“Christmas on Las Olas” is a Joyful Holiday Event!

Ms. SantaThe holiday season is in full bloom!  If you missed this year’s “Christmas on Las Olas” holiday event in Fort Lauderdale, be sure to put it on your calendar for next year.  The event kicked off just as the sun went down.  The boulevard trees are now wrapped in tiny white lights and there are interesting holiday light displays not only on the Las Olas Boulevard medians but also atop many of the local businesses.  “Snow Mountain” was a big hit with kids and, of course, Santa was available for pictures!  Everywhere you looked there was something going on.  The festivities included Christmas carolers, dancers, performers dressed in Dickens-style costumes, as well as music ensembles, bell ringers, karaoke and live jazz.  There was even a holiday movie being shown on a big screen with an open seating area.  All this and admission was free!

Christmas OrnamentsThe Las Olas Boulevard shops showed their holiday spirit with displays of all kinds, including live mannequins!  Even the Riverside Hotel and restaurants along the route gleamed with lots of holiday lights, wreaths and other holiday decorations.  The historic Stranahan House was also decorated for the season and open to the public at a discounted rate.  See a 60-second show of some of the highlights of the 2007 Chrismas on Las Olas event!  The Christmas ornaments pictured here are from one of my favorite Las Olas Blvd. shops – the Seldom Seen Gallery.


South Florida Real Estate Market Conditions – October 2007

In comparing the South Florida real estate market conditions from September to October 2007, there were only relatively minor changes in each of the three South Florida counties with regards to the number of resale homes sold.  The same can be said for the number of resale condos sold with one exception — Miami-Dade County saw a sizeable increase in the number of sales (up 23% from the previous month).  This is especially good news since there has been so much talk about the glut of condos for sale there.

Meanwhile, the median sales price of resale single family homes increased slightly in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area but decreased in both Palm Beach County and Miami.  Sadly, when compared to last month, the median sales price of resale condos dropped in Broward County by about 8.75%, in Palm Beach County by approximately 12% and in Miami-Dade by about 3%.  If, instead, we focus on the changes from the same time last year till now, it seems Miami is doing better than many in the media would have you believe.

While the numbers in the chart below will show you comparisons from one year to the next (during the same month), you’ll find that I typically comment on the month-to-month changes, so please keep that in mind as you review the information contained in the chart.

South Florida market statistics for October 2007.

*Median is the price at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

:: Read all my posts tagged with South Florida Real Estate Market Conditions – 2007. ::

Source (for chart numbers only): Florida Association of Realtors (F.A.R.); Commentary is © 2007 Leanne Paynter.

Plum Bay Homes in Tamarac, Florida

View of dock/fishing pier and lakefront homes.  Find listings of homes for sale at Plum Bay in Tamarac.The single-family home community of Plum Bay features a lakeside pool with spacious sun deck, cabana baths, covered patio, two tennis courts (one of which doubles as a basketball court), a fishing pier and a boat launch ramp next to the fishing pier/dock.  Homes in this South Florida neighborhood were built between 1995 and 1999.  Plum Bay offers one- and two-story homes, some with lake or golf course views.  Certain floorplans include a loft area, an ideal spot for a small home office, media center or play area.  Prices currently range from the high-$200’s to the high-$300’s and the community maintains a low monthly HOA maintenance fee.

Residents of Plum Bay can enjoy nearby parks including Sunset Point Park (11000 W. McNab Rd.) as well as the Caporella Aquatic Center (across from Challenger Elementary School and Millenium Middle School on NW 94th Avenue).  The main entrance to Plum Bay is located a block north of the N.E. corner of Commercial Blvd. and Nob Hill Road providing for easy access to the Sawgrass Expressway.

:: View a Virtual Tour of Plum Bay! ::

Call Leanne Paynter at 954-846-1600 to find out how you can qualify for a $1,000 rebate if you want to purchase a home in Plum Bay.  You can search the MLS for listings of homes for sale in Plum Bay here.

Safest Cities in South Florida – 2007 Edition

Relocate to South Florida!Relocation to South Florida can be stressful and one of the issues often taken into consideration when deciding which city to relocate to has to do with crime statistics.  The 14th edition of the City Crime Rankings from CQ Press — published this week — can offer anyone relocating some useful information. 

According to its Safest City Rank Order, Coral Springs (at #17) is the safest city in South Florida, followed by Pembroke Pines (#48), Boca Raton (#67), Davie (#88), Plantation (#90) and Sunrise (#118).  It’s interesting to note that 5 out of the 6 are in Broward County and the western side at that.

Affordable Waterfront Townhome in Lake Worth, Florida

Lake Worth townhouse for sale!Enjoy water views of the navigable canal with access to beautiful Lake Osborne! 

This updated quad-style townhome is located in the gated community of Waterside Estates in Lake Worth.  It offers 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms and has been freshly painted.  The townhouse features a fenced courtyard entry, has new shingles on the Mansard-style roof, new hurricane shutters and all new appliances.   In your free time you can go swimming or simply lounge by the sparkling lakeside pool in the center of the community.

This spacious townhome comes with two assigned parking spaces!  Have a large dog?  No problem!  They are allowed in this community.  The $575 maintenance fee is paid quarterly which comes out to a reasonably low $192 per month (when compared to similar properties).  This townhouse is being offered at $154,900.

:: View a Virtual Tour of this Lake Worth Townhouse. ::

This charming townhouse community is only about a 5-minute drive to I-95 making for an easy commute to many points north & south and only about a 10-minute drive to the beach.  It’s also very near John Prince Memorial Park which includes a boundless playground, picnic pavilions & shelters, over 35,000 feet of lake frontage, boat launching ramps, fishing piers, tennis and basketball courts, volleyball areas, a bicycle path and even a nature trail.

The New River Tunnel in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale's New River TunnelIf you’ve ever driven around the downtown Fort Lauderdale area, chances are you’ve driven through the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel, more popularly known as the New River Tunnel.  Actually, it goes under not only the New River but also Las Olas Boulevard on the north side and S. New River Dr./N. Rio Vista Blvd. on the south side.  The photo was taken at the south entrance looking north.  The buildings you see are the SunTrust building on the left and the Riverside Hotel on the right.  It’s a 4-lane tunnel and pedestrians can use it as well since there is a sidewalk on the east side.

The New River Tunnel, which took the place of an inefficient drawbridge that at times caused massive traffic jams, took just over two years to be completed and opened in December 1960.  In 1986 the tunnel was renamed in honor of Henry E. Kinney who was one of the strongest advocates for the construction of the tunnel (instead of a new drawbridge) during his time as editor of the Fort Lauderdale/Broward edition of the Miami Herald. 

TRIVIA:  Only two other underwater tunnels exist in Florida and they are in Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Pembroke Pines Florida – Recent Home Sales Prices

Pembroke Pines home sales that recently closed.Many residents of this city work in Miami-Dade County due to its proximity and live in Pembroke Pines due to it’s relative affordability and the lifestyle it offers.  If you’re in the market for an affordable single-family home in this area, you should have no problem finding one… even if you’re looking for one with a pool and/or lake views.

The real estate market conditions in South Florida of recent times has allowed for more affordable housing for anyone considering buying a home in Pembroke Pines and elsewhere.  The inventory of homes for sale in South Florida is still high, allowing for more choices for home buyers.  Additionally, mortgage rates are still at historically low levels… all something to think about if you’re still “sitting on the fence”.

Below is a sampling of recent home sale prices* in Pembroke Pines, Florida (sold/closed sales over the past 2-3 months through the date of this post).

[BR=Bedroom, BA=Bathroom, CG=Car Garage]

Recent Single-Family Home Sales Prices in Pembroke Pines, FL:

  • Brittany Bay/Silver Lakes – 3BR/2BA/2CG/Lake – $330,000
  • Chapel Lake Estates – 4BR/2.5BA/2CG – $385,000
  • Chapel Trail – 3BR/2BA/2CG – $312,000
  • Encantada – 4BR/3BA/2CG/Pool – $419,000
  • Estancia – 3BR/2BA/2CG – $305,000
  • Grand Palms – 4BR/3BA/2CG/Pool – $589,000
  • Keystone Lake – 4BR/2.5BA/2CG/Pool & Lake – $455,000
  • Laguna Isles – 3BR/2BA/2CG/Pool & Lake – $362,500
  • Pembroke Falls – 5BR/3.5BA/3CG/Pool & Lake $575,000
  • Pembroke Isles – 3BR/2.5BA/2CG – $386,250
  • Pembroke Shores – 4BR/3BA/3CG – $480,000
  • Walnut Creek – 4BR/2.5BA/2CG – $367,500

Recent Condo and Townhome Sales Prices in Pembroke Pines, FL:

  • Cedarwoods – 2BR/2BA – $198,500
  • Flamingo Villas – 4BR/3BA – $280,000
  • Malibu Bay – 3BR/2.5BA – $257,000
  • Monte Carlo Townhomes – 2BR/2.5BA/1CG – $230,000
  • Pelican Pointe – 2BR/2.5BA/1CG/Lake – $250,000
  • Pierpointe II – 2BR/1.5BA – $200,000
  • The Courtyards at Grand Palm – 3BR/2.5BA/1CG – $309,000
  • The Waterways – 3BR/2BA/1CG – $275,000

*As reported on the Southeast Florida MLS. <– View listings of South Florida homes for sale!

Lake Okeechobee Water Level Update

Southeast Florida drought conditionsJust five days after the U.S. government unveiled a new website – Drought.gov – the South Florida Water Management District announced today that “seasonal rains did not sufficiently replenish regional water supplies to meet the coming dry season’s demands.”  With Lake Okeechobee registering at 10.38 feet above sea level yesterday, it is 1.15 feet below its previous historic low for this date (26 years ago in 1981).  This time last year, the lake was 2.29 feet higher.  The SFWMD news release continues:

“Because Lake Okeechobee serves as a primary backup water supply to more than five million South Floridians in the District’s Lower East Coast, residents there must continue to observe current modified Phase II restrictions, even though local rainfall has seemed plentiful.  Residents are also encouraged to conserve water within the home to help stretch regional supplies.”  With that in mind, here are some helpful resources:

– You can get Lake Okeechobee water level updates here

– The American Red Cross offers some excellent indoor and outdoor water conservation tips

Are you water-wise?  Take the home water audit and find out! 

– Meanwhile, this list started out with 100 Water Saving Tips but somehow ended up with 111.  🙂

Broward County Events – Fair, Expo and Christmas Festivities

 ::  To view Broward County Events for DECEMBER 2007, click here.  ::

The following are upcoming Broward County events scheduled for this November.  There’s a terrific variety of events to pick from this month… you’re bound to find one you’ll want to go to!

  • Broward County FairBroward County Fair at the Fort Lauderdale Stadium (November 15-25, 2007) – over 100 rides, games and attractions!
  • Dine Out Lauderdale (October 1st-November 15, 2007) – 35 of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s top restaurants are offering 3-course menus for $35.
  • SunTrust Sunday Jazz Brunch – Riverwalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale (the first Sunday of every month from 11 a.m. -2 p.m.).  Jazz music performed on four stages along the historic New River.  Bring a picnic basket, blanket, chairs, children and even your dog! For more information call the 24-hour hotline: 954-828-5363.
  • The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a 90-minute production starring The Rockettes (November 8-December 2, 2007) – at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts
  • Fort Lauderdale Fall Home Design and Remodeling Show at the Broward County Convention Center (November 9-12, 2007) –  features a variety of vendors offering remodeling/home improvement services, interior & exterior home services, furnishings and accessories.
  • Christmas on Las OlasFestival of Trees (November 16th) at the Galleria Mall in Fort Lauderdale – trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses designed, decorated and donated by supporters of the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale and available for purchase.
  • South Florida Travel Expo at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center (November 17-18,2007) – various travel seminars, food & wine tastings, family entertainment, scuba diving lessons, and travel publications (including book signings).
  • The 42nd Annual Christmas on Las Olas (November 27, 2007) – Christmas festivities on Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale including ‘Snow Mountain’, photos with Santa, carolers, performers and lighting displays to feed the holiday spirit.  Then “Holiday Happenings” highlights this popular boulevard every Tuesday in December.

South Florida Real Estate Market Conditions – September 2007

In September 2007, all three southeast Florida metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) saw a decrease in the number of single family home and condo sales when compared to August 2007.  The Greater Fort Lauderdale area had the biggest decrease in both cases.  The overall drop in resales may be attributable to the fact that families with school-age children tend to move during the summer months in order for their children to be able to settle into their new schools before the start of the new school year.

The median sales price also dropped in all but one case, where Miami/Dade County saw an increase of about 5% in the median sales price of condos (from August to September).  This fact was somewhat surprising since Miami has had one of the largest inventories of condos for some time now.

While the numbers in the chart below will show you comparisons from one year to the next (during the same month), you’ll find that I typically comment on the month-to-month changes, so please keep that in mind as you review the information contained in the chart.

South Florida market statistics

*Median is the price at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

:: Read all my posts tagged with South Florida Real Estate Market Conditions – 2007. ::

Source (for chart numbers only): Florida Association of Realtors (F.A.R.); Commentary is © 2007 Leanne Paynter.

Can Mismatched Appliances Affect Your Home Sale?

Appliances that don't color match.Every once in a while I’ll show a home that has non-matching kitchen appliances.  To be clear, when I say “mismatched”, I’m not speaking of ones from different manufacturers but of ones that are not color-matched.  It’s rare that a buyer not notice these and comment on them as they tend to draw attention to all the appliances, making buyers often question the age of each one.  Even a new white clothes washer will undoubtedly stand out when paired with an almond-colored dryer.

The example shown in the photo came to be mismatched because the home seller got a good deal at the store on the new flat-top stove and the fact that it didn’t match the color of the other kitchen appliances wasn’t of importance to him.  Unfortunately, when a house is on the market, this type of “bargain” is likely to cost the seller more than they saved on the purchase of it.

While mismatched appliances may not affect how quickly your home sells, it will probably be a factor in the sale price of your home.  Buyers are likely to factor in the cost of new appliances, resulting in a lower purchase price offer.  After all, if you noticed as you were walking out your door that you accidentally paired a black shoe with a brown shoe, wouldn’t you go back in and change?

Tamarac Florida – Recent Home Sales Prices

Homes that sold recently in Tamarac, FL.Tamarac originally drew many retirees but has experienced a considerable change in demographics over the past 15 years, with more younger families moving in.  Anyone looking for affordable single-family homes in western Broward County will find quite a lot of them here.  There are also some very nice high-end homes in the country club/golf course communities of Woodmont and Woodlands… many of them with 3,000+ sq. ft. of interior living space.

For over 32 years, the city has also been home to University Hospital and Medical Center.  Tamarac was a winner of the national “Livable Communities for All Ages” award in 2005 and has proudly earned the National Arbor Day Foundation’s annual “Tree City USA” designation 14 times.

Below is a sampling of recent home sale prices* in Tamarac, Florida (sold/closed sales over the past three months through the date of this post).

Recent Single-Family Home Sales Prices in Tamarac, FL:

Recent Condo Sales Prices in Tamarac, FL:

*As reported on the South Florida MLS. <– Find South Florida real estate for sale!