Real Estate: 2010 Year in Review

A summary of important news and events in the Palm Coast/Flagler real estate market during 2010.

Palm Coast, FL – January 1, 2011 – Flagler’s 2010 real estate market for single-family homes was a repeat of 2009. The number of homes sold through MLS will end the year within a percentage point or two of the 1414 homes sold in 2009. Median selling price dropped 5.5% to $130,000. Distressed sales continued to represent about 55% of sales.
The condominium market changed substantially in 2010. Unit sales increased, prices were down, both because of an increase in the percentage of distresses properties sold. Through 11 ½ months, MLS recorded 245 condominium sales, 59% more than last year (154). The median condo selling price dropped 26.5% to $172,000 from $234,000 in 2009. Distressed sales accounted for 47.3% this year; only 31.2% last year.
The other big stories affecting Palm Coast real estate:
Foreclosure Documentation Crisis

The foreclosure documentation crisis interrupted a housing market that was beginning to show some strength. The lack of valid loan documents throws into question the validity of thousands of foreclosures. There is no easy solution. This problem will be with us a long time to resolve. Its complexity and broad impact has not been fully appreciated.

Judges have increasingly thrown out foreclosures when the lender was unable to prove they owned the mortgage and note. Valid documents are required. But the problem does not stop with foreclosures. Short sales and even traditional uncontested sales transactions may be suspect. What if the lender who accepted the final closeout balance and released the mortgage lien was not really the lender who owned the note and mortgage? Title insurance companies are becoming very nervous.

Bobby Ginn Is Out

Lubert-Adler replaced Bobby with new operations and development partners. The Ginn brand has been retired. The Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast remains the healthiest of all the former Ginn assets, but locally, the Conservatory and Yacht Harbor Village continue to flounder while the Gardens and Bulow Creek remain dormant. Both Bobby and Lubert-Adler face continuing legal challenges from several lawsuits.

Ginn-LA’s legal challenges come not only from disgruntled property owner/investors but from Bankruptcy Trustee Drew Dillworth. Dillworth continues his dogged effort to recover millions from Ginn-LA that he alleges were fraudulently transferred from the bankrupted Tesoro and Quail West developments.


Lubert-Adler wants approval to build more condos or a hotel at Hammock Beach. The Notice of Potential Change (NOPC) plans place the new structure on golf course property, blocking some residents’ views. Both residents and the county oppose the NOPC. An ongoing legal challenge will play out early next year.

Chinese Drywall

Palm Coast dodged the Chinese drywall crisis. Thousands of homes, mostly in the south, are uninhabitable because of sulfur gases emitted from defective drywall, mostly from China. Remediation runs more than $100,000 per house. Fortunately, there are only two confirmed cases in Flagler County.

Crescent Resources Bankruptcy Sales

Crescent Resources emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The downsized company is selling off its Florida and Georgia real estate assets, including four local golf courses; Grand Haven and the Grand Club (Pines, Cypress, and the closed Matanzas course). All were under contract at one time but the sales fell through.

New Stores and Restaurants

The much anticipated 14-screen Epic Theater opened in Town Center. The iconic Blue Roof Real Estate Sales building was razed. A new CVS Pharmacy is under construction on the site, opposite a new ABC Liquor Store. A Dunkin Donuts was erected in Town Center where construction is also underway on an Olive Garden and Red Lobster.  

Roads Widened
The widening of Belle Terre Parkway and a portion of Old Kings Road is complete. Walmart closed on the purchase of land fronting the widened Old Kings Road where it plans to begin construction on a new SuperCenter.

Economic Development

MH Operations began outfitting its new hose manufacturing plant at the Flagler County Airport, where they plan to hire 125 workers and build a new production facility soon.
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