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.
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.
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.