Friday, May 09, 2008

Market Update and AJC Article

I wanted to give a quick update on the market and share an article that appeared recently in The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
It’s getting to be Summer and that means that more and more people are at the beach and looking at property. So far this year, we’ve had 32 closings in the Mexico Beach/St. Joe Beach Area. There are an additional 15 properties under contract at this time. I need to point out that 9 residences are selling for every 1 vacant lot that sells. Gulf front and beachside townhouses were the hot sellers over the last 2 months with 12 selling or going under contract. I showed one group of potential buyers 4 of these units. In the following 2 weeks while they were considering their options, all 4 sold. With those 12 properties off the market, asking prices for similar units start $70,000 higher. That’s created a similar situation to what happened earlier this year when the 4 top deals on Gulf Front houses sold and asking prices now start $100,000 higher.
We are seeing more and more foreclosures. Six out of the Twelve townhouses I mentioned earlier were either foreclosures or some kind of short sale. On the positive side, there are a number of buyers looking for these good deals and foreclosures. There have been very good deals on foreclosures and properties that people needed to sell. There was a foreclosed beachside townhouse that hit the market at $180,000 last week. This unit was at one time worth over $500,000. This particular unit could be in great shape with about $50,000 of repairs/updating. It would then be able to sell for around $325,000. There were 8 people that made offers within 3 days of it hitting the market!
You’ve got to be ready to move on the best deals. Call me and let me know what you’re looking for anytime on my cell at 850-819-0833. Let me work for you. I can keep you updated on the best deals and help you find the property that is right for you.
There have continued to be a few sellers that have accepted offers way less than their asking prices. The way to find out about these is to make offers. A great lot had an asking price over $350,000. I would say it’s worth around $225,000 and I didn’t think much about it because it was overpriced. Somebody made an offer last week and the rumor is that the seller accepted $250,000 less than their asking price! The buyer got a great deal by making offers. I don’t understand why the seller wouldn’t try asking less, but this happens time and time again. I’ve helped 2 buyers this year find properties where the sellers each accepted more than $400,000 less than their asking prices. Just tell me what you’re looking for and what you’d like to pay. I can probably find it. I enjoy finding buyers the absolute best deals available.
Port St. Joe Realty is continuing to be a top producing real estate company in the Mexico Beach Area as well as Port St. Joe and Cape San Blas. We had 2 agents work very hard and close 3 Gulf front properties last week for $1,600,000. We’ve also updated and added a 4th office that is located in Barrier Dunes on Cape San Blas. I recently listed 3 great places and have some other bargains listed as well. Take your pick of the Mexico Beach Canal, a very peaceful setting on St. Joe Bay, or a Gulf Front Home in St. Joe Beach.
Additional 2008 Sales Information
20 Cape San Blas Sales:
5 Cape San Blas under contract:
9 Port St. Joe Sales:
2 Port St. Joe under contract:
22 St. George Island Sales:
15 St. George Island under contract:
Next, read the article from The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
New airport could put Florida's Forgotten Coast on mapBy MELISSA NELSONAssociated PressPublished on: 04/27/08
Mexico Beach, Fla. — Marilyn Theus peddles costume jewelry, chipped china plates and other "junktiques" on the roadside between Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach. On Tuesdays she's joined by a friend who markets fresh shrimp from the site overlooking the turquoise waters of St. Josephs Bay.
The vendors are part of the local charm of Florida's Forgotten Coast, which stretches along the Gulf of Mexico from Mexico Beach to about 100 miles east to St. Marks. Mom and pop motels, bait shops and undeveloped beaches dot the coast south of the Apalachicola National Forest.
But a new $330 million international airport, scheduled to open in early 2010 on a 4,000-acre site north of Panama City, could mean big changes for these quiet oyster and shrimping towns, long bypassed by tourists.
Political leaders and the St. Joe Co., formed by the du Pont family to harvest timber for paper products in the 1930s, pushed for the airport and the access it would bring to the an area known as "Florida's Forgotten Coast."
The St. Joe Co. is now a developer and owns some 700,000 acres of undeveloped Florida land mostly in the Panhandle, making it the state's largest private landowner.
St. Joe donated the 4,000 acres to relocate Panama City's existing airport and owns 78,000 acres of undeveloped property surrounding the new airport.
The state, with the help of a land donation from the St. Joe Co., recently rerouted four miles of U.S. 98, the major east-west coastal highway, to improve the traffic flow in the area and make way for development. High-end vacation homes began replacing motels and recreational vehicle parks a decade ago. In sleepy Port St. Joe, trendy interior decorating stores have opened near the local Piggly Wiggly.
"We aren't forgotten anymore," said Brad Hart, a commercial painter who has lived in the area for 30 years. The national mortgage crisis has slowed the bulldozers and construction cranes, but building continues.
The airport has withstood legal challenges from environmentalists, a local pilots group and others who have argued it is unnecessary and will destroy environmentally sensitive wetlands. The lawsuits continue, but the future of the new airport — the first since Sept. 11, 2001 — appears increasingly certain to both supporters and opponents.

"We did our battle and we were unsuccessful," said Fred Werner, a Panama City pharmacist and amateur pilot whose organization, Friends of PFN — the FAA's designation for the existing Panama City airport — sued to block the new airport.
Werner objects to the airport as a "corporate welfare scheme," which he says will benefit the company in future decades by ensuring tourists easy access to the region. The project will also force tax dollars to be spent extending roads, sewer lines and other infrastructure to St. Joe-owned properties surrounding the airport, he said.
Proponents of the airport relocation, including the St. Joe Co., argue the existing airport's runways are restricted by St. Andrews Bay, that it's vulnerable to flooding in tropical storms and hurricanes, and that the area needs a larger, regional airport capable of handling international flights for long-term growth.
St. Joe Chairman Peter Rummell said the airport is key in the company's long-term strategy to maximize the potential of its vast northwest Florida land holdings.
On a recent Friday afternoon, campers played horseshoes at the El Governor RV Park in Mexico Beach. Their motor homes were parked on a vacant lot overlooking the white-sand beach and turquoise waters stretching below the nearby El Governor Hotel. But campground manager Jerry Metz fears beachfront camping is part of a bygone era.
"You never know what the economy is going to do, but I'm assuming it will go up and then all of this stuff is going to sell," he said, sweeping his hand toward nearby vacation home and condominium projects.
These aren't the high-rise condos of Panama City Beach.
They are homier and built in the local architectural style using a clapboard design with brick driveways and white picket fences. They are designed to appeal to a wealthier market than the traditional Panama City Beach crowd.
Finding a place to park an RV along the Forgotten Coast isn't as easy as it used to be, said Metz, who estimates there are only two or three such places left in the region.
Camper Walter Pumphrey enjoyed riding his Harley-Davidson along the winding beach front highway with breathtaking ocean views. But the highway has been rerouted around Windmark, a vacation home development under construction by the St. Joe Co.
Motorists now drive through a thick pine forest until they reach the town of Port St. Joe, but plans call for an additional section of highway to be rerouted and bypass Mexico Beach.
"Right now, only 8 percent of the people that come to these beautiful beaches are flying, St. Joe Co. spokesman Jerry Ray said. "Millions of people come down here every year, but most of them drive. What [the airport] means over the long, long term is that this is a marketplace that will broaden."
Take Care,

Zach Childs