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January-May home

values up 10 percent

Brett Slattery

 Rising interest rates have done little to stifle home values during the first 5 months of this year. The median sales price (half sold for more; half for less) for Charlotte County, single-family homes rose from $200,000 to $220,000 compared to the same 5 months in 2017. That’s an impressive 10% gain.

 The number of sales increased from 1,926 homes in 2017 to 1,990 in 2018 for a gain of 3%.

 While real estate statistics are usually reported on a month-to-month basis, this creates some wild variations in smaller counties like Charlotte. For example, the median sales price comparing April 2018 to April 2017 rose 17%. But the following month, May 2018, the median sales price rose just 5% compared to May 2017.

 It doesn’t really make sense that in April 2018 home values rose 17% over the past 12 months. But just 1 month later, they were only up 5% during the past 12 months. That’s a good example of the wild variations we get when using a collection of data too small to produce reliable results.

 Of course, the solution is to use bigger data sets such as the 5-month period used above. Stock market analysts use a similar approach called “rolling averages” or “moving averages”. For instance, each day they may look at the average price during the most recent 200 days (the 200-day rolling average). The gold standard of real estate statistics, the Case-Shiller Index, uses a 3-month moving average.

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How to Avoid Potholes

(Note: Brett reprints this every 5 years as our heavy rains launch the pothole season).

 Did you read the letter-to-the-editor from the lady who ran into a pothole? As she attested, running into a pothole can cost nearly as much as a minor fender bender. So, let’s come up with a strategy for avoiding the pitfalls of potholes.

 You have probably noticed there has been a recent surge of potholes. According to Alan Holbach, Charlotte County’s public works director, potholes are directly correlated to the age of a road and the amount of rain that falls on it.

Most folks avoid potholes by driving around them. One problem with this strategy is that this is not always an option. If there is a car in front of you, you may not see the hole until it is too late. The same applies if it is nightfall. Or if rainwater has filled the pothole.

I addressed this subject in my 09/05/05 column. I recounted how I became frustrated that the county sometimes took months to fill a pothole. That could easily add up to hundreds of tire alignments for unfortunate drivers. Worse, they could be lethal for motorcyclists. So, one day I called the public works department to complain.

 The clerk cut me short. She asked me for the location and told me she would dispatch a repair crew. Two days later, every pothole I had reported was fixed.  

I had assumed the county hires workers to drive the streets searching for potholes. That wasn’t my brightest moment. That came when I programmed the number for reporting potholes into my cell phone.

 Since that day, I have called in over 100 potholes and received the same great service every time. And it’s quite nice to think about the hundreds, maybe thousands of drivers, that I may have saved from tire alignments.

 So, the best way to avoid potholes is to report them. In Charlotte County, call (941) 575-3600, then press 1. The best way to avoid potholes is to make them go away. And you’ll be doing us all a favor.

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Question: Thank you for your recent article on replacing the yellowed panels on overhead, kitchen-fluorescent-lighting. My home was built in the early nineties and I have the same problem. However, after much searching I cannot find anything similar on the net. How can I find these panels? Thanks.

 Answer: I got mine the Englewood Home Depot store. They have a large assortment of panels in various sizes.

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 Brett Slattery is broker/owner of Brett Slattery Realty llc in Charlotte County. Brett responds to all questions and column suggestions, including those not printed due to space limitations. Reach him via (941) 468-1430, Brett@BrettSlattery.com, or www.BrettSlattery.com.

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Note: Brett Slattery is owner/broker of Brett Slattery Realty llc.

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