Mid Year Market Recap – Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas

The real estate market remains steady, fairly strong, and active halfway through 2023. Average home prices continue to tick up in a year that many experts called for declines. I think the popularity of our area is helping to offset overall economic negatives and high-interest rates. More and more people want to own a piece of our paradise. Home sellers didn’t have to negotiate much, with 258 sellers selling for an average of 97% of their list price and averaging 90 days on the market. I don’t believe the Cape and Indian Pass prices have gone down on homes. The averages are down, in my opinion, because there have been very few high-end homes on the market this year vs last year. 

Below are the average selling prices of homes for the first half of 2023, and here are the additional 65 homes that are under contract. That’s a healthy number of contracts on homes for our area. I made the highest sale ever for a home from Mexico Beach to WindMark Beach in May when my listing closed for $2,650,000. I broke that record a month later, closing on the home next door for $2,900,000. A home that Steve Newman builtthat we listed and sold last spring on Cape Sand Blas for $3,450,000 is still the all-time high residential sale for Gulf County and Mexico Beach. 


2019 2020 2021 2022 2Q 2023
MB-SJB-WMB $270,806 $350,534 $453,062 $591,665 $596,390
Port St Joe $184,614 $222,262 $297,116 $341,465 $354,847
CSB-IP $601,725 $658,264 $870,295 $1,118,250 $993,105

Vacant land demand has felt slower than home demand. I think the cost of building, when combined with wait times for contractors, makes buying a home more practical than a vacant lot for most people. Some exceptions are those looking to build years out in the future, those looking strictly for an investment, and those buying lots that are zoned for RV’s. We also see very few beachfront single family and higher end gulf view homes come up for sale. Many people looking for these types of properties have realized they’ll need to build to get what they want. 

Lot sellers had to negotiate more than home sellers with 108 lots selling for an average of 92% of list price and 91 days on market. There are lots that have sold for less than would have in spring/summer of ’22. I do believe values have slipped a little on vacant lots in the Mexico Beach and Cape San Blas/Indian Pass markets over the last year.

The Port St. Joe market has had so few lots for sale and is seeing so much demand and activity from full time residents that it’s probably avoided the decline in values. All markets are still up significantly over the last few years and there’s only been a slight reduction in values on some lots. The average prices below are also lower than they would be comparing apples to apples because of a much smaller number of higher end/beachfront lots being on the market or selling in ’23 vs ’22. There are 28 lots under contract. I’d like to see this number a little higher considering there are 226 lots on the market.


2019 2020 2021 2022 2Q 2023
MB-SJB-WMB $175,137 $159,968 $228,866 $278,205 $244,818
Port St Joe $60,251 $87,468 $110,658 $116,065 $137,500
CSB-IP $201,053 $174,542 $191,655 $282,264 $272,188

The number of homes selling is still on the high side. It’s kind of crazy that more homes sold from Mexico Beach to WindMark this year than in the feverish market we had in Spring of 21. The ’23 sold vacant lot volume numbers aren’t bad overall, just not crazy on lots like in ’21 when 444 vacant lots sold vs 108 in the first half of this year.

Number of Sales


2021 1Q-2Q 137 62 127
2022 1Q-2Q 127 72 90
2023 1Q-2Q 140 59 60


2021 1Q-2Q 173 49 222
2022 1Q-2Q 94 32 111
2023 1Q-2Q 44 20 44

Inventory levels have remained pretty consistent through this year with some markets up slightly and some down. We’ve got more listed than we did during the historically low inventory of ’21 and ’22, but these are still low levels. All markets still have less listed than we did in a pre-Michael market. You can click on the 2023 blue hyperlinks and see what is listed today. The MB/WindMark market is a little over inflated with 30 of the 95 homes being DR Horton homes in WindMark. (DR Horton also recently bought out Truland and are very optimistic about the future of this area)  

Active Inventory as of April 1


7/1/18 119 46 84
7/1/21 22 30 21
7/1/22 89 31 54
2023 1/1 125 34 35
2023 7/1 95 37 49


7/1/18 112 99 209
7/1/21 55 31 90
7/1/22 83 29 90
2023 1/1 85 29 88
2023 7/1 101 26 99

There are large crowds of visitors here this summer. I’ve heard many “locals” say this is the busiest they’ve every seen Port St. Joe, and I’d agree with this statement. The area is thriving, though there are some vacation rental properties not doing as well as they did last year. I believe that while we are attracting more people, there are far more properties on the rental market than there were last year. People aren’t spending money out of control like they were on vacations in the post-Covid boom as well. You can’t just put any old property on the rental market at about any price and expect it to fill up like it would in ’21 and ’22. You’ve got to stand out this year and be priced accordingly. 

There are neighborhoods adding huge amounts of new rentals like WindMark and Villa Del Sol on a smaller scale. We’ve also had large numbers of individual custom rental homes being built that have come on the rental market as well as The El Governor MotelDriftwood Inn, and Gulf View Motel opening back up in Mexico Beach. 

Mexico Beach was decimated by Michael in 2018, and there weren’t many rentals on the market for a few years. If you had a rental, you did great in large part due to lack of competition. This market went from 700 rentals in 2018 to 133 in 2019. It was back up to 459 last year and is now up to 617. Gulf County added a few hundred more rentals as well, and there are far more vacation rentals there than there has ever been. 

Retail and restaurant owners are all telling me they are either having their best year ever or very close to it. The overall local economy remains strong and is enjoying all of the visitors.  The El Governor Hotel with 100 plus rooms in Mexico Beach has opened since my newsletter and just last week the first set of 200 apartments on the west end of Mexico Beach has opened. These apartments are the largest commercial project ever built in Mexico Beach, and this property owned by The St. Joe Company will be long term/full time rentals only. The facilities look nice, but they aren’t cheap with one bedrooms starting around $1,550 per month. 

Commercial businesses in Mexico Beach have greatly lagged the residential rebuild, and we’re still at one sit down restaurant and no grocery store. In the land of food trucks, our office has a new favorite and suggest giving Bad Mamma Jamma’s a try. These properties placed on the market last week could end up being the commercial future of Mexico Beach.

98 Real Estate Group Makes Waves at Gollywhopper Fishing Tournament and Flourishes in Gulf County Real Estate Market

98 Real Estate Group helped put on the Gollywhopper fishing tournament again this year in Mexico Beach. We had a record turnout with 95 boats, and some great fish were caught. I was able to go fishing this past weekend, and here’s a nice red snapper that Hudson helped reel in. 

98 Real Estate Group is having another tremendous year. We have 19 agents that cover anything you can think of in Gulf County or Mexico Beach. The end of 2022 was pretty slow with some ugly forecasts for real estate in 2023. I’m happy to safely report a strong market with new buyers constantly wanting a place here. We sold over $50 million in the first half of this year and we’re on track for our best, or at least 2nd best year ever. We should close out as the top producing brokerage for the Mexico Beach to WindMark market for the 11th year in a row. Thank you all for your support. Life is good. My family is looking forward to being tourists this weekend and staying at Black’s Island.


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