Touchton Road Park Update

30 03 2006

City Council Member Suzanne Jenkings held a town hall meeting for area residents along Touchton Road on 3/26/06 at Hogan Spring Elementary school. The discussion was about the widening of Touchton Road project which is one of 22 construction projects as part of the Better Jacksonville Plan. Project on Touchton Road from Belfort Road to Southside Boulevard is expected to have two lanes with road median, sidewalks, roundabouts, trees lined street, pavement lightings and a 42.55 acres park planned in the northeast quadrant of Touchton Road and Southside Blvd intersection. The City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department will handle the planning and design for the park located at 8551 Touchton Road, Jacksonville, FL 32216. Majority of the votes from area residents were in favor of the roundabout concepts as a mean to alleviate traffic digestion and auto accidents. Five roundabouts with trees were proposed in front of the entrances to each residential communities. I supported the idea as it will help maintain and improve the value of homes in our neighborhood.





Touchton Road Park Update

29 03 2006

City Council Member Suzanne Jenkings held a town hall meeting for area residents along Touchton Road on 3/26/06 at Hogan Spring Elementary school. The discussion was about the widening of Touchton Road project which is one of 22 construction projects as part of the Better Jacksonville Plan. Project on Touchton Road from Belfort Road to Southside Boulevard is expected to have two lanes with road median, sidewalks, roundabouts, trees lined street, pavement lightings and a 42.55 acres park planned in the northeast quadrant of Touchton Road and Southside Blvd intersection. The City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department will handle the planning and design for the park located at 8551 Touchton Road, Jacksonville, FL 32216. Majority of the votes from area residents were in favor of the roundabout concepts as a mean to alleviate traffic digestion and auto accidents. Five roundabouts with trees were proposed in front of the entrances to each residential communities. I supported the idea as it will help maintain and improve the value of homes in our neighborhood.





St. Johns Town Center to Open Second Phase

27 03 2006

Serious shoppers know that there’s only one place in Northeast Florida that you can find an Apple Store, Sephora and Swoozie’s: at the St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville.

The presence of such “one-in-a-market” boutiques have fueled sales at the 107-store Southside plaza since it opened March 2005, luring customers from as far as Tallahassee and Savannah, Ga. Lines to eat at The Cheesecake Factory or Maggiano’s Little Italy still are common for dinner, and new businesses (like a ProntoWash franchise in the middle of the mall’s parking lot) have opened within the year.

Ben Carter Properties and Simon Property Group own the center, whose 110 or so stores include about 40 retailers new to town. Construction of the open-air mall’s second phase of 50 stores will start on May 1, with tentative opening dates scheduled for August 2007. Carter and Simon plan to bring in 48 new retailers along with four new upscale restaurants. Carter won’t confirm the names that are circulating: Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Urban Outfitters, Kenneth Cole, Cole Haan, BCBG, Burberry and Brooks Brothers.

St. Johns Town Center can fit at least two more department stores, and Carter said last week that he remains “very focused” on Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. He said they’re interested, but busy in other areas. “We are probably the last market they would do in Florida,” he said.

High-end was a niche that needed filling in the area, said Ed Jankowski, chief operating officer of Solstice. Solstice sells designer sunglasses that you probably shouldn’t bother with if you need to look at the price tag before buying something. Jankowski said the St. Johns Town Center Solstice had the highest volume of first-year sales than any of the company’s other 55 stores in the country. He said another Jacksonville store is set to open in June at The Avenues, also a Simon-owned mall.

“Jacksonville was so under-penetrated,” Jankowski said. “From a retailer’s point of view, it’s just a tremendous center. It’s like a mecca [for shopping.]”

Source: Florida-Times Union





St. Johns Town Center to Open Second Phase

26 03 2006

Serious shoppers know that there’s only one place in Northeast Florida that you can find an Apple Store, Sephora and Swoozie’s: at the St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville.

The presence of such “one-in-a-market” boutiques have fueled sales at the 107-store Southside plaza since it opened March 2005, luring customers from as far as Tallahassee and Savannah, Ga. Lines to eat at The Cheesecake Factory or Maggiano’s Little Italy still are common for dinner, and new businesses (like a ProntoWash franchise in the middle of the mall’s parking lot) have opened within the year.

Ben Carter Properties and Simon Property Group own the center, whose 110 or so stores include about 40 retailers new to town. Construction of the open-air mall’s second phase of 50 stores will start on May 1, with tentative opening dates scheduled for August 2007. Carter and Simon plan to bring in 48 new retailers along with four new upscale restaurants. Carter won’t confirm the names that are circulating: Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Urban Outfitters, Kenneth Cole, Cole Haan, BCBG, Burberry and Brooks Brothers.

St. Johns Town Center can fit at least two more department stores, and Carter said last week that he remains “very focused” on Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. He said they’re interested, but busy in other areas. “We are probably the last market they would do in Florida,” he said.

High-end was a niche that needed filling in the area, said Ed Jankowski, chief operating officer of Solstice. Solstice sells designer sunglasses that you probably shouldn’t bother with if you need to look at the price tag before buying something. Jankowski said the St. Johns Town Center Solstice had the highest volume of first-year sales than any of the company’s other 55 stores in the country. He said another Jacksonville store is set to open in June at The Avenues, also a Simon-owned mall.

“Jacksonville was so under-penetrated,” Jankowski said. “From a retailer’s point of view, it’s just a tremendous center. It’s like a mecca [for shopping.]”

Source: Florida-Times Union





Florida’s existing home sales ease in February

25 03 2006

Rising inventory levels and still-low mortgage rates continued to affect Florida’s housing market, which is adjusting to a better balance between buyers and sellers following a five-year run of record-pace sales. Statewide, sales of single-family existing homes totaled 13,539 in February compared to 16,916 homes a year ago, for a 20 percent decrease, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR).

Realtors from across the state report that the supply of homes available for sale in their markets is improving, offering buyers more housing opportunities. The statewide median price for single-family existing homes last month was $244,200, up 24 percent from the February 2005 statewide median of $197,700.

In February 2001, the statewide median sales price was $118,200, which shows an increase of about 106 percent over the five-year period, according to FAR records. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.

In California, the statewide median resales price in January 2006 was $551,300; in New York, it was $319,000; in Maryland, it was $290,776; and in North Carolina, the average resales price was $206,788. Nationally, the median sales price for existing single-family homes in January was $210,500, up 13.1 percent from January 2005.

Sales of existing condominiums in Florida also decreased last month, with a total of 4,342 condos sold statewide compared to 5,643 in February 2005 for a 23 percent decline, according to FAR. The statewide median sales price for condos rose 11 percent to $218,700 last month; a year ago, it was $197,000. The national median existing condo price was $216,900 in January 2006.

Along with the University of Florida Real Estate Research Center, the Florida Association of Realtors began compiling data on closed condo sales for comparison purposes in 2005; the condo data series began in January 2006.

Favorable mortgage rates continued to spark buyers’ interest in markets across the state. Last month, interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.25 percent, up from the 5.63 percent average rate in February 2005. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among the state’s larger markets, the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) reported a total of 1,200 single-family existing homes sold in the area in February compared to 1,218 homes a year ago for a 1 percent decrease. The median sales price rose 14 percent to $196,200; a year ago, it was $171,800.

Kay Seitzinger, president of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors and assistant manager with Watson Realty Corp. in Ponte Vedra, says a convenient location, employment opportunities and appealing lifestyle attract people to the Jacksonville area.

“The continued strong market we are having here in Northeast Florida is considerably influenced by our area’s stable economy,” she says. “With our diverse business base and positive job outlook, people continue to relocate to the greater Jacksonville area. Add to that our great quality of life — with so many arts and leisure activities, who wouldn’t want to live here?”

As for smaller markets in Florida, the Tallahassee MSA, reported strong resales activity last month with a total of 330 single-family homes changing hands compared to 298 homes a year ago for an increase of 11 percent. The area’s median sales price rose 15 percent to $185,800; a year ago, it was $161,300.

Kenny Ayers, president of the Tallahassee Board of Realtors and new-home specialist with Heritage Homes Realty of Tallahassee representing Turner Heritage Homes, notes that the area’s changing seasons and friendly community appeal to many homebuyers.

“As the state capital, we have a lot of job opportunities with the government and state offices, plus three big universities and colleges,” he says. “The Tallahassee area is convenient to the coast and offers a nice mix of art and cultural activities along with a laid-back, friendly lifestyle.”

Source: Florida Association of Realtors





Florida’s existing home sales ease in February

24 03 2006

Rising inventory levels and still-low mortgage rates continued to affect Florida’s housing market, which is adjusting to a better balance between buyers and sellers following a five-year run of record-pace sales. Statewide, sales of single-family existing homes totaled 13,539 in February compared to 16,916 homes a year ago, for a 20 percent decrease, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR).

Realtors from across the state report that the supply of homes available for sale in their markets is improving, offering buyers more housing opportunities. The statewide median price for single-family existing homes last month was $244,200, up 24 percent from the February 2005 statewide median of $197,700.

In February 2001, the statewide median sales price was $118,200, which shows an increase of about 106 percent over the five-year period, according to FAR records. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.

In California, the statewide median resales price in January 2006 was $551,300; in New York, it was $319,000; in Maryland, it was $290,776; and in North Carolina, the average resales price was $206,788. Nationally, the median sales price for existing single-family homes in January was $210,500, up 13.1 percent from January 2005.

Sales of existing condominiums in Florida also decreased last month, with a total of 4,342 condos sold statewide compared to 5,643 in February 2005 for a 23 percent decline, according to FAR. The statewide median sales price for condos rose 11 percent to $218,700 last month; a year ago, it was $197,000. The national median existing condo price was $216,900 in January 2006.

Along with the University of Florida Real Estate Research Center, the Florida Association of Realtors began compiling data on closed condo sales for comparison purposes in 2005; the condo data series began in January 2006.

Favorable mortgage rates continued to spark buyers’ interest in markets across the state. Last month, interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.25 percent, up from the 5.63 percent average rate in February 2005. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among the state’s larger markets, the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) reported a total of 1,200 single-family existing homes sold in the area in February compared to 1,218 homes a year ago for a 1 percent decrease. The median sales price rose 14 percent to $196,200; a year ago, it was $171,800.

Kay Seitzinger, president of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors and assistant manager with Watson Realty Corp. in Ponte Vedra, says a convenient location, employment opportunities and appealing lifestyle attract people to the Jacksonville area.

“The continued strong market we are having here in Northeast Florida is considerably influenced by our area’s stable economy,” she says. “With our diverse business base and positive job outlook, people continue to relocate to the greater Jacksonville area. Add to that our great quality of life — with so many arts and leisure activities, who wouldn’t want to live here?”

As for smaller markets in Florida, the Tallahassee MSA, reported strong resales activity last month with a total of 330 single-family homes changing hands compared to 298 homes a year ago for an increase of 11 percent. The area’s median sales price rose 15 percent to $185,800; a year ago, it was $161,300.

Kenny Ayers, president of the Tallahassee Board of Realtors and new-home specialist with Heritage Homes Realty of Tallahassee representing Turner Heritage Homes, notes that the area’s changing seasons and friendly community appeal to many homebuyers.

“As the state capital, we have a lot of job opportunities with the government and state offices, plus three big universities and colleges,” he says. “The Tallahassee area is convenient to the coast and offers a nice mix of art and cultural activities along with a laid-back, friendly lifestyle.”

Source: Florida Association of Realtors





Flagler County is fastest growing once again

17 03 2006

Flagler County, located along the Atlantic Coast between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, was the fastest-growing county in the nation for the second year in a row with a 10.7 percent population increase from July 1, 2004, to July 1, 2005, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Flagler, with 76,410 residents, also led the nation with a 53 percent population increase since Census 2000. Florida has 14 of the 100 fastest-growing counties from 2004 to 2005, according to the estimates, even though four hurricanes struck the state in 2004. Along with Flagler, those counties are: Osceola, Lake, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Pasco, Walton, Lee, Wakulla, Collier, Santa Rosa, Clay, Hernando and Sumter.

For more information, go to http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/006563.html

Source: FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS








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