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Business letters

Letters to the Editor
Published October 15, 2006


For those tired of speculators, housing correction is good news

Re: House values on the way down, Robert Trigaux column, Oct. 9

Your subtitle is a little misdirected. Not all Floridians "fear" an approaching decline in real-estate prices. True, homeowners may have to get used to the idea of their personal fortunes leveling off, or even declining, after astronomical increases in recent years. But there are plenty of us who do not own homes and who see the so-called correction as relief.

My son, for example, who graduated from high school just a few years ago and now works at Publix, has no chance for buying a home. None! And even if the market undergoes double-digit declines over the next few years, he still is left out of the home-buying market. Your sympathy for the poor homeowner who faces a smaller profit on the sale of his existing property because of the economic conditions might read well with Floridians who are owners. But from the growing number of us who have been alienated by investor-driven speculation in the real-estate market in the past decade (a quarter-million dollars as the median price for a new home in our state?), you might hear a rousing cheer. For us, it's about time.

Rick Crandall, St. Petersburg

Housing market isn't that bad, but insurance market is

While I agree with the overall view of your article on the housing market, wouldn't it be better to check with each of the local real estate boards you report on to get real numbers? Just a thought.

The term "crash" is a very intense term that spells gloom and doom and doesn't really help anyone other than the media sell papers. It especially doesn't help homeowners who are over their heads to feel like there might be light at the end of the tunnel and they might be able to sell their homes. Chicken Little thought the sky was falling and that's the way most articles I read lately are reporting the market.

I'm glad yours wasn't as doom and gloom, but the reality is that there are more buyers than three months ago and a flood of sellers has made it very easy for buyers to get more for their money. It would be nice to see an article focusing on the brighter side.

I would love to see someone in the media take hold of the insurance crisis. It seems insurance hikes combined with property taxes and mortgage rate hikes are a huge factor in crushing the housing market. It would be wonderful if someone would try to come up with suggestions to remedy this problem instead of just watching people on the housing bubble lose their homes. I've had to sell people's homes who were going into foreclosure because of the insurance hike. It seems nobody really cares to make a change in the insurance hikes. It's just not right that the insurance industry can do this to people and everyone just turns a blind eye. The fleecing must be stopped.

Ron Durbin Jr., Hudson

Fruits Real Estate Inc.

'Crash' might be overstating the real estate market a bit

When did you, of all people, start thinking like a stockbroker? Yes, taxes and utilities are out of control. Insurance has risen and mortgage costs are up. But this is not Ohio. The boom is over . . . but a crash? I wish I only lost 18 percent in the stock market. That was a crash.

The rule my folks taught me in the 1960s was you hold real estate three years to get your money out. I think that holds true today. If you mean the speculators and flippers, you may be 100 percent on the money. I have a minor in economics, and real estate and CPA licenses since 1979 but refrain from making radical statements. Obviously, some economists don't refrain.

Yes, the boom is over but your home and investment in well-managed real estate are not a piece of paper with a company name that can become worthless overnight.

Capt. George Moreau, Redington Shores

Blue Marlin Real Estate

Don't forget about mounting maintenance on your home

Very insightful article. I did a calculation on my property costs and I came up at just more than 40 percent of my take-home income. I would like to downsize but the tax cap prevents me from doing so. And don't forget the expenses don't stop there. I need a new pool, new kitchen cabinets and new main bathroom in this 21-year-old home in Countryside. Let's not even discuss the $26,000 roof that's looming in the distance.

I'm just glad I have a place with decent equity in it. Keep up the great work.

B. Whitehurst, Clearwater

Long term, homeowners will weather downturn just fine

I commend you for your recent article. I thought it was well written and had some good data for readers to pick from in order to draw their own conclusions about the housing market, especially in Florida.

As developers (we are based in Chicago, but have a 70-acre, 1,000-plus condo/townhome development in the West Palm Beach area), we see opportunities in this market to watch commodity prices normalize (land prices coming down to where they should be). As commodities normalize, we are bullish on Florida in the long term because there don't appear to be problems with unemployment, there isn't a problem of population decreasing (rather it is increasing rapidly), there is excellent liquidity in the financial markets, and real estate - even in its slumps - proves to be a stable investment, as this correction has demonstrated better than any other.

People would love to buy a stock that had a 50-percent runup, loses 1-2 percent on a selloff, and then starts picking up again. We still see that phenomena in the housing market.

The blip in housing is simply a supply and demand issue. As inventory burns off, we believe buyers will be looking for positive signs, and we can see a strong housing market across many parts of Florida as demand surpasses supply once again.

Every retiree, speculator, flipper or investor isn't going to make huge gains (particularly in many of the Gulf Coast areas). But no person long term is going to lose the shirt off his back, which means real estate is still a very stable investment. We just need to get all these speculators and third-tier developers driving prices up out of the market. This correction is the perfect medicine.

Bryce H. Bowman, Chicago

director of development, Randolph Equities LLC

Wind machines ugly? Catch the beauty in Pennsylvania

Re: Wind machines are nothing more than urban sprawl, letter, Oct. 1

I realize everyone is entitled to their opinion, but obviously Mr. Cusick has never seen a wind farm. Driving along a highway and seeing a long row of windmills on a distant ridge is absolutely breathtaking.

We came to Florida 37 years ago from northeastern Pennsylvania. Every year when we go back, I could spend my whole vacation sitting on my friend's porch watching the windmills on the mountain about 5 miles away. Coincidentally, those windmills are owned by Florida Power & Light. Some of the power comes to Florida - the rest goes to a pool to be bought as needed by any power company between here and there.

The scene constantly changes in the way the sunlight hits the blades. Some windmills turn while others are "turned off." There is absolutely no comparison between windmills and cell towers.

As for "urban sprawl," the closest urban area is 30 miles away. The few nearest towns have less than 10,000 people. The birds? That's just too ridiculous to talk about.

Pat Durkin, Pinellas Park

For those tired of speculators, housing correction is good news

Re: House values on the way down, Robert Trigaux column, Oct. 9

Your subtitle is a little misdirected. Not all Floridians "fear" an approaching decline in real-estate prices. True, homeowners may have to get used to the idea of their personal fortunes leveling off, or even declining, after astronomical increases in recent years. But there are plenty of us who do not own homes and who see the so-called correction as relief.

My son, for example, who graduated from high school just a few years ago and now works at Publix, has no chance for buying a home. None! And even if the market undergoes double-digit declines over the next few years, he still is left out of the home-buying market. Your sympathy for the poor homeowner who faces a smaller profit on the sale of his existing property because of the economic conditions might read well with Floridians who are owners. But from the growing number of us who have been alienated by investor-driven speculation in the real-estate market in the past decade (a quarter-million dollars as the median price for a new home in our state?), you might hear a rousing cheer. For us, it's about time.

Rick Crandall, St Petersburg

Housing market isn't that bad, but insurance market is

While I agree with the overall view of your article on the housing market, wouldn't it be better to check with each of the local real estate boards you report on to get real numbers? Just a thought.

The term "crash" is a very intense term that spells gloom and doom and doesn't really help anyone other than the media sell papers. It especially doesn't help homeowners who are over their heads to feel like there might be light at the end of the tunnel and they might be able to sell their homes. Chicken Little thought the sky was falling and that's they way most articles I read lately are reporting the market.

I'm glad yours wasn't as doom and gloom, but the reality is that there are more buyers than three months ago and a flood of sellers has made it very easy for buyers to get more for their money. It would be nice to see an article focusing on the brighter side.

I would love to see someone in the media take hold of the insurance crisis. It seems insurance hikes combined with property taxes and mortgage rate hikes are a huge factor in crushing the housing market. It would be wonderful if someone would try to come up with suggestions to remedy this problem instead of just watching people on the housing bubble lose their homes. I've had to sell people's homes who were going into foreclosure because of the insurance hike. It seems nobody really cares to make a change in the insurance hikes. It's just not right that the insurance industry can do this to people and everyone just turns a blind eye. The fleecing must be stopped.

Ron Durbin Jr., Hudson

Fruits Real Estate Inc.

'Crash' might be overstating the market a bit

When did you, of all people, start thinking like a stockbroker? Yes, taxes and utilities are out of control. Insurance has risen and mortgage costs are up. But, this is not Ohio. The boom is over ... but a crash? I wish I only lost 18 percent in the stock market. That was a crash.

The rule my folks taught me in the 1960s was you hold real estate three years to get your money out. I think that holds true today. If you mean the speculators and flippers, you may be 100 percent on the money. I have a minor in economics, a real estate and CPA license since 1979 but refrain from making radical statements. Obviously, some economists don't refrain.

Yes, the boom is over but your home and investment in well-managed real estate are not a piece of paper with a company name which can become worthless overnight.

Capt. George Moreau, Redington Shores

Blue Marlin Real Estate

Don't forget about mounting maintenance on your home

Very insightful article. I did a calculation on my property costs and I came up at just more than 40 percent of my take-home income. I would like to downsize but the tax cap prevents me from doing so. And don't forget the expenses don't stop there. I need a new pool, new kitchen cabinets and new main bathroom in this 21-year-old home in Countryside. Let's not even discuss the $26,000 roof that's looming in the distance.

I'm just glad I have a place with decent equity in it. Keep up the great work.

B. Whitehurst, Clearwater

Long-term, homeowners will do just fine

I commend you for your recent article. I thought it was well written and had some good data for the reader to pick from in order to draw their own conclusions about the housing market, especially in Florida.

As developers (we are based in Chicago, but have a 70-acre, 1,000-plus condo/townhome development in the West Palm Beach area), we see opportunities in this market to watch commodity prices normalize (land prices coming down to where they should be). As commodities normalize, we are bullish on Florida in the long term because there don't appear to be problems with unemployment, there isn't a problem of population decreasing (rather it is increasing rapidly), there is excellent liquidity in the financial markets, and real estate - even in its slumps - proves to be a stable investment, as this correction has demonstrated better than any other.

People would love to buy a stock that had a 50-percent runup, loses 1-2 percent on a selloff, and then starts picking up again. We still see that phenomena in the housing market.

The blip in housing is simply a supply and demand issue. As inventory burns off, we believe buyers will be looking for positive signs, and we can see a strong housing market across many parts of Florida as demand surpasses supply once again.

Every retiree, speculator, flipper or investor isn't going to make huge gains (particularly in many of the Gulf coast areas). But no person long term is going to lose the shirt off his back, which means real estate is still a very stable investment. We just need to get all these speculators and third-tier developers driving prices up out of the market. This correction is the perfect medicine.

Bryce H. Bowman, Chicago

Director of development, Randolph Equities LLC

Wind machines ugly? Catch the beauty in Pennsylvania

Re: Wind machines are nothing more than urban sprawl, letter, Oct. 1

I realize everyone is entitled to their opinion, but obviously Mr. Cusick has never seen a wind farm. Driving along a highway and seeing a long row of windmills on a distant ridge is absolutely breathtaking.

We came to Florida 37 years ago from northeastern Pennsylvania. Every year when we go back, I could spend my whole vacation sitting on my friend's porch watching the windmills on the mountain about 5 miles away. Coincidentally, those windmills are owned by Florida Power & Light. Some of the power comes to Florida - the rest goes to a pool to be bought as needed by any power company between here and there.

The scene constantly changes in the way the sunlight hits the blades. Some windmills turn while others are "turned off." There is absolutely no comparison between windmills and cell towers.

As for "urban sprawl," the closest urban area is 30 miles away. The few nearest towns have less than 10,000 people. The birds? That's just too ridiculous to talk about.

Pat Durkin, Pinellas Park

SHARE YOUR OPINIONS

Letters for publication in the Sunday business section should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be published.

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For those tired of speculators, housing correction is good news

[Last modified October 14, 2006, 23:19:57]


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