Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good Summer - Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas Market Update‏

It’s been a very active summer and I hope everyone was able to come down and enjoy some time in our wonderful area. The majority of business owners that I have talked to have had one of, if not, their best summers ever. I’ve heard over and over again from locals and visitors “I’ve never seen this many people at the beach”. As those of you that love this area know, we have a great place. Others are finding that out as I continue to work with a number of buyers that haven’t been to our area a year ago. Don’t worry that we have huge crowds, but we are slowly being discovered by more and more beach lovers. It’s reached that time of year that kids are back in school and many owners like to come down and enjoy September and October.

The real estate market continues to be full of buyers looking for good deals. 2011 is well on its way to having the highest number of closings out of any year since 2005. The coastal markets have been gaining momentum in regards to the number of closings steadily of the last 4 years. From January 1, 2008 to August 25, 2008, there had been 128 closings. For the same time period in 2009, there were 139 closings. Things have really heated up over the last two years with 223 closings from 1/1/10 to 8/25/10 and this year there have been 273 closings as of August 25th. These sold statistics are for the combined area from Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas/Indian Pass. As of August 25th, there are an additional 102 properties currently under contract. That’s the highest number of properties under contract that I can remember ever seeing. This link will show the 102 properties under contract.

The Mexico Beach to Windmark market remains the most energetic market with 142 closings and the Cape San Blas to Indian Pass market has been steady with 91 closings as of August 25th. The majority of buyers still want to be close to the beach and the Port St. Joe market remains sluggish with only 40 sales. The vacation rental market in the beach areas had another good year that is helping to lead to additional sales. I sold a beach front home in July on the North End of the Cape was on track to do $100K this year in rental revenue. Some of the prices on potential rental properties are very attractive when looking at their rental returns. The stock market has been extremely volatile lately and I’ve gotten 3 new clients that have pulled money out of the stock market to invest in rental property.

Sales for 2011:

Port St. Joe (40)

Cape San Blas/Indian Pass (91)

Mexico Beach/St.Joe Beach/Windmark (142)

Prices aren’t racing back up, but single family homes continue to do well and some have sold for 3-7% more than comparable homes sold for last year. Even some vacant lots have gotten in on the action in a few areas. Casuna is a subdivision in Mexico Beach about 2 blocks from the beach. The lots are all very comparable. In early June there were 6 on the market priced from $34,000 to $39,900. Recent closing prices over the last 18 months had been closer to the $25K mark and a number of buyers were hoping to get one for $20K at the end of summer. Other buyers decided to make offers and the first one closed on June 15th for $26,500. Then two more closed in early July for $27,000 and then $27,500. That got the other buyers excited and nervous about missing out and one closed on the 25th for $32,500 and another that went under contract in June closed for $26,000. I know those aren’t huge increases, but it’s moving the right direction and most importantly, reducing the inventory. Now there is only one lot on the market in Casuna and it’s priced at $39,900.

The reduction in properties on the market is really a good sign for the overall health of the market and for prices to start going back up. It’s also making it easier for aggressively priced listings to get activity with less competition. I know there are still lots of “for sale” signs when you ride around. However, there is significantly less than there were a few years ago. From Mexico Beach to WindMark, there were 621 listings on the market in August of 2007. There is now less than half that amount on the market with 302 active listings.

For me, it’s been a busy and fun summer. We had terrific year fishing for red snapper. I’ve also been scalloping for the first time in years and I’d forgotten how fun and easy it is. We were able to get a limit in less than an hour in only 3-4 feet of water. I recommend everybody giving this a try. It’s a hopping place down here in the summer with “First Fridays”, Pub Crawls, multiple fishing tournaments, 4th of July Celebrations, Scallop Festival, Aloha Festival, and lots more. This Saturday is the MBARA Kingfish Tournament that my dad is the director of with a captain’s party on Friday at the El Governor. I’ll be there filming the yearly tournament video and giving out door prizes. This tournament consistently draws the largest crowds and had 135 boats last year with the oil scare and 196 in 2009.

POJO Festival is a free concert in St. Joe Beach set for September 16th & 17th. There are some big bands booked including ALO, Honey Island Swamp Band, and The Sheepdogs that are on the cover of the Rolling Stones this month. This should be a great free event and here is the website:

I haven’t just been having a lazy summer enjoying all of the fun activities and laying on the beach. I’ve had some fun, but also worked like crazy, which is a good thing. From June 1st to August 23rd, I’ve been the top agent on MLS and 98 Real Estate Group has been the #1 sales volume company on MLS from Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas. I had an especially great July and personally outsold all of the other companies in the area, except 98 Real Estate Group. The momentum that 98 has had in our first year has been tremendous and I’m very grateful for all of the support that we have had. Our success has been noticed and we are currently in talks for some very exciting new opportunities.

I’ve been asked quite a bit about what is being built on the West end of Port St. Joe on Hwy 98. It’s going to be a “market” Dollar General. According to this article less than 1% of the 9500 Dollar General Stores are market stores. The store is about twice the size of a regular Dollar General will carry fresh produce, dairy products, and meats. I look forward to continuing to work with so many wonderful people. Please let me know if there is anything that I can with any of your buying or selling needs.

I recieved this rate update from Amber Lowry at Vision Bank minutes before hitting send and wanted include this info.

Conventional/ FHA & VA / USDA - RD (loan amounts $417k and less):

30yr conventional = 4.375%

15yr conventional = 3.625%

Have a great weekend,

Zach Childs
Broker/Owner 98 Real Estate Group
Cell: 850-819-0833
Fax: 888-382-9608


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