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Archive for July, 2010

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Saw this article last week and thought I’d pass it along. Florida has been hit hard by the economic and housing crises, and Sarasota hasn’t been exempt, but it isn’t all gloom and doom. Laurel Park residents know they live in a special place, and apparently the word is getting out.

Local home sales hit post-boom high in June

by Duane Marsteller

Tax credits? What tax credits?

The Bradenton-Sarasota housing market showed no ill effects from the expiration of federal homebuyer tax credits, with sales of previously occupied homes hitting their highest point since the building boom, according to figures released Thursday.

A total of 1,068 existing single-family homes changed hands in June, the most since August 2005, the Florida Realtors trade association said. It also was the fourth consecutive month of 1,000-plus sales, something that also hasn’t happened in five years.

“That’s just absolutely phenomenal,” said Cindy Greco, the Manatee Association of Realtors’ president and an agent with Wagner Realty.

June’s figure was 3.8 percent higher than May’s 1,029 sales, Florida Realtors said. The June tally was even better than a year ago, when 789 homes changed owners.

Local prices also were up, but not by as much. The median sales price — the point where half sold for more and half for less — was $170,400 last month, up from $166,400 in May and $162,700 in June 2009, according to the trade group.

The data reflects closings, which usually occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are signed.

Thus, the June figures captured some buyers receiving federal tax credits of up to $8,000 that boosted home sales this year. Buyers had until April 30 to have signed sales contracts and initially had to close their purchases by June 30, but now have until Sept. 30 thanks to a last-minute extension by Congress.

While the credit helped spur sales locally, Greco said low prices and historically low mortgage interest rates were bigger factors behind the June sales lift. Home prices have fallen as foreclosures, short sales and distressed properties continue to dominate the market.

“This is our new normal,” Greco said. “Good sales, good prices that people can afford.”

continue reading at bradenton.com

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Summer is the slow season here in Southwest Florida. The heat and humidity can make napping on the hammock seem like a full day’s work. But for those not lulled into a heat coma until the snowbirds return Selby Library and its sister branches have plenty of activities lined up. On today’s schedule:

It’s Storytime at Jacaranda Library

Ask Jack

Reading Fur Fun

Lap Sit & Baby Rhyme and Sign

Teen Drama Camp

Summer Video Lecture Series

And Fridays are slow days! A review in Tampa365 exclaims, “The Selby Public Library in Sarasota is a great place to escape the heat of the day with free Wi-Fi, plenty of reading areas, and a humungous aquarium to entertain kids and adults alike.” The Sarasota County Library System has eight branches, including downtown Sarasota’s excellent Selby Library. From Laurel Park, the library can be quickly and easily reached on foot or by bike. For more info check out the full calendar of upcoming events.

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Some years ago, undocumented in the annals of history, five small wood frame Old-Florida cottages were moved adjacent to the Silva Court Studios apartment buildings. Altogether they provide four studio apartments, two 1BR/1BA cottages, and a 2BR/1BA bungalow, all lovingly restored.

For those seeking an alternative to bland, mass-produced condos or apartment, Silva Court Cottages are the ideal combination of charm, privacy, communal space, and proximity to downtown Sarasota. Located at 237-245 South Osprey Avenue, just south of Ringling Boulevard.

For more pictures, visit the Silva Court Cottage page.

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When tourists come to visit Sarasota they often compile lists of attractions to see and proceed to visit one after the next. As a resident, however, it’s much easier to take the many beautiful and amazing things that lie just beyond our doorstep for granted. Heck, we could always go tomorrow. Selby Botanical Gardens, tucked away on South Palm Ave in downtown Sarasota just a short walk from any of Laurel Park Management’s apartments, is one of those places that must be experienced to be fully appreciated. And if you haven’t been yet, quit procrastinating!

Walking through the numerous themed gardens at Selby is like taking a trip through the looking glass into nature’s wonderland. We live in a fertile part of the world…Selby Gardens provides an opportunity to leave our hectic lives behind for an hour or two and let our senses reconnect with thousands of varieties of local flora.

In addition to its famed orchid and plant collections, Selby also features art exhibits, a tea house, and its own Local Coffee house.

For more info visit selby.org or call 941-366-5731

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It’s flat, the weather is amazing, it has plenty of public bike racks…so why aren’t more Sarasotans riding bikes? Bicycles can play a huge role in the livability of a place. They provide mobility to citizens of all ages and income, keep people fit, promote social connections, and don’t require a drop of gasoline. Cities and towns around the world are realizing that the more their people are on bikes the healthier, happier, and safer they’ll be. Research even confirms that cities that prioritize bikes reap economic benefits.

Laurel Park Management encourages its residents to utilize bikes whenever possible. Several residents we’ve spoken with run nearly all their errands, including grocery shopping, via bike. The Silva Court Studios even offer free indoor bike parking. From Laurel Park, nearly everything one needs can be reached on bike. And the more people see other people on bikes, the more likely they are to join them.

If you don’t regularly use a bike for transportation, what would encourage you to give it a try? If you already consider a bike to be your second car, what do you think Sarasota could do to make itself more bike-friendly?

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