For Sale Signs

Esther is bored.

I ran into my usually ebullient friend Sunday as she and her long-time guy strolled along one of the most beautiful streets in my zip code with their two dogs.  She had every reason to be having a sublimely wonderful time soaking up the afternoon sun, under a brilliant blue sky flushed by a fresh seabreeze.

But Esther didn’t say she was relaxed.  She said she was bored. 

Bored is not good for a realtor on a Sunday,  typically a busy day of the week for the type of realtor who makes selling houses seem like an endless cocktail party.

Esther is one of those only-in-South-Florida personalities.  She has a big ready laugh, endless good stories, a colorful style and that “je ne sais quoi” that makes her feel like an old friend after, oh, a few minutes of meeting. All that has served her well in an industry of matching fabulous homes in fabulous zip codes to fabulous people.

But on Sunday, the wild mane of hair was tucked back in pins. The usually big personality was quieted. She said she opened a little store in the design district with some friends – so she’d have something to do.

It’s nothing you probably don’t already know. The latest stats shows South Florida home sales down some 25% from last year, selling prices down 15-to-20%. There are analyses ad nauseum – the trickle down of the subprime mortgage meltdown, recessionary cutbacks, the readjustment of a hyperinflated market. First quarter numbers, monthly reports from the Florida Association of Realtors – all those are well and good as resources.

But, really, all it takes to know South Florida real estate market is in a grim state is to see Esther on a sunny Sunday and ask how she’s doing.

If she says she’s bored, it’s bad.

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