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Web Stats Help Reveal SoWal's Real Estate Market

June 12, 2016 by Jason Polancich

Memorial Day 2016 has come and gone and Summer is officially upon us here in South Walton on Florida’s inimitable Emerald Coast.

That means visitors from all over the country are making their way to SoWal for a stay in their favorite vacation homes and condos for some well-earned relaxation and family time. For many visitors, it also means another opportunity to look around and consider buying that retirement home or vacation place they’ve always wanted. According sales data from the Florida Realtors Association, it’s an opportunity many are already taking.

Since the start of the year, closed sales of single-family homes here in Walton county have been steadily rising over last year. In fact, sales in April of this year are up almost 25% over last year, while available inventory is down almost 10% from 2015 numbers. Prices are up almost 10% over last year.

For condos and townhomes, the story is shaping up a bit differently. After ending 2015 as a hot market, condo sales are dropping in the county with solid inventory, yet prices have risen over last year.

But these numbers only tell a story that’s based on what is known about closed deals - a great indicator, but just one part of the picture you need to know if the time is right for action. As a buyer or a seller, it’s also important to know what other people are actually looking for in their home search. At any given time, there’s a big pool of home-seekers out there who have not found what they’re looking for, or are just starting their search.

Just for starters, understanding what buyers are currently seeking will help you time your entry to the market to sell your property. And if you're buying, having the right info wil tell you how fast you’ll need to move when you do find an attractive listing.

Let’s take a quick look at the web browsing habits so far this year for our brokerage, Maison Bleu Properties. Our website is one of the busiest sites on the Emerald Coast for home seekers, averaging over 25,000 page views per month. Since January 1st, we’ve had over 25,000 web visitors averaging about 6 pages per visit to our site.

So what are home-seekers looking for and how does that stack up with trends in closed deals?

Since the start of the year, here are the top 10 trends:

  • Destin is the top area viewed with about 29% of the clicks. Clicks to 30A neighborhoods check in at a close second with 25%.
  • Seaside is the top 30A neighborhood searched for with 11% of the clicks (despite having the lowest inventory of homes on 30A).
  • Seagrove Beach and Watercolor come in at 5% of the clicks each and the lowest performing neighborhoods are Grayton Beach, Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach and Inlet Beach.
  • Condos are the most searched for property type, followed by Investment properties and then Single-Family homes.
  • Visitors clicked on seller info pages more than buyer info pages (seller clicks totaled almost 10% of all clicks to the website).
  • Web viewers spent the most time on pages with information about Pocket Listings - listings not in MLS sold agent-to-agent.
  • Most web visitors come from Florida, New York, California, Georgia and Louisiana.
  • Visitors spent more time on 30A pages than all other neighborhoods with highest interest being Watercolor and Seaside (Lowest is Alys Beach).
  • Overall web traffic to our site is increasing month over month in 2016 with the biggest jump coming from those actively searching for real estate in our area.
  • Social Media, Referrals and Search are our biggest sources of traffic for home searches.

As you can see, web stats provide interesting data when added to the latest information we have on home deals that have actually closed. But what can this tell you about the market in our area? Closings are up a great deal from last year and the increasing web activity would indicate this trend will continue as we head into the second half of 2016.

While condo closings are down and prices up, more people are searching for condos than any other property type. If you’re having trouble moving your condo, perhaps consider more aggressive pricing to secure a deal in this market. You might also consider using a brokerage that emphasizes strong digital marketing, as buyers are clearly interested in condos.

On the flip-side, if you’ve stumbled onto the “just right” condo and are contemplating an offer, you might wanna hurry up. Chances are, your competition has found it too.

Web viewers are clearly interested in investment opportunities in 2016 with views of this information outpacing searches for single-family homes. With the number of closes remaining high for single-family homes and inventory dropping, could a run on available vacant land and and new developments be underway? It could be a good time to get in on the ground floor.

More than interesting stats, if you stay on top of the data, you can chart trends in real estate that could help you make or save money on your Walton County property.


Jason Polancich's picture

Jason Polancich is the founder of Maison Bleu Properties along with his wife and lead agent, Rebekah Polancich. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company, as well as all digital marketing, data analysis and software. Jason & Rebekah live beside the Choctawhatchee Bay with their three children and an energetic black Labrador, “Bear.”

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