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16 Have we hit bottom in our local real estate market? Yes and No ??? Most experts, including myself, say yes. with an explanation. The com-plete recovery will probably take the balance of 2012 and part of 2013. The severity of the rise and fall of our market created many wounds. The vacant lot market has been healing fairly quickly over the last 6 months with a substantial increase in total sales. Investors and future home builders are realizing that there is ONLY so much "dirt" on Marco Island to be had. Once it is gone. it's gone. A previous article written in the spring of 2011 was titled "Dirty Gold" and predicted this run on vacant land.I feel that the remainder of 2012 will clean-up the balance of our lower priced and distressed type properties. We should be much more stable in 2013. Our three primary real estate purchases are condominiums, homes and vacant lots. Our traditional selling season to the snow-birds has been extremely encouraging. The sales and pending sales fi gures are becoming record set-ting. Because of this . 1st quarter of 2012 should be recorded as the JUMP START to our recovery - THE TURNING POINT!The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that investment/vacation homes jumped to the highest level since 2005. They said that investment / home sales surged an extraordinary 64.5% in 2011. People that have been on the fence have realized that prices are not going much low-er. They are seeing a green light now and jumping into investment/vacation real estate markets and taking advantage of the bargain prices. NAR also stated that almost 50% of them pay cash and eight out of ten second-home buyers affi rmed it was a good time to buy. There are still extraordinary opportunities on Marco in all categories. But the window of opportunity is short.. now is the time to buy. You snooze - You lose! Many snowbird vacationers did not buy dur-ing their "four month window." Several said they are coming back and will do so during our spring/summer season. They hope to capitalize on the "better buys and lower prices" during the so called "off-season." They feel that the sellers that didn't sell during the regular season will be much more motivated off-season. These BE-BACKS will be competing with the Canadians and the Europeans who love our Island Paradise during our slower, warmer months. A Marconews.com article by Laura Layden on March 30, 2012 reports on the incredible increases in Canadian/European tourists to our area. MARCO CONDOSWith that said, I have invited fellow realtor, Gary Elliott to contribute to the balance of this report. Gary has researched and compiled an enor-mous amount of information about our vast condo-minium market... Some of the questions our future buyers ask are:How much does it cost to buy and what are the carrying costs? What can I rent it for? How many months can I rent it? Are the condos pet friendly? Where are all the different condos located? How many condos are there.POSITIVE MOMENTUM!Continued on page 117REALTY REVIEW

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