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Date of Issue: May 21, 2008

Anna Maria Island record home sale eclipsed

/5-21-08/am-satosale.jpg
Record-setting home
This two-story Gulffront home at 717 N. Shore Drive in Anna Maria sold for $3.725 million earlier this month, an Island record for a Gulffront home sale price. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

A beachfront house in Anna Maria sold May 12 for $3.725 million, topping a record set just weeks ago by $225,000.

The Anna Maria Island record sale for a single-family Gulffront home set in April in Holmes Beach when Barbara Sato and Mike Norman combined for a $3.5 million sale, lasted only about a month before it was eclipsed.

The Sato agency was involved in both sales. For the second sale, however, Sato was both the listing and selling agent. Also, the buyer of both properties is the same and both will be maintained as vacation rentals.

The to-selling two-story home at 717 N. Shore Drive in Anna Maria was never on the open market, Sato said. Instead, it was an agreement between private parties with Sato contacting both buyer and seller to make the arrangements.

According to available online records, the house was purchased May 12 from Stewart Bertron of Tampa by Cherry Fish LLC, a subsidiary of Pineapple Fish LLC, which was formed April 25 by Elizabeth Vann Thrasher and Michael Thrasher. They maintain a residence in Anna Maria and are from Great Britain.

The three-bedroom, three-bath house is on two lots and has slightly more than 3,000 square feet of living space.

Sato said the two sales are clearly indicative that the Island real estate market is on the rebound from its 2006-07 position, when sales slowed as prices remained high.

“I think it’s fair to say we’re in great shape on Anna Maria Island. I’m certainly happy,” Sato said.

“In fact, I read an article last week in TheWall Street Journal that said the ‘crisis’ in real estate is over, and I think that’s true.”

Certainly, high-end and beachfront properties are in demand, as evidenced by both record sales, agreed Sato.

“And the Island itself is always in demand,” she added.

Another factor could well be the favorable exchange rate for European buyers. A Euro now trades for approximately $1.50 in U.S. currency, a much better rate than two years ago when the exchange was about even.

Add that demand for Island living to the exchange rate and the fact that many baby boomers are entering the “pre-retirement” market for a home, along with the “discovery” of the Island, and there’s an upswing in real estate sales, according to Jessie Brisson, the Islander’s real estate transaction reporter and a broker at Gulf-Bay Realty.

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