I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the start of summer. We have stayed busy and are a few weeks into the peak visitor and buying season. The market prices continue to slowly increase with more and more people deciding to buy in the area. We have also seen an increase in the number of sellers that have decided it’s a good time to put their property on the market. Everything is still pointing in the direction that 2014 will be a solid year for coastal real estate with moderate gains in value. Approximately 70% of the sales we are making are to people buying 2nd homes, investment properties, or properties for retirement in the future. Interest rates on secondary and primary homes have trickled down and are close to historic lows with 30 year mortgages in the 4.25% range and 15 year mortgages close to 3.375%. Banks are even lending on vacant lots again, but you won’t get rates and terms that are as attractive as the ones available for homes After only seeing banks go out of business and get taken over by the FDIC for the last 8 years, we’ve actually had a bank open a new branch in Mexico Beach. (Peoples South Bank).
Most potential buyers have had to accept that if their crystal ball was working, they could have purchased a coastal property for a little less in 2011-2013 than they will now have to pay. We’ve had buyers that have left the market because they’ve realized they can’t purchase quite as low as they could have in the past couple of years. I’ve had at least 5 serious buyers decide they aren’t purchasing because they missed the bottom of the market. I was worried about this trend, but it’s encouraging for the market to see so many new buyers step right in and fall in love with our area. These new buyers don’t mind paying 5%-10% more than prices were in the past years. They understand they are still paying roughly 50% of what they would have paid at the peak of the market for a home and feel they are still getting great values. Vacant lots are still being purchased for even larger discounts. We are also one of the best values in the country where there is a white sandy beach. I thought the number of sales would decrease more this year than it has. 2013 had the most sales since 05′ and there had been 277 through June, 16th of 2013. The pace for this year isn’t far off with 270 sold properties for the same time period.
We steadily saw the number of properties on the market decline from 2006 to 2013. 2014 looks like the inventory is going to trend in a different direction. Many owners feel it’s a good time to sell and are placing their properties on the market. This increase in properties on the market has been a factor that’s kept the prices from going up faster than they have. The good news is there are still lots of buyers buying and making offers. There have been 270 plus properties close and there are another 73 properties currently under contract. Despite all of these properties being taken off the market, there are more properties on the market now than there were in January. We started the year with around 615 properties on the market and are now up to 689. I don’t think the increase in properties on the market is necessarily a bad thing. It does seem to be the logical explanation for why we are still having so many sales without seeing larger price increases.
What isn’t happening this year that was so common in the past 7 years is that sellers aren’t getting undercut by short sales and foreclosures that bring down values. There are only 5 homes from Cape San Blas to Mexico Beach listed as foreclosures. There are still a fair number of vacant lots listed as foreclosures with 26 on the market as of the 18th of June. This is part of the reason vacant lots can still be purchased at much bigger discounts than homes. The builders remain extremely busy with many purchasers buying these heavily discounted lots and choosing to build new homes. My friends at Big Fish Construction brought on another full time project manager and have 12 homes currently under construction with 7-8 more in the permitting process. Some markets have gone up more than others and homes closest to white sand or on some kind of water seem to be increasing the fastest in value.
Positive publicity about for our quiet little area on the coast is always welcomed. We don’t want to grow out of control and lose our small town charm, but we welcome new visitors. They help drive the rental market and we know that a small percentage of them are going to end up buying property in the area. Mexico Beach was named #5 on MSN.com this week as one of “The Top 10 Small Towns to Visit in 2014.”
If you are looking to buy, the increase in properties on the market is good news. There are much better deals on the market right now than I predicted there would have been at the beginning of the year. Here are my favorite deals currently on the market-
- Cape San Blas/Indian Pass Homes
- Cape San Blas Vacant Lots
- Port St. Joe Homes
- Port St. Joe Vacant Lots
One reason I decided to move here after college was to enjoy the great fishing and diving. My dad has played a big role volunteering for the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association. The MBARA has raised over $1,000,000 and built one of the best public artificial reef programs in the country. I know that many people decide to buy here because of the great fishing and diving and I want to thank the MBARA for all that they have done to help make the fishing here even better. 98 Real Estate Group and myself helped to get the “Ling Ding” tournament started back 3 years ago and this year I helped as the co-tournament director for the Golly Whopper. Here is a link from The Star recapping the tournament results.
We really do have world class Red Snapper fishing, and I’m proud to help show how good our fishing can be. Captain Don Spillers had two very special guests fishing with him on the Perfect Bite. Michael Boucher and Tony Mullis each lost both of their legs fighting for our country as Marines in Afghanistan. We were thrilled to see these heroes win the Red Snapper Division with largest Red Snapper ever caught on hook and line in the 3 years of the Golly Whopper.
I’ve enjoyed some great Red Snapper fishing as well. Here’s a picture from our first trip of the year.
Don’t worry that I’m just fishing and enjoying myself. Here’s a link to the 95 properties I’ve sold since 1/1/13. Please let me know if I can help you or your friends with buying or selling.