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Toby Tobin: Go Toby
Palm Coast Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010 8 years ago

Looking back on 2010

by: Toby Tobin Contributing Writer

First, the numbers.

The number of homes sold through the Multiple Listing Service will end the year within a percentage point or two of the 1,414 homes sold in 2009. Median selling price dropped 5.5% to $130,000. Distressed sales continued to represent about 55% of sales.

The condominium market changed substantially in 2010. Unit sales increased and prices were down — both because of an increase in the percentage of distressed properties sold. Through 11-and-a-half months, MLS recorded 245 condominium sales, 59% more than last year (154). The median condo selling price dropped 26.5% to $172,000 — down from $234,000 in 2009. Distressed sales accounted for 47.3% this year, as opposed to only 31.2% last year.

The other big stories affecting Palm Coast real estate:

The foreclosure documentation crisis interrupted a housing market that was beginning to show some strength. The lack of valid loan documents throws into question the validity of thousands of foreclosures. There is no easy solution. This problem will be with us a long time.

Bobby Ginn is out. Lubert-Adler replaced Bobby with new operations and development partners. The Ginn brand has been retired. Hammock Beach remains the healthiest of the former Ginn assets. Both Bobby and Lubert-Adler face continuing legal challenges from several lawsuits.

Palm Coast dodged the Chinese drywall crisis. Thousands of homes, mostly in the south, are uninhabitable because of sulfur gases emitted from defective drywall, mostly from China. Remediation runs more than $100,000 per house. There are only two confirmed cases in Flagler County.

Hammock Beach developer Lubert-Adler wants to build more condos or a hotel. Plans place the new structure on golf course property, blocking some residents’ views. Both residents and the county oppose the plan. An ongoing legal challenge will play out early next year.

Crescent Resources emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The downsized company is selling off its Florida and Georgia real estate assets, including four local golf courses: Grand Haven and the Grand Club’s Pine, Cypress, and (already closed) Matanzas courses. All were under contract at one time, but the sales fell through.

The much anticipated 14-screen Epic Theatres opened in Town Center. The iconic blue roof real estate sales building was razed. A new CVS Pharmacy is under construction on the site, opposite a new ABC Liquor Store. A Dunkin Donuts was erected in Town Center, where construction is also underway on an Olive Garden and Red Lobster.

The widening of Belle Terre Parkway and a portion of Old Kings Road is complete. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. closed on the purchase of land fronting the widened Old Kings Road, where it plans to begin construction on a new Supercenter.

MH Operations began outfitting its new hose manufacturing plant at the Flagler County Airport, where they plan to hire 125 workers.

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