kill. Rents are not going down; sale prices will level and there are a few Realtors RAISING prices for season. Look at the MLS and you will see that high end homes are selling or under contract. And take a look at West Isle Apartments; they're going condo with no new leases being written. I have heard Ocean Walk is repainting, putting in a gym, re doing the pool and tennis courts, and doing a general clean up of its office staff and maintenance as Equity, their owner, is planning to sell it for condo conversion in the next two years. Say bye bye bye to the only two apartment complexes on the island. And say bye to all the affordable projects on Stock Island too...they won't be built. As for Seaside, most were bought as second or third homes for part time residents; if the front ocean view units look empty now wait till season. After all, if you have money you wouldn't be in Key West all year long.

Anonymous said...

Are taxes decreasing? Or most insurance policies like fire, flood, hazard, home owner's and even some windstorm policies? Has demand stopped? NO to each question so you can rest assured that rents are not going down. If you just lost your home to bankrupcy or foreclosure in Key West and you live here full time, are you gonna live in a tent? No, you are gonna rent and that puts more burden on the limited supply of homes. There are too many foreign born workers ready to live 10 to a room just for a CHANCE to work in the service industry in Key West and will pay the price to live here as they can split the high rent among many. Those properties that you see for rent in the paper week after week are probably true nightmares or an absentee owner that is unreachable. Some hold out for the highest price knowing they will find a sucker one day and remember, we haven't hit season yet. With prices at an all time low, why rent IF you can buy? But remember - you better have at least 10-20% down and a credit score in the mid 700's at the lowest or you won't get financing. And don't believe the hype; I wouldn't want to be there on the day of close and have your lender say 'Sorry, can't do it -nothing we can do to get you financed. You're screwed".

FKF said...

Sorry to disappoint you but as long as people will want to come to Key West rents won't go down; they are going to stay where they are or go up.

I doubt they will go down, but as it stands now if my landlord raised the rent, there are quite of few cheaper places in the paper

Its funny you talk about places going out of business etc, but then say rents will go up, it does not compute. If people lose their income who will pay those rents? The average job in key west doesn't pay that much, how much can rents go up until the unit just sits empty?

I was looking at the mls did you see this?

3 bedroom 3 bath with pool and on the canal with davits original price 1.1 million just sold for $600k!

Freaking sweet, if prices keep going like this me and my girlfriend will be able to buy a nice places in the next couple years, who cares about oceanwalk and west isle, no offense but I would want to buy at either of those.

And say bye to all the affordable projects on Stock Island too...they won't be built.

good riddance I hate income restrictions and affordable housing, I think its all just a scam to help business keep paying sub standard wages

Anonymous said...

What fricking MLS are you looking at anyway? Some hacker must be playing games with you. You want the Key West MLS? Here is the link:

And I ASSUME you know there are THREE MLS SYSTEMS in the Florida Keys, right? There is Rapattoni for Key West that is SUPPOSED to be reciprical with the other two but there are still bugs to be worked out. Marathon and the Lower Keys uses FLEX and I can't think of what Largo and the upper Keys uses right now. Anyway, if you REALLY want TO SEE THE MLS like a REALTOR get one to give you their login and passcode. All login codes start with kw and have a 4 digit code after, like kw0001. Everyone has a passcode too. Just look over the shoulder of one on their computer or call up KWAR and as for the generic one to use. Otherwise you CAN'T see what has sold IN KEY WEST. The consumer side won't tell you the facts so whatever sight you are looking at isn't giving you the full facts. Probably some idiot going into the Monroe County Tax office and those idiots never update their data for months at a time.

Don't waste your time on such and don't bother posting crap here if you can't back up your facts.

Anonymous said...

There will always be a demand for the unskilled labor on this island and they don't seem to mind the 10 to a room arrangement. Either you live like a sardine or a bum on the beach. Rack em and stack em or live on the streets. That's the future of Key West if you ain't got the money honey to pay the price for something people think is paradise. Oh the shame!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that crap property on Venetian Drive on the smallest canal known to man. Ever been there? Total muck. Oh, and just so you will know, the origianl price may or may not have been the price listed in January as reflected. Remember - that home has been on the market for a long, long time. It got listed, then expired, then listed again. Orginally yes it was at $1.1M but that was way way long ago when the market was high and a fool was to be found. It's been on the market for 382 days that I can count and I know there are still some history problems in place with the two board offices reciprical agreements. The place is a dump; the notes said ALL REASONABLE OFFERS CONSIDERED. It is next to the airport so hope you like the noise factor; what little sleep you get will be disturbed when the FedEx planes land at 5:45am each day. Plus that canal is really shallow there and a kayak is about all you are gonna get in there. It may say 3 ft control depth but there is a lot of bottom muck to make boating near impossible there. I am not sure if it had flooding during Wilma; I say yes as from the pictures on the MLS it looks like water damage on the wallboard that has yet to be repaired. Not the best deal in town; you want waterfront you move up the keys not in the stinky canal we have in Key West.

Here is the history and yes I DO have access the the MLS! :)

First off, the MLS number beginnng with '5' means it was listed in FLEX. If it begins with '1' it is from Rapattoni.
LIST DATE : 4/27/07 $999,999
PRICE DROP: 5/24/07 $899,900
SOLD: $600,000.
Now its back on the market 17 days again for sale:
LIST DATE : 8/27/07 $749,000

Sorry to burst your bubble but don't play games with the MLS please people. And how do I have access you ask? Guess you'll have to figure that our yourself! If I was a realtor would I be on this board? NO.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip! And I agree - that property is a total garbage dump!

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to see how/if some of these comments would be revised if those who posted them could revise them circa August 2010.