Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Holidays from 98 Real Estate Group

Greetings Friends,
We'd like to take a moment and wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  It's been another fantastic year at 98 Real Estate Group.   We've barely had time to catch our breath and greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people. 


The market continues to improve with many new buyers deciding to join us in our little paradise.  There have been over 1,300 properties sell in Gulf County and Mexico Beach since 2013.  This easily makes 2013 and 2014 the two most active years in the real estate market since 2004 and 2005.  Prices are continuing to trend upward there are some positive developments that could become a reality in 2015.  We are finishing out the year strong with 2 closings today and another scheduled for Monday.   
I will send out a detailed recap of 2014 and give my projections for 2015 in a January newsletter.  
Zach Childs 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Summer Market Recap - Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas, FL- September 2014

It has been a great Summer at the beach.  Tourism numbers are up again and most businesses have had their best Summer ever.  The weather overall was very pleasant, and many new visitors have fallen in love with our area.  Real Estate continues to improve along the coast and prices are slowly rising on most property values.  The number of sales is now at the highest pace of any year since 2005.  In the first 8 months of 2013, there were 412 sales totaling $67,387,783.  For the same period in 2014, there have been 415 sales totaling $70,036,120.  There are also an additional 83 properties under contract as of 9/3/14. I've been extremely busy and am having a great year.  Lots of people decided it was time to buy and I have sold 20 properties since July 15th.   


Many property owners are continuing to take advantage of the improved conditions and are placing their properties on the market.  Despite 415 properties already selling and another 83 properties currently being under contract, the number of properties on the market has increased from approximately 615 at the beginning of the year to about 690 at this time.  This new supply of properties is great news for buyers but is the main reason we've only seen moderate price gains.  This is certainly frustrating some owners/sellers that are hoping for bigger and faster price increases.

Cape San Blas and Mexico Beach remain the two hottest markets.  The Mexico Beach/St. Joe Beach market has seen the most sales with 184 closings totaling $29,868,485.  Cape San Blas/Indian Pass has seen the most money invested by buyers with 162 sales totaling $33,367,190.  The Cape is seeing a number of high end sales with the average home selling for $366,912 and the average lot for $123,242.  $366,912 is way up from the $282,134 average for the same time period in 2013.  This segment of our market is seeing the strongest recovery of prices, but it did see some of the biggest decreases from 2005 prices as well.  Even at the higher selling prices, most of these properties on the Cape are still selling for well less than half of what they sold for in 2005.  Buyers are considering these great values and have been taking advantage of the prices.  The Mexico Beach to WindMark market has seen an average home price of $218,482 and average lot prices of $59,253.  Port St. Joe remains our most affordable market with the average selling price for houses at $135,321 and lots at only $23,997. 

The "North" End of Cape San Blas has probably seen the most appreciation over the last 2-3 years.  The average selling price for a single family home this year is currently $406,840.  Most of the properties in Mexico Beach have also seen a nice gain in value over the last 2-3 years.  The zoning in Beacon Hill and St. Joe Beach that allows RV's and mobile homes has been very popular, but it has also kept the average home prices down compared to Mexico Beach where this is no longer allowed.   Properties seeing the most appreciation are those close to the beach with reasonable insurance(X-flood zone preferably) that are newer or in good condition and with the potential to bring in high rental returns.   

What are my favorite deals on the market? The
Top 25 Homes and Top 15  Lots were updated today for the Mexico Beach to WindMark Market.  Here are what I think are the best deals on houses  and vacant lots in Port St. Joe.   Here are the houses, condos and townhouses and the vacant lots on the market in the Cape San Blas/Indian Pass area that I think are the best deals.  Everybody always wants to know what foreclosures are on the market.  Here are the 4 homes and the 24 lots

We've gotten great National press this year for Cape San Blas and Mexico Beach. 
A recent CBS Money Watch Article named both Cape San Blas and Mexico Beach as Top 10 Vacation Hotspots. 



The relocation of the lighthouse from Cape San Blas to Port St. Joe has been a big headline this Summer.  It is certainly an asset for the Port St. Joe community and is a cool site that you can see when you enter town from the Cape or the Mexico Beach direction. The local Port St. Joe economy is improving and the addition of the lighthouse is already helping to generate more interest and business in the town.
The 18th Annual Scallop and Music Festival is scheduled for September 12th and 13th.  It's being held at George Core Park where the lighthouse is now located. Friday night will be highlighted with the unique musical soundings of Dread Clampitt. Saturday night features a compact duo of Tobacco Road followed by Joe Diffie taking the stage at 9:00 pm.  I'm one of the volunteers for this event and might see you there if you make it to this fun event. 




Zach Childs
98 Real Estate Group 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monthly Market Update - Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas, FL- June 2014

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 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 Vacant Lots

Port St. Joe Homes

Port St. Joe Vacant Lots

I am regularly updating and ranking the best deals for the Mexico Beach to WindMark Beach market on www.mexicobeachsales.comHere's a link to my Top 25 picks.

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.


Zach Childs
98 Real Estate Group