Florida Palm Coast Flagler September Real Estate Newsletter

Steady as she goes. Project Continental news coming soon.

Palm Coast, Florida – September 7, 2008 – Palm Coast, Florida’s August real estate market continued a trend that has held fairly steady since the first of the year. Home prices and sales volume are holding steady. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were bailed out by the Federal Government over this past weekend. Hammock Beach developer Bobby Ginn’s debt restructuring negotiations have gone on for so long that he has fallen off most people’s radar (more). Hammock Dunes condo builder WCI Communities filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy law (more). "Project Continental" is about to grab center stage.
August closings were down a little from expectations but I attribute that to Tropical Storm Fay. Many of you may not be aware that insurance companies suspend issuing property coverage in advance of an impending storm. The total number of single-family homes sold in Flagler County through MLS was 103 vs.135 last August. But 39 homes have already sold (closed) in the first week of September compared to only 75 in the entire month of September a year ago. We need 107 September home sales for the third quarter ’08 to match the third quarter ’07. Barring another storm, I believe we will exceed that number.
Lender-owned properties (19) accounted for 18% of sales while short sales accounted for 23 (22%).

Generally, short sales seem to be increasing in number. Some of the local title companies have increased the odds that a short sale will be accepted by lenders. These companies have learned to understand the package of information required and the processes used by lenders. Realtors using these services report that fewer short sales are being rejected.
While some parts of Florida fared poorly during the heavy downpours generated by Tropical Storm Fay, Palm Coast suffered not. The city’s storm water management system, comprised of swails, cross ditches, and canals performed as designed, handling over a foot of water. Flooding was not an issue here. Neither was wind. Though the storm passed directly over the county, only minor damage was reported,.
The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stories will be told in detail by financial reporters. Suffice it to say, unless you are a stockholder in either company, you should probably feel good about the government’s move. Fannie and Freddie provide the liquidity needed for a healthy mortgage industry which, in turn, contributes to a healthy housing market. (Freddie FAQs)  (Fannie Mae FAQs)
I am tired of hearing about the dampening affects of "high" interest rates on the housing market. When I purchased my home in Palm Coast in 2000, the 7% interest rate seemed low at the time. Although rates have climbed from record lows a few years ago, they remain historically low.
Owners of Ginn and WCI Communities properties should be sure to follow the stories of each developer as they unfold. Their outcome could have some impact on the cost of continued ownership of your property and its value going forward.
  • How will WCI’s bankruptcy status affect their ability to meet obligations to the Hammock Dunes associations and to the Hammock Dunes Club? An $85,000 check has already been returned unpaid (story).
  • If Ginn’s efforts to improve cash flow are not successful, how will present club members be impacted? Will service levels drop? Will dues increase?
Project Continental, the biggest story, has yet to be told. The City of Palm Coast, Flagler County, Enterprise Flagler, and the State of Florida are immersed in final negotiations to attract a new business to our area (more). When originally reported, the number of jobs at stake was 700. I’ve since seen correspondence that the number could be more than twice that. There is no question that a successful conclusion to these negotiations would profoundly affect our area forever. Through the multiplier effect, many additional jobs would be created. Housing demand would quickly rise. But most importantly, our property tax base would move toward a more balanced position.

We have been insulated from property tax increases over the past 7 years by the value of new construction, but the growth in government spending has far outstripped population growth. If growth ceased, our taxes would rise because residential property inhabitants demand more in governmental services than they contribute in taxes. Industry, on the other hand, demands far less. Their tax dollars go so much further.
Project Continental will become public very soon. We might be rejoicing and congratulating our public servants on a job well done. Or we might be shaking our heads wondering what went wrong. Let’s hope for the former. I think both the county and the city are better prepared to handle the growth issues that would face us.

1 reply
  1. George Edward Chuddy
    George Edward Chuddy says:

    ICDC’s Buildings in the Palm Coast Industrial Park

    Hello Toby:
    Our life has always been so rich and full so we seldom went over to the Palm Coast Industrial Park area. However, we always thought that Wittemann owned the 1,25 Million Dollar Building, yet, Al Smolen says they are ‘tenants’. Then he references a 25,000 sq. ft. building building shell. Are these the same buildings? or are there two or more bldgs. that ICDC had *ready* to entice Businesses to relocate here?
    We’ve copied the Newsletter so you can see what we are referencing:
    If there are more bldgs, won’t that better help and entice more for Project Continental and even other New Industry Businesses to relocate here? BTW, is ITT Transportaion Deistribution Service Center still here or what?
    Dear Palm Coaster,
    It seems every year gets better at Palm Coast and 1979 was a year of solid accomplishment. A brief look at the year in retrospect will explain why I feel that way.
    Early last year Palm Coast Shopping Center saw five businesses open and in April, Publix Supermarket held its grand opening. Today there are 17 tenants in the shopping center, with more on the way.
    The East Flagler Service District was activated in April. This was a giant step towards Palm Coast having one uniform governmental entity.
    The Palm Coast Industrial Park gained a new tenant with the decision by the Wittemann Company of Buffalo, New York, to relocate here. We also began construction of a 25,000 square foot building shell, which we will finish to suit a tenant, and thus provide a competitive delivery date for new industry.
    A new ITT subsidiary ITT Transportation Distribution Service Center, established its headquarters in Palm Coast.
    Another busy element was the religioius sector of Palm Coast. The Mother Seton Catholic Church was dedicated in May. Temple Beth Shalom is under construction and the United Presbyterians and United Methodists are both planning to build houses of worship.
    The 200 member Italian American Club helf its annual Festa in the Spring, and the club purchased an acre of land where the clubhouse will eventually be built.
    The amenities in Palm Coast continue to expand with the new Swim and Racquest Club completed in December 1979, the expansion of the Marina facilities nearing completion , and out second 18 hole golf course, which was designed by Armond Palmer and Ed Seay, is under construction and due for completion by the end of December 1980.
    Sepaking of golf, Nancy Lopez has continued to represent Palm Coast well by leading the LPGA in wins. Nancy will also purchase one of the new Fairways Condominiums nearing completion , along the 17th Fairway.
    The capacities of the water treatment plant and the wastewater treatment plant were expanded last year. The water plant tripled its capacity and the wastewater plant doubled its capacity. Not only de we have good water in Palm Coast, but the water service we provide had a direct bearing on the reduction of fire insurance rates for residents of the Palm Coast Fire District – a savings for everyone in the District.
    Another highlight last year was the opening of Daytona Beach Community College Flagler Center in the Palm Coast Shopping Center. With nearly 400 students from all parts of the Country, the center has already outgrown its facilities and may soon be expanding to a second building in the shopping center.
    Continuing in education, ICDC again last year awarded a 1,000 scholarship to a Flagler Palm Coast High School graduating senior.
    A middle school has been recommended by the State, and ICDC has donated 20 acres of land to the School Board for the school site with an option to purchase an additional 10 acres if needed.
    Our postal service grew again last year. The new Palm Coast Post Office opened in March and began home delivery service in November.
    Construction of new homes was brisk last year, nearing the 300 mark. Our new model home center opened in the Woodlands featuring homes by Palm Coast Construction Company, Brattlof Construction Company and Red Carpet Development.
    The models are open in our new 200 unit condominium being constructed along the 16th and 17th golf course fairways, and units are available for sale in the states where we are registered.
    After many months of planning the I-95 interchange moved closer to reality. Constuction should begin by early 1980.
    Tournaments were much in evidence last year. First, The Nancy Lopez Pro-Am was held in February, followed by the Florida PGA Tournament of Champions . In June, The Colgate/PalmCoast World Mixed Team Championship was won be Lee Trevino and Nancy Lopez. The Michelob Light/Palm Coast Pro-Am Tennis Championships were played at our tennis complex. Out Touring pro Tom Gullikson, who is building a new home in Palm Coast played an exciting exhibition match with another outstanding pro Marty Riesssen.
    Approximately 6,000 homesites were completed by the end of 1979. In addition to all committed improvements, these homesites have central sewer facilities.
    All in all, it was a tremendous year in PalmCoast, and we look forward to 1980 and the beginning of Palm Coast’s second 10 years, Sincerely, Alan Smolen President EXEC1/B
    ( We copied the entire Newsletter so that the 2008 Palm Coast Pioneers can have a sense of place through words now, and how things got started in the 100,000+ Acre , largest Planned Community – New Town – in the United States, We hope you enjoy this moment of early History )

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