Happy New Year,
2017 was another positive and active year for the local real estate markets. There were a significant number of people that decided it was the right time to buy. The popularity of the area continues to improve and attract more and more vacationers that become 2nd home buyers along with a sizable amount of people deciding to move full time to the area. Prices overall have continued to trend upward. Values are still well off the all-time highs seen in 2005, but have seen steady growth for the last 5 to 6 years. All signs point to 2018 being another positive year for sales and values. I hope we can help even more customers in 2018 and can’t thank all of the wonderful people enough that trust us help them with their sales and purchases.
The Mexico Beach market which includes St. Joe Beach, Beacon Hill, and WindMark Beach has been the busiest segment in the area with 323 sales on MLS. These sales totaled $65,582,397 with the majority of the volume coming from existing homes. There were 117 vacant lots sold totaling $8,268,947 for an average sales price of $70,674. There were fewer Gulf front and lots close to the beach on the market this year, and the bulk of the sales were on interior lots 2-5 blocks from the beach. These lots have seen increases from approximately $40K two years ago to closer to $55K-$60K today. Windmark Beach saw a mild year with 17 reported sales on MLS and values fairly flat. The big news in WindMark is that national homebuilder D. R. Horton purchased 64 lots directly from The St. Joe Company and has begun offering homes from $302,125 to $384,600. (This sale of 64 lots is not included in the MLS referenced sales data) This has certainly upset the majority of homeowners that have built larger and more custom homes at far greater costs. It will be interesting to see if Horton can sell these homes and what impact it will have on the development. There were 204 homes sold from Mexico Beach to WindMark with only 6 of them being in WindMark. These 204 sales accounted for $56,813,448 of sales volume with an average selling price of $278,497. The average prices have seen steady increases each year since 2010 as seen below in the chart. 98 Real Estate Group dominated this market and finished #1 for the 5th year in a row in 2017. We sold 89 of the 323 properties and $7 Million more than any other company. I personally finished #1 again in this market, which I’ve done for 4 of the last 5 years. Here’s a link to my favorite deals on the market in this area.
AVERAGE RESIDENTIAL SALES PRICE – MEXICO BEACH, ST JOE BEACH AND WINDMARK BEACH
While the Mexico Beach and Cape markets have a large percentage of 2nd home buyers, Port St. Joe is still made up of a very large majority of full time residents. As the local economy continues to improve, so does this locally driven market. This is further supported by the emergence of Port St. Joe as a vacation destination market that’s becoming a trendy place to have a 2nd home. More and more restaurants and businesses are opening, and the town is hopping these days. The full time population in Port St Joe is growing more than in the other areas. The Port still hasn’t opened, but is further along than it’s ever been. There is a lot a significant amount of money from the BP oil spill that’s starting to trickle down to Port St. Joe and Gulf County. The local leaders are prioritizing these funds for opening The Port and overall job and economic growth creation. This market has 133 sales totaling $19,014,801. The majority of this volume was made up from 92 homes selling for a total of $17,216,301. Vacant lot prices have continued to slowly pick up and there were 39 salestotaling $1,548,500 for an average selling price of $39,705. The home prices here saw a huge jump in 2017 with the average sale going up almost 25%! This looks like it could be the first market to recover back to it’s 2005 prices.
AVERAGE RESIDENTIAL SALES PRICE – PORT ST JOE
I get asked why I personally don’t follow the North Gulf County markets that are comprised of Wewahitchka, Howard Creek, White City, and Dalkeith. Quite frankly I don’t want to work anywhere I’m not an expert, and there’s barely enough time in the day to stay on top of the Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe, and Cape San Blas markets. These are all very different in their own ways. Another reason is that the top Realtor for this area is Miranda Rollins who is one of 98’s great agents. She was by far the top agent on MLS for this area in 2017 and 98 Real Estate Group was the #1 Company. This area is her expertise. The North Gulf market has much lower price points than the South End of the County. What I wanted to point out in regard to the market is a trend that is starting to repeat itself. As seen in the 2003-2005 boom, when the prices start to rise in Port St. Joe like they have in recent years, many buyers are priced out, and they start buying in the North End of the County which is much more affordable. The average home sold for $94,064 and the average lot $18,208. If you’re interested in these areas, here’s a link to Miranda’s website.
The final area I cover is the Cape San Blas/Indian Pass market. This is a very hot second home and investment home market despite having by far the highest prices in the area. This market saw the highest amount of sales in regard to money spent with 236 sales adding up to $70,291,344. This was the only market with more lot sales than home sales. There were 133 lots sold adding up to $20,376,149 for an average price of $153,204, which is more than double that average selling price of the other markets we are discussing. 103 homes were sold with an average sales price of $484,613. This counts all homes including townhouses and condos which have an average closer to $300K. The average of a single family home is now well above $550K! The selection of existing homes has been very low, and many people realize with price points so high that they can often build something new for less than an older home will cost them. Thus, so many lot sales and new homes being built. Construction isn’t just busy on Cape San Blas, there are new homes going up throughout the area. I’ve shown customers around that are amazed that it seems like there is a brand new home or one under construction on about every corner. Finding workers and handymen has become extremely hard with so many working full time only on new construction jobs. It didn’t take D. R. Horton long to see the shortage in available workers, and they held a large job fair on 1/11 hoping to find some more available workers.
AVERAGE RESIDENTIAL SALES PRICE – CAPE SAN BLAS
Important Factors Impacting the 2018 Market
Interest Rates- Rates have gone up slightly and some experts call for more increases, yet they are still near historically low rates. Centennial Bank is currently offering 30 Year mortgages at 4.25 and 15 year mortgages at 3.75%.
Construction Costs- The cost of material and labor has gone up making building more expensive. This hasn’t slowed down the number of people wanting new homes, but may help existing homes if it continues to rise.
The inventory of vacant land is still fairly high with the exception of Gulf front lots compared to the inventory of homes on the market. The number of homes on the market remains low enough that it’s more of a seller’s market than an buyer’s market. There are 72 properties currently under contract and 23 that have sold this year.
Foreclosures- These are almost a thing of the past as we get into 2018. There are zero foreclosed homes currently on the market and only these 6 were sold in 2017.
Rental Income- Both long term and short term rentals continue to perform well. The supply of long term rentals remains lower than the market wants and almost every long term rental is rented quickly with multiple applicants. The short term side is seeing some impact from so many owners deciding to place their homes on vacation rental programs. Most homes I’m aware of still had their best year’s ever in 2017, but some of the older homes and properties that don’t have all the sought after amenities have seen dips due to the renters choosing their competition.