Buying an income-producing property now may be the best way to start the New Year. Prices have consistently fallen for the last three years, making such an investment very affordable and propitious.

In 2006, a record 138 income properties (properties from one to five units used specifically for rental purposes) sold at an average price in Manatee County of almost $296,000. By the end of December, 2009, only 66 income properties sold with an average sales price of about $113,000, a greater than 50% price drop. Of the income producers which sold this year, those fetching the top nine sales prices were all situated on Anna Maria Island. At an average price of $394,573, these sales topped the average County price by more than 300 percent!

While the market continues to deliver income producers with an excellent return on investment based on these low prices, I’d counsel any investor to think about a duplex, triplex or other, while the rental market remains strong and while income is very apt to cover expenses. Another piece of advice I give too is this: You aren’t buying a home for yourself nor your mother. Be realistic about upgrades and remodels since renters are there for the short term, and won’t be as stringent as if they were in their own homes.

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