Giving Thanks

For Southwest Florida, 2007 has been fraught with challenges, many of them heightened by the trickle-down effects of the on-going real estate correction. Livelihoods across the board are on the line and personal fortitude is being stretched to the limits. But as much as we have that we wish would go away, there is still plenty on hand to pause and give thanks for.

Although the light at the end of the tunnel is still a faint one, at least it’s discernable and the region is predicted to have a speedier economic recovery than most other Florida markets. For that we can be most grateful. And even though the news is so often tinged with an excess of doom and gloom, we take great pride in the fact that month after month Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice has outperformed much larger markets like Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.

Another sign that the end is near is that 2007 saw more new households form in Manatee and Sarasota Counties than corresponding new housing starts; a trend that is predicted to continue. Which means our large inventory of homes will begin to pare down naturally and launch the long-anticipated turnaround in the market. Needless-to-say, we are still Sarasota, the town that Money, Forbes and other media outlets call one of the best in the nation to live, work, play, retire, do business in, and so on. We are still the ideal destination for scores of domestic and European homebuyers; still a top preference among active retirees, young professionals and second homebuyers; and still the envy of all who visit our shores. Which brings us to the next item to be grateful for.

We can be thankful that so many of the outstanding cultural institutions that give Southwest Florida much of its enormous drawing power continue to expand in size, reach, fiscal endowment, and quality of artistic and educational output. Just to name a few, we thank those who work tirelessly to expand the breadth and scope of Selby Gardens and the Ringling Museum, who underwrite the ability of the Sarasota Opera to mount the really large and important operas, and who contribute to our enormous menu of live theater offerings. These include, in no particular order, the Asolo Theater—which is now prepping a new production for Broadway—the West Coast Black Theater Troupe, Florida Studio Theater, Venice Little Theater, the Manatee Players, the Players Theater and the Banyan Theater Company.

We are thankful to live in a community with such an enormous philanthropic heart; one that tirelessly marshals thousands of volunteers and millions upon millions in donations for the needy through numerous local charities and worthy community services. From Palmetto to Port Charlotte we are a community that pulls together whenever and wherever help is needed.

Here at Michael Saunders & Company, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve such a dynamic, desirable and deserving community. We are grateful for the exceptional people who make up our family of dedicated employees; for the clients and customers who trust our counsel and expertise; and for the joy of putting homes and people together in the ultimate expression of the American dream.

Our sincerest wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Michael & Drayton

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