You have to reach bottom before resuming the climb. Like other markets at the epicenter of the housing bubble, Flagler County found itself flooded with foreclosures. Before a recovery can gain momentum, the distressed properties must be flushed from the market. That’s precisely what’s been happening for the past three years. There are signs that a recovery may have already started.
Through the first 11.5 months of 2011, 1,545 Flagler County single-family homes were sold through the Multiple Listing Service, a 7.4 % increase over the entire 2010 year. The 2011 transactions total $243,359,289, an increase of 3.1% over all of 2010.
Median selling prices dropped from $130,000 to $120,000, primarily because of a shift in product mix. While distressed homes (lender-owned or short sale) continued to represent slightly more than 50% of all home sales, the percentage of lender-owned sales rose while short sales declined. Lender-owned homes typically sell at prices below short sales.
The condominium market is behind the single-family residential market. Condominiums are mostly purchased as investments or as second homes. Their owners typically have greater financial staying power and so did not succumb to foreclosure early in the cycle. 2011 saw a 22.2% decline in median price but, as expected, an increase in the number of units sold — up 20.2%.
Unavailability of credit is the primary factor holding back demand. In 2011, 53.3% of homes and 75.6% of condominiums were purchased with cash. Until underwriting standards are eased, and appraisal standards made more realistic, the trend will continue.
Golf course green
Crescent Resources emerged from bankruptcy in 2009. Since, they have attempted to sell Grand Haven, which is reportedly under contract and may sell by the end of the year. Crescent did sell The Grand Club (Cypress, Pine and the closed Matanzas), to The Golf Group of Palm Coast LLC.
The assessed value of Flagler’s 10 courses has dropped 71% since 2008.
Commercial construction had mixed news. Florida Hospital Flagler began construction on a two-story medical building in Cobblestone Village. Panera Bread and AT&T began construction of new buildings in Town Center. The Imagine School added 21,409 square feet to its Town Center building.
But the new Walmart planned for Old Kings Road remains on hold. Palm Coast’s impact fees are increasingly uncompetitive, as other Florida jurisdictions reduce or eliminate fees to attract development.
The Hammock Beach Resort owner, Lubert-Adler, which developed the property with Bobby Ginn (gone), brought in Salamander Hotels and Resorts to operate the Resort. But plans to increase the resort’s capacity met a brick wall at both the county and state levels.