Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Late Summer Market Update Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas

Greetings from your Favorite Coast,

I hope everyone is having a wonderful year and have been able to enjoy some time down in our little paradise. I have had very little time to sit down with all of the buying activity that we have had this year and therefore I haven't sent a market update out since March. 98 Real Estate Group has its 72nd and 73rd closings for 2013 scheduled this week. I can't tell you I haven't enjoyed some of our wonderful fishing and diving, but I can tell you I'm the number one ranked individual Realtor on our MLS with $12,152,190 closed in 2013. I'm very happy to report that market conditions continue to improve and most prices are seeing slight increases. More and more people are falling in love with the area and the confidence of buyers continues to improve. 2013 has seen people buying at the fastest pace since 2005.

Home values are still recovering/improving much better than vacant land and there are only 5 foreclosed homes on the market from Mexico Beach to Indian Pass as of 8/13/13. We ended 2012 with around 740 listings and are down to 653 properties on the market. This is a huge improvement as inventory continues to be reduced from over 1,700 listings on the market in 2006. Of the 653 properties on the market from Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas/Indian Pass, only 263 of them are homes. We are continuing to see more and more of a shortage for those not wanting to build, especially for those looking for single family homes near the beach. I would argue that 95% of single family homes could sell for more this year than last. We still have an oversupply in interior vacant lots on the market and this is the only segment of the market that hasn't seen consistent improvement. You still have 34 vacant lots listed as foreclosures.(Some vacant land prices have improved. There's a real shortage of Gulf View and beach front lots, which has led to an increase in value.) 

How many closings have there been to this point for 2013 vs 2012? Remember that 2012 saw the most closings since 2005. From 1/1/12 to 8/13/12, there were 373 closings. For the same period in 2013, there have been 378 closings. (You can see all of the 2013 closings by clicking the links below where the closings are broken down by areas). While we have seen the market inch up and certain areas have seen solid gains, we still have enough foreclosures and short sales that they are keeping the market from making a quicker recovery. 102 of the sales this year have either been short sales or foreclosures. 66 of the sales were listed as foreclosures and 36 more were listed as short sales

Who are your average buyers? The majority of buyers I'm working with remain people looking for 2nd homes or properties that they plan to use for retirement down the road. I've also sold to 6 or 7 first time visitors this year that are tired of the Panama City and Destin crowds and decided to buy here. The rental market that keeps strengthening has helped many of the purchases make sense from an investment standpoint. I continue to worry that rental owner's income will go down with the addition of the new properties being placed on rental programs, but each owner I've talked to is having at least very close to their best year. These reports correlate with the increases in bed taxes collected so far in 2013. And this is with an unusually cold Spring and rainy Summer. 

Where's the hottest market? This goes back to the last question. Most of these 2nd home buyers and people planning to retire here want to be near the beach. Mexico Beach/ St. Joe Beach/Windmark have led the way with 175 closings. There are a number of beautiful custom homes being built in WindMark this year, but there have only been 6 sales. This isn't that people don't want to buy in WindMark, but many of them are having trouble finding deals for close to what they could pay last year. Cape San Blas/Indian Pass had the second most closings with 144 as of 8/13/13. By far the hottest part of this segment is the North Cape which has recorded 77 sales this year. The demand for vacation rentals continues to help fuel the Mexico Beach and Cape San Blas market as investors are taking advantage of rental income. Port St. Joe has by far the largest full time population and hasn't seen near as much turnover with only 59 closings

Are many new homes being built? The number of homes being built remains at the highest levels seen in the last 8 years. The builders I'm talking with are also seeing a large number of homes in the pipeline to start construction in the next 6 months. Most of the newer homes are being built on Gulf view lots on Cape San Blas, Indian Pass, and WindMark Beach. I mentioned in March that we are seeing the first spec houses being built in 7 years. We are now seeing these sell and more being built.

How many properties are under contract? There's a very healthy 110 properties under contract. I'll brag on our team here since we have 22 of these under contract. Here's a link to the 110 properties under contract. 

What are the Best Deals Right Now? Check out the Top 25 at www.mexicobeachsales.com to find out. 

What's going on with The Club at Mexico Beach? Many of you remember me mentioning this project for years. The developers lost their 35 units to the bank and FDIC last year. A group I began working with out of New York purchased it in March. They donated $250,000 dollars to the HOA for needed repairs and also $52,000 to the reserve fund of the Condo Association. Sales have been great with 30 of the 35 units selling or going under contract since April. There are still 5 left and here's a link the website for this project: www.theclubatmexicobeach.com.

 Red Snapper Season Extended - Our Red Snapper fishing is world class in this area. An additional Red Snapper Season was announced for this year to take place from October 1st through 21st. Here are some of the Red Snapper we caught or speared this year.
The 17th Annual Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association's Annual Kingfish Tournament is coming up on August 23rd. This is a fun event with the Captain's Party being held on the 22nd at the Beacon Hill Memorial Park. Last year had 147 boats in the tournament and has had as many 197 boats. We hope this year is blessed with good weather and we can break 200 boats.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Spring Looks Good- 109 Properties Under Contract!
Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas FL
Zach Childs, Broker/Owner

February 28th, 2013
Greetings from your Favorite Coast,
I'm writing this newsletter with as much optimism towards our real estate market as I've seen since 2005. Prices have taken a huge plunge since that time, but it's fun to hear all of the people talk about prices on the rise. I feel too busy to stop and write a newsletter, but I had many people ask after the one I sent out last month to start sending them monthly. I share my optimism with Realtors and buyers I regularly talk to in our neighboring markets of Panama City, St. George Island, and Destin. All of them are reporting the highest interest from buyers since '05 and that prices are going up. Interior vacant lots remain the biggest exception to price increases and generally the closer to the white sandy beaches, the more of an increase you're seeing. Even Port St. Joe is seeing some good signs as the numbers of homes on the market keep getting lower and lower. In last month's newsletter I mentioned the first spec houses in years being built and we've seen some of those go under contract and more are being planned.
If you had a crystal ball, you could look back and see signs of the bottom of the market starting in late 2010 and 2011 after falling since late 2005. The signs of a correction starting were there, but confidence from buyers was low and the market was still fearful of what could come. That seems to be gone now and 90% of people I talk to that are informed on coastal real estate feel we are in for at least a few years of an upward swing. I don't want to sound too optimistic and am by no means saying we will get back to 2005 prices soon. It will take 10-15 years of moderate increases to get back anywhere near 2005 prices on some properties, but at least we've started going in the right direction. Here's an article published by Reuter's on Tuesday titled US Home Sales, Consumer Confidence Soars. Here's another positive article published on Wednesday by CNBC titled "Pending Homes Sales Soar Despite Rough Winter".

Our hottest market is the North End of Cape San Blas followed by Mexico Beach. "X" flood zone homes and lots on The North End are being snagged up and there's almost nothing on the market near the market low prices. The majority of well-priced newer inventory is gone in both markets and buyers are begging for more quality homes on the market. Rental income is helping to drive demand and further supports why our greatest demand is for properties near the beach. I've closed a few deals on St. George Island lately and that market is red hot as well. I closed one this month for $1,730,000 which was $335,000 over asking price after multiple offers came in and highest and best counters were given.

We are still having some fun along with selling property. Every year the 98 Real Estate Group cooking team participates in the Mexico Beach Gumbo Cook-off that raises money for the 4th of July fireworks show. We've got the Superintendent of Schools, Jim Norton, as our head chef and our team has gotten pretty used to winning. Our run ended this year and all we managed was a 3rd place in the Brunswick Stew category. Here's a cool video we made of the weekend.
Mexico Beach Gumbo Fest 2013
I told you last month that 2013 was looking like a prosperous year for us and as of this week, 98 Real Estate Group is number two on MLS for 2013. I have a big support team that helps me to be successful and I'm very thankful for all of them. I've recently had some big deals that have taken lots of work and time that have successfully closed for the buyers and sellers I've been working with. Because of them, I'm currently the #1-ranked agent based on sales volume for 2013.

I've been mentioning the lack of newer inventory and want to illustrate this fact. Below is the number of single family homes for each area built in 2005 or newer that are on the market.  

That's only 26 homes built in the last eight years on the market in a 35 plus mile stretch. What about all of those new condos in Mexico Beach? Well, there were eight gulf view projects completed in 2005 or later totaling 301 units. Of those, there are only 19 units on the market starting with a 2BR at $192,500.

This will be the 3rd year 98 Real Estate Group has presented the Ling Ding Fishing Tournament. Not only does this create activity for visitors but proceeds go towards local causes. We have added Amberjack as a 3rd species this year (in addition to Cobia and Spanish Mackerel) and the tournament will be held each weekend in April. Make plans to attend the kickoff party April 5th at Regan's Oyster Bar and the finale April 27th at Mexico Beach Marina.

The subject line of this email is true and there's a whopping 109 properties under contract from Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas. Click here to see the 64 residences and here to see the 45 vacant lots. This link will show the 65 properties that have closed so far in 2013. 98 Real Estate Group is continuing to produce well and we have 24 properties under contract. I'm proud of all of our agents, especially 2nd year agent Grant Terry. He currently has seven properties under contract and is negotiating offers on several other properties.

Don't forget the St. George Island Chili Cook-off is this Saturday. I will be running in the 5K hoping to not finish last. Here's a link to this fun weekend.
Quick Links...
Join Our Mailing List
Zach Childs
Broker/Owner 98 Real Estate Group
Email: zach@mexicobeachsales.com
Cell: 850-819-0833
Fax: 888-382-9608
www.facebook.com/ZachChilds                                  Like us on Facebook

Thursday, January 31, 2013

2012 Market Recap & Looking Forward- Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas

Greetings from your Favorite Coast,
Market momentum from 2011 carried through the Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas market with 2012 recording the most sales of any year since 2005. 2011 was the previous best year since 2005 with 439 sales and 2012 saw a nice increase to 554 sales. A decrease that I'm happy to report is the number of properties on the market has gone down from an all-time high of 1732 in 2006 to the lowest number since 2004 with an average of 872 properties on the market in 2012. Supply and demand support the slight increase in prices that the market is seeing and the majority of economic factors point to rising values.
2012 Sales-554 Total Sales
# of Sales
Avg Residential
Avg Vacant Lot Sale
Mexico Beach - WindMark227$195,305 $62,445 $10K-$616,750
Cape San Blas-Indian Pass231$294,568 $76,178 $11K-$1,385,000
Port St. Joe96$108,743 $26,643 $10K-$265,000
Vacant lot prices have fallen more than any other property type since the market began to fall in late 2005. Reductions of 60-70% from the height of the market are common and premier subdivisions like WindMark and Ovation have had many lots sell for 10 cents on the dollar. These premier developments rose the most and have fallen the hardest. The developers drastically reduced prices in Ovation and 51 lots sold from May to July in just that one subdivision; which only has 120 total lots. A friend bought one of the originally released interior lots in Ovation for $235K and later bought an identical lot next to his first lot for the list price of $19,000 which was one of the 51 sales. I made the last sale in WindMark last year which was a first tier lot purchased for $80,000. The previous owner paid $810,000 in 2004.

These tremendous reductions in lot prices have led to a mini-boom of construction in the area. People interested in purchasing often find that they can buy a lot and build exactly what they want for cheaper than they can buy an existing home. The majority of well-priced homes have sold over the past few years and there often isn't much to choose from. Cape San Blas, Indian Pass and WindMark are experiencing by far the most construction and these areas have the highest average sale prices for our area. My parents actively shopped for a home for some time and finally came to the realization that it would actually cost less to build exactly what they wanted in WindMark rather than purchase one of the few existing homes on the market. We are not seeing much building in Port St. Joe where there are still many existing homes at prices far less than construction costs. Mexico Beach
has very little building as well, due to the lack of a big reduction in lot prices close to the beach.

I am friends with a number of builders and there were some very lean construction years from 2006 to 2011. There were many times with less than 7 homes under construction for the whole area compared to the 35 plus current permits for homes under construction now. The builders that have stuck out the slow times are busy once again. The optimism is strong enough that we've even got "spec" houses being built which is something we haven't seen in 6 years. The number one complaint I hear from the buyers I show around is the lack of newer single family homes on the market. The high values from the early and mid 2000's led to the development of many nice condos, townhouses, and subdivisions, but not single family homes. I'm happy to see all of this building that will add to an even higher quality of inventory in the future. Click either name below to see active listings for that area: Ovation on the left andWindMark on right.
Ovation and WindMark Beach

Do we still have a lot of foreclosures on the market? Not on residences, but there are still a fair amount of foreclosed vacant lots remaining. (Thus the good deals that have led to all of the building.) As of 1/29/13, there are 5 residential foreclosures from Mexico Beach to WindMark , 2 in Port St. Joe, and 4 from Cape San Blas to Indian Pass.This link will show the11 foreclosed homes on the market: The number of short sales is way down and here are the 11 homes currently listed as short sales. Banks are still holding a higher number of vacant lots and this will show the 45 vacant lots listed as foreclosures:

2013 looks like another year of many people looking to buy good deals in our area. I've seen predictions for price increases from 2%-7% for 2013 and I believe we will see somewhere around a healthy 5% increase. I do not forecast more sales this year than last. We are simply running out of the largely bank-held and troubled inventory that results in high sales volume. Tranquil Harbor and The Club in Mexico Beach may provide good buying opportunities for condos in Mexico Beach as there are large numbers of distressed properties held by banks/developers in each project. We could see much better if Port St. Joe lands any companies that it's hoping come to the area to provide job opportunities. Port St. Joe home prices are driven primarily by the local economy and job market while the Cape and Mexico Beach are predominantly influenced by the second home, retirement, and vacation rental markets.

 A very positive sign of the market was the beach front condo building that sat vacant in Mexico Beach for 6 plus years being bought by a group from Nashville and finished out very nicely. They renamed this project The Vue and have been closing units out for higher numbers than we have seen condos sell for since 2006. (Beach front units start at $360k and the majority have sold or are under contract.)
Rental Market- The long term and short term rental markets are as strong as they have been since I started in 2004. Bed tax collections for vacation rental and motel stays set another record in Mexico Beach and Gulf County with each Board reporting gains over 12% for their financial year. The upswing in rental income is certainly leading to more people purchasing and justifying values from a rental income perspective. More vacationers are good for values and it's a fact that more people are coming each year and enjoying our area.
There is an extreme shortage of long term rentals so owners have been able to increase rates 10%-20% over what they could charge just a year or two ago. 98 Real Estate Group is strictly a sales company and we still average five calls a week from people that can't find anything on the long term rental market and are desperately hoping we might know of something. My sister recently moved here from Rhode Island and is working at Tyndall Air Force Base. She had reasonable expectations and looked very hard for something to rent for a few months prior to moving. She couldn't find anything and lived with me for 5 weeks before something became available. (She has dogs and this made her case a little harder than most, but it's tough for anybody to find a long term rental these days.)

How's 98 Real Estate Group doing? We are doing well and will celebrate being open two years next month. We've grown by adding Grant Terry, Regina Gossett, Gene Cline, and John Sherwood since opening. We haven't finished as the top sales company, but we have been close and with a few of the projects and strategic alliances we now have in the works, I'm hopeful we finish 2013 as thetop sales company for the area. Since opening, we have sold 164 properties totaling right at $27 million.
The potential impact of the money that Gulf County and Mexico Beach look like they will receive from fines BP is paying for the 2010 Oil Spill through the RESTORE Act could have a huge positive effect for the area. I feel like I need tomention it since the areas are projected to receive an infusion of capital like nothing seen here before. There are many different "pots" of money to be used for various projects and still many unknown factors. I hope our local leaders can guide the community and make the best of this situation as their decisions will have the possibility of doing great things for the area.Here's a link to read more about the RESTORE ACT.
Please let me know if I can help with any of your real estate needs. Don't forget theMexico Beach Gumbo Cookoff is coming up on February 16th. The 98 Real Estate cooking team will see you there as we defend our title. We are also planning the 3rd Annual 98 Real Estate Group Ling Ding fishing tournament to be held every weekend in April with a kickoff party on April 5th. Details will be out shortly.
Quick Links...

Zach Childs
Broker/Owner 98 Real Estate Group
Cell:  850.819.0833
Fax:  888.382.9608
Join Our Mailing List

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Port St. Joe Named in-"5 Can't Miss Coastal Towns"

5 Can’t Miss Coastal Towns

When it comes to taking time off for vacation, I’m headed to where ever that big blue spot on the map is located. Occasionally it’s a lake, but sometimes, I’m just drawn to the sticky salt air and sand between my toes. Call me old fashioned, but I’m just not drawn to the 24/7 spring break crowd these days. I’m looking for a spot where I can read a book, enjoy a healthy dose of alcohol and sun induced napping, and then turn it up later at night however I see fit. If you’re anything like me, then you are going to really appreciate this list of Five Can’t Miss Coastal Towns in the South.

South Walton Beaches

South Walton Beaches in Florida have been included on lists of the top beaches in the world for their pristine appearance, resorts that don’t feel like resorts, delicious food, and never being overcrowded. Some of the more famous beaches along this stretch in between Destin and Panama City include Seaside, Grayton Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, and Rosemary Beach. The beaches, all with different styles, are small towns of their own with different characteristics from one another. Grayton Beach attracts a more youthful crowd that enjoys tailgating on the beach by day, and heading to The Red Bar for drinks and fresh seafood by night. Head east from Grayton, and you hit Seaside, which is a great place to start a bike tour all the way down to Alys Beach. Eat, drink, and enjoy!
Grayton Beach, FL

Beaches of Charleston, SC

Downtown Charleston is an interesting spot, filled with history, a booming night light, and just the right amount of Southern charm. It is consistently voted as one of the top cities in the US (not just to visit, but to live.) Charleston offers visitors a variety of options for vacationing. If you want to hit the beach for a tan, go for it. If you enjoy shopping, you can easily burn a hole into your pocket. The city is filled with a variety of food and bars for all. Ask any local, and they will tell you that some of the best things to do can be found just outside Downtown Charleston as well. Make sure you check out Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, and Seabrook Island. These locations offer plenty of spots for lounging in the sand and more. Seabrook is more of a secluded area, where you can find more of a private experience that many laid back folks will enjoy.
Folly Beach SC

Savannah and Tybee Island

Savannah and Tybee go together like sugar and tea. Tybee Island brings the relaxing small town beach scene on the Georgia coast that many have come to love and return to year after year. It is considered to be the beach of historic Savannah, just 18 miles out from the city. After crisping by the sea all day, you can make your way around Tybee’s restaurants and bars like AJ’s Dockside Restaurant for dinner and a sunset. If you’re ready to hit downtown, be prepared with comfortable shoes; this town was made for walkin’! Downtown Savannah is overflowing with culture, shopping, tons of food, and absolutely no open container law! Yes, that means that you get to enjoy a fresh craft beer during the day while enjoying the city streets. The area is filled with sightseeing, nightlife, and outdoor adventures to experience as well. Make sure you mark this historic town on your beach bucket list.
Downtown Savannah

Port St Joe

A former bustling marina, Port St Joe, Florida has been called one of the best natural beaches in the country. Like a few of the other towns mentioned, there are a variety of things to experience in and around Port St Joe. For those of you who are looking to escape, and let life slow down for a week or two, Port St Joe might be your best pick. The town is located in Gulf County, and is surrounded by amazing campgrounds for all you outdoors enthusiasts. If you need a bite to eat, you can find some of the freshest seafood in the Gulf, Southern cuisine, bistro food, and more throughout the area. Kick back, order something tall and cold, and let time escape you. Port St Joe

Casey Key

South of Tampa Bay, you can find a small slip of beach on the southern Gulf called Casey Key, in Nokomis, Florida. If you’re tired of the over commercialized beach front, covered in giant condos and littered with empty beer cases, then you won’t want to miss Casey Key. This beach offers a secluded atmosphere, filled with fun outdoor activities such as fishing, shark tooth hunting at Caspersen Beach, sunbathing, and more. For those of you who tend to sunburn on the first day and need some indoor fun to stay cool, there are plenty of shopping opportunities just a few miles down the road. Looking for a spot that is always hot, never too busy, and filled with a dose of relaxation and adventure? Explore Casey Key, and enjoy some of what “Old Florida” has to offer!
casey key FL

About the Author Kevin

Kevin Ekmark is a graduate of Georgia College, in Milledgeville, GA. Professionally, he is the Director at TrustWorkz, Inc., a digital marketing firm for small business, and the Co-Owner of The Trot Line. He was born and raised in Georgia. Kevin loves peanut butter, bourbon, the outdoors, football season, and rare meat... Oh, and anything with bacon.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Commercial Market Update

The commercial market for Mexico Beach and Gulf County does not experience significant turnover.  However, we are receiving more inquiries and interest from people looking for move and open businesses in the area.  The beach areas have a more seasonal market with high numbers of visitors in the Spring and Summer vs. lower numbers in the Fall and Winter.  Port St. Joe has the largest full time consumer base with a much higher ratio of consumers that are full time residents.  There were 5 commercial sales in 2010, 8 in 2011, and 9 in 2012.  There are currently 20 properties on the market, including 1 lease opportunity.

Active Commercial Properties
243762 - Details: 464 HWY 22, WEWAHITCHKA, FL - $695,000
244573 - Details: 223 REID AVE, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $84,900
248434 - Details: 106 REID AVE, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $85,000
248219 - Details: 112 REID AVE, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $106,000
247851 - Details: 202 REID AVE, #3, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $120,000
248303 - Details: 107 2ND ST, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $124,900
248090 - Details: 304 WILLIAMS AVE, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $129,900
207845 - Details: 207 REID AVE, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $145,000
243402 - Details: 310 4TH ST, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $175,000
247696 - Details: 160 CESSNA DR, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $197,500
246017 - Details: 309 MONUMENT AVE, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $210,000
244746 - Details: 305 3RD ST, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $220,000
247850 - Details: 202 REID AVE, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $285,000
243802 - Details: 4002 HWY 98, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $425,000
207355 - Details: 314 REID AVE, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $695,000
248269 - Details: 4101 HWY 98, #A, MEXICO BEACH, FL - $2,500
208466 - Details: 3706 HWY 98, #102, MEXICO BEACH, FL - $200,000
246276 - Details: 280 FOUR J'S RD, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $299,000
247081 - Details: 180 LIGHTKEEPERS DR, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $539,900
247079 - Details: 190 LIGHTKEEPERS DR, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $819,100

2012 Commercial Sales
246875 - Details: 324 LONG AVE, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $55,000
243472 - Details: 301 REID AVE, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $73,500
244284 - Details: 325 REID AVE, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $135,000
242148 - Details: 112 REID AVE, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $165,000
247183 - Details: 210 COMMERCE ST, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $180,000
247125 - Details: 228 CESSNA DR, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $240,000
245912 - Details: 203 4TH ST, PORT ST. JOE, FL - $350,000
246112 - Details: 2802 HWY 98, MEXICO BEACH, FL - $32,000
245502 - Details: 1202 HWY 98, MEXICO BEACH, FL - $185,000

                                                                                     Downtown Port St. Joe

Zach ChildsBroker/Owner 98 Real Estate Group