Historic District Jacksonville, Florida

  

PAGE 14


RESIDENT COMMUNITY NEWS


NOVEMBER 2015


Low inventory in Historic District means seller's market


By Lorrie DeFrank Resident Community News

A strong real estate market is a sure sign that people like living in Jacksonville's historic neighborhoods of Riverside, Avondale, Ortega and Murray Hill. Realtors throughout the Historic District agree its well-built charming homes are in huge demand. The trendy lifestyle also plays a big role in keeping prices up and inventory down.

"Riverside/Avondale received a lot of national publicity for its diversity and walkability. It's a great neighborhood to live in. And they're not really building there anymore other than on the occasional infill lot," said Lee Norville, real estate broker with Norville Realty, Inc. He attributes the favorable market to high demand, a turnaround of the economy, low interest rates and home prices on the upswing.

By the numbers

Compared to a year ago, monthly statistics have improved across Northeast Florida, with sales in the Historic District significantly exceeding regional averages. The following Northeast Florida Association of Realtors (NEFAR) market analysis compares the entire region - which encompasses all of Duval, Clay and Putnam counties and part of St. Johns County - with the combined historic neighborhoods of Riverside, Avondale, Ortega, Murray Hill, San Marco, San Jose and St. Nicholas. Because of its extraordinary improvement in most areas, the Riverside/Avondale/Ortega region is noted separately.

According to NEFAR, interest rates are widely predicted to go up before the end of the year - another reason for buyers to take advantage of the favorable conditions."The market is great right now, as it has been pretty much the last two years. We don't have enough inventory in the Historic District, interest rates are historically low and lenders are willing to loan," said Anne Burpee Rain, Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Inc. "So if a realtor is wise enoughto price correctly, a house sells almost immediately and gets multiple offers."

Prospective buyers who are wary of higher rates call all the time, Rain said, adding that "typically this time of year sellers slow down on listing but now is a great market and perhaps by spring rates might go up." Whether they are seeking a two-bedroom/one bath bungalow smaller than 1,000 square feet or a riverfront mansion, most buyers want properties to be ready to move into with updated electricity, plumbing and roof, Rain said. However, many are willing to do some updating just to get in the neighborhood.

Bungalows are becoming more popular with first-time buyers and young families, as well as with people who want to "rightsize," said Jane Slater, Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty. Often people who live in the district buy larger or smaller homes to fit their lifestyles without leaving the neighborhood because they enjoy its proximity to downtown and its abundance of restaurants, nightlife, shopping and parks, she said.

"There are buyers of all ages, coming from all areas of the city, and out-of-town, looking for one of our neighborhood's unique and craftsman-style bungalows," said Joy Walker, Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty. Walker said since January 1, 2015, 95 of 145 bungalows listed have sold, with another 21 under contract. "These are great numbers and they show us just how many buyers are wanting to live in a bungalow in the Riverside/Avondale Historic District!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                           Historic District people are diehards.

They love that quality

of building."

                                                                     -Missie Sarra LePrell, Re/Max Specialists


"Riverside/ Avondale received a lot of national

publicity for its diversity and walkability.

It's a great neighborhood to live in.

And they're not really building there anymore

other than on the occasional infill lot."

                                                                                      -Lee Norville, Norville Realty



Condos, rentals in high demand

"The Historic District is booming. There is not enough inventory. It's going crazy," agreed Sacha Higham, Realtor and Principal at Traditions Realty. "It always fared better during the recession. Now it's back. People want to live here for the diversity, the arts scene, the restaurants and so much else going on." .

Condo sales are also hot, Higham said, and like single-family dwellings in the Historic District, inventory is low. He said rental units also are in high demand. "The rental market is going up so dramatically it's mind-blowing. We don't have enough inventory for sales or rentals," Higham said. "It's a seller's market. Homes are definitely going up. If they are priced right and in great condition, they move. We're getting into multiple bidding again."

With interest rates and inventory so low, houses priced in the $200,000s and $300,000s are moving quickest, but higher-end homes also are going in days, he said.

Missie Sarra LePrell, Broker Associate, Re/Max Specialists, agrees that variables in the real estate market in the Historic District are numerous - from empty nesters moving into smaller homes to people in good-sized homes moving into their dream homes on the water. Most are particular about updated electricity and plumbing as well as remodeled kitchens and baths.

                                                                                        "The market is great right now, as it has been                                                             

                                                                     pretty much the last two years. We don't have

                                                                     enough inventory in the Historic District,

                                                                     interest rates are historically low and lenders are

                                                                     willing to loan, so if a realtor is wise enough

                                                                     to price correctly, a house sells almost

                                                                     immediately and gets multiple offers'

                                                          -Anne Burpee Rain, Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty

"People have different tastes but they know where they want to be," she said. "Historic District people are diehards. They love that quality of building."

Ortega resident Fred Miller knows all about that. CEO of Fred Miller Group Realtors, he has lived in the Historic District since the early 1940s and has seen generations of families raised there. Miller maintains that a big draw is the architecture dating to the early 1900s. "Things were generally very well built then, all done by hand," he said. "Many of those homes are still standing today."

"Homes with the shortest time on the market are those that are nicely renovated, updated with modern amenities and in good condition," said Anita Vining, Realtor, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty. "Those that require more work need to be priced very aggressively for a niche market and need someone with expendable cash."

Vining believes people are attracted to the district because of its "urban feel -walkability in neighborhoods, shops and dining, and convenience to downtown."

Because of an overall rejuvenation of the area - particularly Riverside, Avondale and San Marco - an increasing number of historic homes built before 1930 have been purchased and renovated recently, said Jeff Chefan, principal CEO and managing broker for Manormor Sotheby's International Realty. More young professionals are drawn to the walkability of the Historic District and the liveliness of such areas as 5 Points, he said.The residential, shopping and entertainment explosion of the Riverside/Brooklyn area that includes the new Unity Plaza amphitheater and urban park is not only exciting to current residents of the Historic District but also is causing folks around the city to consider moving there.

Rain foresees the transformation of the once-blighted Brooklyn as a connector between downtown and the neighborhoods of Riverside, Avondale and Murray Hill.

Making a strong resurgence, Murray Hill is benefitting from the proximity of the Riverside/Brooklyn attractions, not to mention the new businesses -including trendy bars and shops - and housing renewal on its own streets.

"There's been a lot of flipping and new construction in Murray Hill, which is improving the overall quality of the neighborhood," said Rain. "Young buyers who can't afford Riverside and Avondale are starting to move in."

Rain believes the strength of the real estate market in the Historic District bolsters the city's overall economy. "Our Historic District anchors the heart of the city and supports mom and pop shops and locally owned stores that are vital to our community," she said. She encourages sellers to get their houses on the market before the end of the year and a potential shift in interest rates. "Buyers are out there for homes in all price ranges."

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