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Date of Issue: May 18, 2006

Island real estate buyers finding bargains

Record Real Estate
Record sale
This home at 102 79th St. in Holmes Beach recently sold for $3.45 million, believed to be a record high for a single-family home on Anna Maria Island. The sales agents were Helen White and Mary Ann Schmidt of SunCoast Real Estate in the Island Shopping Center. The original asking price was $4.45 million. Islander Photo: Courtesy Jesse Brisson

While some Island real estate industry analysts might say the market is "soft" following the boom in values and sales in 2005, sellers who are willing to negotiate on their asking price seem to be faring well.

Jesse Brisson of Gulf-Bay Realty in Holmes Beach said it all adds up to some bargains for the serious buyer.

"Owners who are open to negotiating on their price seem to have a much better chance to sell their property," he said.

Brisson noted that in late April, the asking price of several single-family homes and condominiums for sale on the Island was reduced by the owners, resulting in a fairly quick turnover.

A home at 102 79th St. in Holmes Beach sold for $3.45 million after it was reduced from $4.45 million. Brisson believes that price is a record for a single-family home on the Island.

Other properties that sold after the owner was willing to negotiate a price included a Bradenton Beach condominium that was listed for $719,000 and sold for $620,000 and a single-family home in Holmes Beach that was reduced by 20 percent and sold within a few days for $719,000.

He did observe that Island sales for the first five months of 2006 were about 33 percent of the sales volume for the same period in 2005, but that's changing as the serious buyers start to make offers and sellers lower their asking price.

"There are some bargains out there. Now is a good time to jump in. Flexible sellers are moving properties and there seems to be a little more flexibility in the market lately." Brisson noted.

He also doesn't consider the May-June months to be slow for inquiries and sales. "I've had some of my best sales months during May. I think this is a great time to be in the market."

Agreed, said Sue Carlson of An Island Place Realty in Anna Maria.

"The serious buyers are starting to show up. I've had a couple from England come in and say they are ready to buy, they're just looking for the right home and the right price."

And it's not just the foreign investors looking for the good life on Anna Maria Island.

Sue has also been showing properties to a couple from Lido Key in Sarasota.

"They'd never been to Anna Maria Island. They came up and walked out on the pier and said, ‘This is the place for us.'"

Like Brisson, she's also found that sellers who are coming down a bit in price are faring much better than others.

"Most definitely. I just had a reduction on a property and that has already generated a lot of interest. I wouldn't be surprised to see a sale very soon."

Carlson also agreed that the market is leveling off, but that's creating bargains for serious buyers and now is a good time to look.

"People love Anna Maria. We're going to be in demand because people fall in love with this place."

Especially the serious buyer who pairs up with the negotiating seller.