Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas FL 2023 Market Recap and Looking to 2024

Despite some headwinds, 2023 was another positive year for home sales and values. Interest rates were close to 8% last summer and insurance and taxes are more and more expensive, but the popularity of the area offset the negatives, and home values saw additional increases in 2023. National and even local projections pointed to either a flat housing market or slight declines for last year and demand instead remained strong enough that we saw a solid year for property values. Overall, fewer properties were sold than in the previous 3 years, but those that sold averaged higher values.

I wasn’t predicting a great year for real estate sales and was more than pleasantly surprised that 98 Real Estate Group had it’s best year ever selling $103 million. I’m even prouder that we finished as the top sales company from Mexico Beach to WindMark Beach for the 11th year in a row! We finished #1 as well in the North Gulf County area. We also did well in the Port St. Joe and Cape San Blas market. We have a strong group of 18 agents with 6 selling $9 million or more in 2023.  We ended up #2 overall on MLS which covers from Mexico Beach all the way through Franklin County. National real estate forecasts are much rosier for ’24 than they were for ’23. Average rates on a 30 year mortgage have dropped from around 8% in October to the 6.7% range which has put some buyers back in the market. There seems to also be a large number of buyers watching and planning to jump back in if rates get cut in ’24 as the FED currently forecasts. Between New Years and late February is typically the slowest time of the year for real estate sales and there are still 81 properties under contract right now.   


  2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
MB-SJB-WMB $270,806 $350,534 $453,062 $591,665 $610,606
Port St. Joe $184,614 $222,262 $297,116 $341,465 $374,217
CSB-IP $601,725 $658,264 $870,295 $1,118,250 $1,129,083

Available housing inventory is up slightly compared to this time last year. There are currently 229 homes on the market from Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas vs 195 a year ago. With 492 recorded home sales on MLS for these markets in 2023, 229 available is still moderately low and considered less than a 6 month supply. Cash buyers were still a big part of the market with 186 of the 492 or (37%) of home buyers paying cash . A whopping 72% or 164 out of 228 vacant land purchasers paid cash. Vacant lot loans are usually at higher rates than home mortgages and 9+ % loans for vacant lots weren’t really popular as we predicted for ’23. There are 210 vacant lots listed. Overall vacant land prices did go up, but it wasn’t as significant as housing prices. Interior lots in the beaches area with no water view did seem to go down in the beaches area, and most with gulf view lots did not. Supply and demand is the explanation here with far more interior lots for sale than there are of the more premium lots. Take Mexico Beach to St. Joe Beach for example, there are 62 single family lots for sale. 5 are gulf front, about another 10 have some kind of view and then that leaves 47 interior lots. In 2023, the average days on market for vacant lots from MB to Cape San Blas was 96 days. Final sales prices averaged 92% of original list prices. Homes averaged 87 days on market with sales prices being slightly over 96% of their starting list prices.


  2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
MB-SJB-WMB $175,137 $159,968 $228,866 $278,205 $274,272
Port St. Joe $60,251 $87,468 $110,658 $116,065 $146,164
CSB-IP $201,053 $174,542 $191,655 $282,264 $302,033

Mix in 7 commercial sales and the year ended with 727 sales for ’23 compared to 912 in ’22. The stats back up the feeling here on the ground that we felt since last summer. It was a little slower than the year before, but busy enough and values were still going up slightly. We didn’t see the big increases and borderline crazy numbers of buyers that we saw during the Covid boom that was also fueled by sub 3% rates and led to 1328 sales in ’21. 2023 was more like the normal year with a slight price increase that we saw for the 5 years before Hurricane Michael.

Mexico Beach to WindMark – The housing market and desire to be in Mexico Beach remains extremely strong. There are new high end houses being built all over the place. The lack of restaurants and amenities like a grocery store remains a negative. The only commercial building built in ’23 was Bracewell Flooring which was built in the old civic center location. The former Bracewell Flooring building located at 4101 Hwy 98 has been undergoing renovations and is set to open in the next month or two as Forgotten Coast Brewing Company. This will be a full restaurant that also brews its own beer. I spoke with the Toucan’s owners last week, and they are getting ready to start construction to meet an April deadline that is required to take advantage of being grandfathered into their previous footprint.  There are still lots of buyers believing in the future of Mexico Beach and prices have continued to rise. WindMark has been a bright spot in regard to commercial development with 9 businesses plus a church now operating out of the Town Center. The View Restaurant is under new ownership and management and has been fantastic. You’ve also got the popular Bruno’s Pizza, The Mill Mercantile and Social (a cool bar and candy shop on the other side). and a newly opened Sunrise Cafe.

I’m working hard to try and bring some restaurants to these areas. I helped get an ordinance changed this month in Gulf County where I’m on the Planning and Zoning Board. Mexico Beach also listened to suggestions and changed an ordinance in ’22 to try and make it more feasible to build a restaurant. In doing some research for a presentation I made to Mexico Beach City Council last week, I realized that the last built restaurant in Mexico Beach was the former Sharon’s Café, which was built 36 years ago. I hope 2024 is the year this trend changes, and the balance of commercial and residential starts to improve. Here is a link to the 102 houses for sale and 79 vacant lots in Mexico Beach to WindMark Beach area.

Port St Joe – This market remains very popular and sees the most purchases for primary residences. The commercial scene is thriving with 20 plus restaurants on or within 2 blocks of Reid Ave. DR Horton purchased Truland Homebuilding last year, and Horton remains bullish on the area. The population is growing due that the homes they are building in Phase II of WindMark Beach combined with their new subdivisions in Port St. Joe. It’s not cheap, but $374K for an average home is a relatively low price for a coastal home in a family friendly town with great schools in the state of Florida. Here is a link to the 44 houses and 30 vacant lots for sale in Port St. Joe.

North Gulf County/Wewahitchka remains far more affordable with average home prices under $200K. We have been the top company in this market for the last 7 years, mainly due to having Miranda Rollins working with us. She has been the top individual agent for this market and is who I can highly recommend. We have held that spot, mainly due to Miranda Rollins, since 2017. Home sale prices for this market still averaged under $200K counting mobile homes with solid single family home options starting in the $250K range.

Cape San Blas to Indian Pass – This is a hot 2nd home market that continues to increase in popularity and is becoming a more and more popular alternative to the crowded areas like Destin and 30A. This area is mostly single family homes, and the North Cape remains most popular with the average single family home selling for $1,438,988 with only 42 days on market in ’23. This whole area through Indian Pass is a hot market and averages significantly higher values than Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach. (If you compare apples to apples, values are similar to Mexico Beach. Mexico Beach also has a number of interior properties including townhouses, condos, and mobile homes that don’t exist as much on the cape and this brings the averages down). Here’s a link to the 83 houses for sale and 100 vacant lots in the Cape San Blas area.  

How are rentals performing?  I’ve talked with 3 large property management companies, and 2 of them are up on ’24 bookings compared to this time last year, and one is flat. Many new properties have come on the rental market in recent years creating more competition. I’m being told the higher end properties with less competition are renting better than interior homes/condos. As one said, it’s easier to rent a $12K/week beachfront single family with a pool than a $2K/week condo right now. Rental rates increased in ’21 and ’22 as much as home prices. With so much new competition, homes had to stand out to do as well last year as the previous year. (Keep in mind with the stats below that Michael hit in 2018 and MB had 760 rentals before the hurricane.) While there aren’t as many homes as pre-hurricane in Mexico Beach, there are more vacationers than ever as the new homes are much larger than those destroyed. 2023 saw all time high bed tax collections in both Gulf County and Mexico Beach.

Number of Rental Homes

  2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Gulf County 1348 1395 1450 1570 1680
Mexico Beach 132 183 366 466 641
Total 1,480 1,578 1,816 2,036 2,321

Bed Tax Collection

  2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Gulf County $1,754,261 $2,326,707 $3,931,027 $4,474,146 $4,742,396
Mexico Beach $33,559 $128,238 $433,205 $620,989 $808,382
Total $1,787,820 $2,454,945 $4,364,232 $5,095,135 $5,550,778

The family is doing great. The boys are 3 and 6 and full of life. We celebrated my parent’s 50th anniversary, and my father-in laws 70th birthday earlier this year in the pic below. Life’s getting busier, and busier, and I’m enjoying coaching them in soccer, basketball and t-ball.

It’s Cookoff/fundraising season, and we enjoyed competing in the Chilli Cookoff in Port St. Joe last weekend. We are looking forward to competing in the Mexico Beach Gumbo Festival on February 17th.


Zach Childs
Broker/Owner 98 Real Estate Group
#1 Producing Real Estate Company Located in Mexico Beach
Eleven Years in a Row and Counting
Voted #1 Agent on The Forgotten Coast- 2013 and 2015
Cell: 850-819-0833
Fax: 888-382-9608