SoWal Real Estate Report - Rising Prices and Falling Inventory

June 13, 2013 by Linda Miller

Florida Trend magazine recently named Rosemary Beach the wealthiest zip code in Florida, but we have known for a long time that we are rich because of the quality of life we have here!

It’s the peace of mind you feel when your children or grandchildren ride their bicycles down the street and you know they are safe, when you see your neighbors and you know their names, walking on over 2,300 feet of sugar-white sand beaches with turquoise-blue water, seeing the smiles of servers in our many fine restaurants who recognize you when you walk in, the shop owners who know your family when they see you, sounds of music from a concert or a play in the park, the beauty of the architecture and quality of construction in the well-planned town that makes life so easy to live, that’s what really makes us rich!

So, what about real estate today? This market is really fun right now. I had a pristine listing that hit the market in MLS Monday evening, and was under contract within 48 hours. We were working with a buyer who was well-informed and ready to commit, and a seller with realistic expectations, which made the negotiations go smoothly. Here’s the formula: great home + right price = sale!

Our Rosemary Beach community sales ended quarter one -7% from last year, compared to total Scenic 30A trend of +10%. Our average sale is $1,279,417 compared to 30A’s average of $641,400. Our Rosemary Beach Realty office sales are +55% to last year because we sell all of 30A and honestly, not everyone can afford a million dollar second home…and when our customers want a more affordable home, we can find them one.

The big issue is inventory which is -32% from last year on Scenic Hwy 30A, and -45% from 2011. In Rosemary Beach, we have 56 homes and condos on the market today, where we had 92 last year, 39% less. Sellers need to realize that this is the perfect time to sell, while interest rates are so low and buyers are motivated. If a seller owns an existing home and waits to sell, they may find themselves competing with more and more new product in the future, as builders and investors are building “spec” homes again. Interest rates can inch up and the buyer pool will get smaller. There is also a decline in distressed sales and foreclosures which alleviates the downward pressure on prices. We have called the “bottom” here in 2010 and our average price has gone up steadily since then.

Buyers need to know that with current interest rates hovering at an all-time low, it is a fantastic time to buy real estate! Because of the low inventory, a buyer needs to have cash or be pre-qualified to buy when the right house goes on the market, because they will not last long. Most importantly, you need a “trusted advisor” who knows the market and can identify a good buy when it hits the market so you can act quickly.

Residential land sales have more than doubled in the past two years on Scenic Hwy 30A, and are +24% in first quarter 2013. One hundred seventeen (117) lots have sold in the first three months of this year and there are only 468 listed, which is a nine month supply. The inventory of vacant lots is -33% to last year and on the south side of 30A, it is getting very difficult to find any vacant land to buy. We only have one vacant residential lot on the south side in Rosemary Beach available. 

Interested in Gulf front homes? Sales for the first quarter on Hwy 30A are -26% to last year and the inventory follows trends with 20% less than last year. The average sale is $2,457,000 and that price is up 5%, hopefully signaling that the few distressed Gulf front homes are sold and the market is stabilizing. Selling price to listing price is 93%. We only have four Gulf front homes available to buy in Rosemary Beach, ranging from $2,995,999 to 8,900,000. Gulf front lots? Five lots sold this year versus three lots sold last year with an average price this year of $1,185,416, which is even with last year. Once again, the inventory is only 29 lots available to buy on Hwy 30A’s Gulf front compared to 53 last year.

We LOVE to talk about real estate, so please come by our office at Rosemary Beach Realty on the square and “visit”. We are open seven days a week and always have an agent available to talk to you. We can’t wait to meet you and find out what you are looking for. You will be greeted with a SMILE…promise!

Originally published in the Rosemary Thymes

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