Home Foreclosure Growth prospects: Veteran real estate agent says it’s time to grow up

Growth prospects: Veteran real estate agent says it’s time to grow up

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BEACON FILE PHOTO THINKING VERTICAL – Carol Lawrence, a West Volusia real estate agent for many decades, said we need to start thinking about vertical growth, rather than sprawling developments of one- and two-story single-family homes.

We discuss the Sadowski Fund, foreclosures and more

Carol Lawrence is a co-owner and broker at RE / MAX Associates Inc. in Deltona. She lived in West Volusia and worked in real estate here for over 40 years. She was a member of the Volusia Growth Management Commission in 1985.

What are your thoughts on growth?

I moved to DeBary in 1980 so have been here for over 30 years. It’s so different today than it used to be.

I’m certainly not anti-growth, but I was an environmentalist long before I was a real estate agent. My problem is, from what I’m seeing, it’s time to start growing more vertically, rather than horizontally.

We are running out of space. There is hardly any land to build on in DeBary. We have to think, we have to start thinking compact.

The growth around the SunRail station is a good sign, because with the vertical growth we have to move to a different kind of mobility. We need alternative modes of transportation and more walkable communities.

What do you think affordable housing?

When it came to putting money aside for affordable housing, that was the goal of the Sadowski Fund. Billions of dollars have been taken out of this fund; it is an outrage to me.

Even first responders and teachers need affordable housing – there are also those who have to do two or three jobs and still cannot afford a house. There is a lot of work to be done in this whole area, in my opinion.

Editor’s Note: The Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund was established in 1992 to finance affordable housing from a portion of the documentary stamp duty paid on all real estate transactions.

Since its inception, the fund has been raided regularly by the Florida legislature to balance the state’s overall budget. Billions of dollars have been taken from the fund and used for purposes other than affordable housing.

What are the current drivers of the housing market?

Right now, a confluence of events has led to our situation. I’ve been in the business for 41 years, and I always say I’ve seen all types of markets – and then, there you go, another one comes along.

There are three big things impacting housing right now. First, most people who would think about retiring now plan to age in place and, therefore, do not sell their homes.

Second, of course, the pandemic. And finally, there is a shortage of materials.

All of these things together have the biggest impact on the market right now.

What trends do you see?

Recently I did a search about a month ago in towns west of Volusia and recovered about 1,500 homes in various stages of foreclosure.

How many people – singles and families – will be displaced, and where will they go? Properties at this time are scarce; there aren’t even any rentals available.

Ninety percent of my business is in foreclosures, and I anticipate that I will be busy next year.

It’s a heartbreaking part of my business calling people out [who are being foreclosed on] and say, “I’m sorry; your house has been sold.

The adults who don’t worry me as much – they are adults and they can take care of their own problems. My concern is with the children.

Watching television they said our democracy is broken. Well, it’s not just our democracy that’s broken. Lots of things are broken, and this one is one of them.

Other trends I see: There is no slowdown in growth and availability of land is an issue. DeBary is pretty much at the point where the available land is gone, and the only way to go is to go up.

Deltona will also start to grow upwards. I see it as a healthy thing, and it’s definitely a trend. If cities want to increase their population, they are going to have to start rising.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MARTIN O’CULL
Everywhere you turn, there are signs of growth: barren land with clear-cut trees and new houses rising like crops from the earth. For this special edition, The Beacon spoke with several people involved, to gain insight into the growth and development, and insight into the process. We will continue this conversation next week. Share your ideas at [email protected]


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