2009 Riverside and Avondale Condo Sales Nearly Even with 2008

condo sales graph
Click Here to see Graph

In 2007, there were 18 Condominium Sales in Avondale, Ortega and Riverside. In 2008, there were 21 and so far this year (2009) there have been 18 with 3 more pending. The sale prices of the units has fallen quite a bit but, as you can see, the total number of units sold has been surprisingly steady.

A bright spot on the landscape has been Villa Riva – 5 of the 18 sales this year have been at this premiere building in Riverside — that’s a healthy 27% of the total sales year to date. 4 of the 18 sales have been at a building called 1661 Riverside which puts it at a close second with 22% of the sales. The third largest seller has been a waterfront building called Beau Rivage in Avondale that’s had 3 sales or 16% of the market.

For more information about the condo market in the Avondale, Ortega and Riverside areas, please call us for a list of inventory and what we think are the best values in today’s market. We know these buildings inside and out. We can tell you which units have the best views, which buildings have a great management team and other important details about the various buildings in the area.

Thanks for reading, please join me for my next discussion of real estate in the Avondale, Ortega and Riverside neighborhoods.

Whiteway Delicastessen – Great Sandwiches for those “In The Know”

sammy whiteway
Sammy Salem - Whiteway Deli Owner

When we moved to Jacksonville, FL one of the FIRST places I was taken by my new neighbor, Gina Donahoo, was Whiteway Deli. Gina said  it’s a local “institution” with the BEST sandwiches – so off we went and I quickly became a Whiteway devotee.

A favorite among Avondale,  Ortega and Riverside locals, Whiteway is a place where you’ll ALWAYS see tons of people you know and consistently get great food.

Served inside pita pockets, most of the sandwiches feature tabouli which has Middle Eastern origins. It’s made with parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, cracked wheat, lemon juice and olive oil – delicious!

Many of the sandwiches are named for locals. The Anne Beard, for example, has turkey, tabouli, feta cheese, banana peppers and Italian dressing and is one of the best sellers. Wrapped in old fashioned “deli paper” the sandwiches have timeless appeal.

A breakfast favorite is the Emmet special.  Named for Judge Emmet Ferguson the dish is an egg white omelet with bacon and tabouli served in (you guessed it) a pita pocket.

Whiteway Deli is a family business that’s owned and operated by Sammy Salem. He has taken over daily operation of the place that his father bought in 1962 but that was opened in 1927 — you can bet there aren’t too many restaurants with that kind of longevity. The restaurant is now proud to count second and third generations of the same families among their loyal customers.

Open only for breakfast and lunch, the hours of operation are 7am – 3pm Monday – Friday. Get there early if you want to go for lunch because the line gets long. If you’re in a hurry, call your order in ahead of time at 904-389-0355. If you have time to sit down, the address is 1237 King Street.whiteway exterior

A favorite of the doctors and nurses from nearby St. Vincent’s Hospital, local businessmen, ladies who lunch and area old timers — nearly everyone names Whiteway as a local gem.

Thanks for reading — if you have a favorite place in the Avondale, Ortega or Riverside neighborhoods that you’d like me to blog about, please send me a note!

Extra, Extra….Read All About It!

extra-extraIn case you’re wondering who has the latest and greatest news — it’s often a realtor who specializes in your local area market. I often know about a house that’s getting ready to come on the market, a house whose price is getting ready to be reduced or about programs that lenders are getting ready to roll out that could save you a lot of money.

You might say that I have a lot of insider information. So…if you’re the kind of person who likes to know about it before it happens, then give me a call and I’ll be certain that as soon as I know it, you will too!

If you’re a loyal reader of mine (which I hope you are!) then you’ll know that I specialize in the Avondale, Ortega and Riverside neighborhoods of Jacksonville. Please join me for my next adventure in these very special neighborhoods of Jacksonville!

FORECLOSURE at 1661 Riverside – A Great Buy!

1661 RiversideI noticed a great buy (Foreclosure) on a condo at 1661 Riverside today so I ran (actually, I drove) over to have a look. It’s a 3BR/2BA unit on the 2nd floor (Unit 201) and has a large balcony.  The unit faces May Street and has a great view of Memorial Park but because it’s only on the second floor, you can only see a few slivers of the St. John’s river here and there.

1661 Riverside is an urban loft like building featuring polished concrete floors and tall ceilings with exposed duct work. The building has a total of 90 units (mostly condos with a few townhouses that have private entrances on May street) and is located in the heart of Riverside which is a vibrant walking neighborhood in Jacksonville with lots of great eateries like Zoe’s, Al’s Pizza and Moss Fire Grill. There’s also a Starbucks and a great Publix that has lots of fresh and prepared foods.

Because the building was finished just as the real estate market began to turn South, many of the units have been sold as short sales and there have been a few foreclosures. This particular unit was purchased for $470,000 and the owner had put down a $90K deposit. Just two years later, it’s now being sold for approximately half ($249K) of the original sale price! That’s a big drop in just two years. To see the few photos that were posted on unit #201 at 1661 Riverside, click here. Like many foreclosures, the unit has been stripped of all appliances and even the air handler has been taken!

Thanks for reading — If you’d like to made aware of other great deals in the Avondale, Ortega and Riverside neighborhoods, please subscribe and be the first to know as it happens!

Monday Morning Market Report – Week Ending 10/18/2009

week ending Oct 18th graph

The statistics for the week ending October 18th, 2009 appear startling at first glance but after a second look, I discovered something important.  Out of the 19 New Listings, 6 were in one condo building located at 2064 Herschel  Street. That accounts for 31% of this week’s new listings. Pending sales are also WAY UP from last week.

New Listings – 19
Price Reductions – 8
Pending Sales – 6
Closed Sales – 2

So while it seems that there were LOTS of new listings this week (which technically there were)  when you know that a developer re-listed so many units all at once, it gives you a different persepctive.

The Chelsea Lofts were built in 2007 around the same time as 1661 Riverside. Both buildings are loft style units and were attempts to ride the wave of the re-developement of the Riverside shopping district and the urban market with exposed duct work, concrete floors, open floor plans (very few walls) and tall ceilings. The saying goes that “timing is everything” and clearly, the Chelsea Lofts was a victim of bad timing.  Just as the building neared completion, the decline of the real estate market had begun. The units have been re-listed by a new realtor but at the same price as the previous listing. They are bank approved short sale which means that the agonizing wait that you often experience with short sales is not necessary and closings can be immediate. If you’d like to see one of these units, please let me know!

There is one new listing that I think deserves special attention. Located at 2764 Myra Street, this NEW construction bungalow was built by RADO (Riverside Avondale Development Organization) and is priced at only $138K or $$104 per square foot. This home is part of the Head Start to Home Ownership Program and there are income limits for buyers for this house. Attached are the income guidelines for the RADO program. If you know someone in need of a home who isn’t a high wage earner, this seems like an incredible opportunity!

gallagher living roomOn the other end of the spectrum, there is a very beautiful hougallagher back porchse located close to Timuquana Country Club at 5509 Fair Lane Drive. The house appears to be a “ranch” from the outside, but step through the front door and you are greeted by the most amazing soaring ceilings and huge fireplace. It’s really dramatic. The house is nearly 4,000 SF and on nearly an acre of land that also has lovely outdoor entertaining areas.  Walk across the street to play golf, tennis or swim in the gorgeous riverside swimming pool – membership to the club is required! The house is priced at $1,295,000.

There were two foreclosures listed this week:
2866  Sydney Street priced at $194,900 (MLS # 506199) – Darling Bungalow with some nice updates
969 Cherry Street priced at $169,900 (MLS # 506178) – Haven’t seen this one inside. I did drive by and it appears to need a good bit of work.

That’s the news for this Monday – thanks for reading. Join me for another Avondale, Ortega or Riverside adventure and keep up with what’s going on in our great neighborhood by subscribing to our blog!

Monday Morning Market Report – Week Ending 10/11/09

week ending oct. 11th graph

Well, it’s Monday evening — not morning! Sorry I’m a bit late with my weekly report but here are the stats. For the week ending 10/11/09, there were

New Listings – 10
Closed Sales – 2
Pending Sales – 1
Price Changes – 15

As I study the data, two things “jump” out at me — the (note the word “the”there’s only one this week) pending sale is a beautifully renovated two story home on College street complete with two car garage, gas cook top in the center island and steam shower. The  sellers paid $410K for it in Jan. 2007 and then did a master bath renovation.pending sale on College street

A year and a half later in July 08, they put it on the market at $449K and left it there for a year until it expired. Then, in Sept. 09, they put it on the market for $330K ($80K less than they paid + renovations) as a short sale. The asking price was only $119 per square foot — a real deal — which is what today’s buyers are looking for. End of the story? It went under contract in less than a month! Stay tuned to see what the final sales price was!

The other transaction that popped out at me was a closed sale on 1389 Belvedere in Avondale.  It was also a distressed sale and was a two story brick 4br/2ba with 2,190 square feet. It was purchased for $320K in Nov. 2004. There is no “interim” history, so we don’t know when the property fell into arrears but the bank took title to the property on 8/14/09, the property was listed for $257,900 on 8/20/09 and it was sold on 10/06/09 for $253,000 with a $10,000 contribution from the seller for closing costs and prepaids. This equates to a net selling price of $243K or $113 per square foot — and the house had a nice kitchen.1389 Belvedere Avenue

So….the moral of the story seems to be:     Distressed Property in Good Condition + Low Price = Quick Sale!

Be sure to take note of the consistently high number of Price Reductions. In the past 3 weeks that I’ve studied/provided market statistics for the Avondale, Ortega and Riverside markets, there were 12 price reductions the first week, 19 the second week and 15 this week. That’s a lot of price reductions! We see over and over again that when a property gets reduced enough and hits the “magic” number proving itself to be a tremendous value, buyers take note and there is generally an offer shortly thereafter.

Thanks for reading! Have a great week.

Some GREAT reasons NOT to shop for real estate on FSBO websites!

FSBO sign with bullet holesI recently attended a class where they told real estate agents (like me) that a great place to find potential listings is on For Sale By Owner websites. Afterall, the people who have posted their homes on these sites have publicly declared that they intend to sell their homes, they’ve gone to the time and trouble to “list” the house for sale, established a price, etc…. and (more likely than not) have figured out that people aren’t flocking to their homes for appointments and might be ready to talk with a realtor.

The idea seemed to make sense so this morning, I googled “for sale by owner” websites, pulled up the top three on the search, opened their sites and searched for homes in the zip code 32210.  Guess what — there were only 6  homes listed for sale, the majority of them have only one photo and very limited descriptions of the property. Guess what else? By contrast, there are 99 homes listed for sale on the MLS in zip code 32210. So, would you rather choose from 6 or from 99? The answer seems pretty clear.

Another important point — I quickly noticed several properties that I’m familiar with that have not only sold — they were sold months ago! For example, 2847 Doric Avenue is listed on one site for $315K — this home sold on July 31, 2009 for $275K and yet it’s still listed as actively for sale.

Another example is a home located at 4751 Apache Avenue that’s listed for $452K. This home is not only not for sale by owner, it was listed for a while by ReMax and is now listed with the Fred Miller Group for $375K.

I even saw a home in Murray Hill (1309 Lamboll) that we listed and have now sold. It closed on August 27, 2009 for $162,250. That listing stated the last time the listing was updated was 548 days ago — don’t you know that a lot has changed in the last 548 days!!!

So, it seems pretty clear. If you want the most current information about what’s for sale, how much it costs, where it’s located and other important details, work with a realtor who specializes in the neighborhood where you want to live. Don’t waste your time looking at a very limited selection of properties and chasing down ones have already been sold! And remember….working with a realtor to find a house is FREE!!!

If you register on our website allaboutavondale.com, you can create your OWN search — price, bedrooms, baths, lot size, waterfront or not, etc… and it will not only give you a CURRENT list of properties available but will also send you updates when there are new listings or price changes.

PS – If you’re a seller and reading this, you may want to reconsider listing your home on a FSBO website and call me for a FREE analysis of what your home is worth in today’s market! I can be reached at 904-252-5181 or by email at steilberg@comcast.net.

Thanks for reading – have a great day!

Monday Morning Market Report – Week Ending 10/4/09

Week ending Oct 4th sales data
Click to see graph

As I study this past week’s activity in the Avondale, Ortega and Riverside real estate  market, the thing that “jumps” out at me is the large number of price reductions. There were 19 price reductions in the past week.

 One of them was incredible. I wrote a post last week about an amazing price reduction on a piece of waterfront property on Woodmere drive. Last week it had been reduced to $675K which I thought was incredible!  It was reduced AGAIN this week to an even more amazing $599K! If anyone is out there reading my blog, PLEASE call me at 904-252-5181 about this property — it’s an amazing value!

There were 12 New Listings this week, one of which stands out as a great value. shirley avenue houseThe property is located in a very desirable little pocket called Fairfax Manor and is priced at only $178,000. The house has 4Br/2Ba’s in just over 1,300 sf and is on a 60 x 125 lot. The asking price is only $132 per square foot and it’s on Shirley Street between Herschel and Woodmere.
A 1,643 SF brick home on Shirley just sold for $190K at the end of September so there’s a “fresh” sale nearby to compare this to!

The next category we have is Closed Sales. We had 4 this week ranging from a 2,105 SF 3BR/2BA house at 1369 Hollywood Ave. that sold for $175K to a 2,064 SF 3Br/2Ba on Post Street that sold for $283K.

Finally, we had 3 Pending sales this week ranging from a 1,424 SF duplex in Riverside at 2577 Haldumar that was listed at $89,900K to an 1,897 SF 3Br/2Ba brick home at 5015 Ortega Blvd. The list price on this house was $339,900. Stay tuned to see what these houses sell for in the weeks to come!

Amazing Condo in Riverside – Villa Riva

living room 2

One of the best parts of being a realtor is getting a fantastic new listing. Having something really great to sell sure beats trying to find a buyer for the 70’s house filled with shag carpet and wallpaper everywhere. We’re proud to “shout out” about our fantastic new listing at Villa Riva.

This is an end unit which is highly coveted because you’ve got lots of extra windows and light and the floorplan is especially nice with the master suite on the river PLUS another 3BR/2.5 BA on the other side. Professionally decorated, this condo has tall ceilings, beautiful woodwork including custom built cabinetry in the Master Bedroom, Living Room and Office. The kitchen is stunning with an open plan, granite counter-tops, professional grade appliances including a gas cook-top, a center island and wine cooler. Nothing has been left out.

Villa Riva is among one of  Jacksonville’s premiere addresses.Located in the Riverside neighborhood on the West Side of town near Ortega and Avondale, Villa Riva was built in 2005 and many of the units were snapped up at pre-construction prices the day they were released to the market.

The building is divided into three towers, each with their own bank of elevators and each floor has only two residences so there’s a real sense of privacy. The building has every imaginable amenity including an incredible River front swimming pool, state of the art fitness center, guest suite, business center and other luxury common areas like the River Room where residents can meet on Thursday evenings to get to know each other.

Please call us at 904-463-1898 or 904-252-5181 for a private showing of this great new listing at Villa Riva – You’ll be impressed!

August 2009 Home Sales!

20090225141512587043000000There were 17 closed sales in the month of August ranging from $28,500 to $2,900,000. Please see the list below of the addresses, square footage and sale price.  Please note: PPSF= price per square foot!

  • 802 Acosta Street , 1,185 SF, 3BR/1BA, Sales Price $28,500(ppsf $24.05)
  • 2581 Haldumar St., 1381 SF, 3BR/1BA, Sales Price $35,000(ppsf $25.34)
  • 4676 Blount Avenue, 1121 SF, 3BR/2BA,Sale Price $94,500(ppsf  $84.00)
  • 1240 Dancy St., 882SF, 3BR,1BA, Sale Price $112,000 (ppsf $126.98)
  • 746 Ralph St.,1,475SF,3br,2ba,sale price $129,500 (ppsf $87.00)
  • 1239 Wolfe St.,1,300SF,2br,2ba,sale price $137,000 (ppsf $105.38)
  • 4368 Genoa Av.,1321SF,2br,2ba,sale price $162,000 (ppsf $122.63)
  • 1433 Talbot St.,1,300SF,3br,1ba,sale price $159,000 (ppsf $122.31)
  • 1266 Cherry St.,1,160SF,3br,2ba,sale price $205,000 (ppsf $176.72)
  • 1220 Cherry St.,1,556 SF, 3br,1ba,sale price $194,000 (ppsf $124.68)
  • 2237 Myra St .,2,218SF,3br,1.5,sale price $190,000 ( ppsf $85.66)
  • 4637 Princess Anne Ln,2,150SF,3br,2.5ba,sale price $272,500 (ppsf $126.74)
  • 2823 Forbes St.,1992 SF,4br,2ba,sale price $260,000 ( ppsf $130.52)
  • 1686 Woodmere Dr.,1615SF,3br,2ba,sale price $265,000 (ppsf $164.09)
  • 2103 Ernest St.,2,640SF,3br,2.5ba,sale price $299,900 (ppsf $109.81)
  • 5058 Ortega Forest Drive,4br,5ba,sale price $865,000 (Waterfront-ppsf $194.73)
  • 4593 Ortega Blvd .,6,900 SF, 5br,6ba,$2,900,000 (Waterfront – ppsf $420.29))

As you can see, the prices and price per square foot vary widely. In my opinion, the house on Myra Street that sold for $190,000 was an amazing deal! It had tall ceilings, beautiful detail in the woodwork, a large backyard, a decent kitchen and a renovated bathroom. It also offered walking distance to the great Five Points area.  Stay tuned for more stats next month!