Emerald Coast Real Estate Update
Trusted Real Estate News Blog
The pictures on this page give visitors a glimpse of what makes Destin such a popular destination. If you have photos you would like added here please contact us.
Looking at the Destin beachfront over the sand dune sea oats.
Two people putting a lot of effort into building a sand castle on the beach.
Many people like step out of their condominium directly onto the beach.
A lone seagull on a sunny day.
A nice view of the pool at the Palms of Destin Condominium.
The current Pensacola Bay Bridge linking Gulf Breeze and Pensacola via US Hwy 98 was constructed in 1960. Although, officially named the Philip Dane Beall, Sr., Memorial Bridge it is locally known as the "Three Mile Bridge" in reference to its three-mile drive across the bay.
I am not sure when initial plans to replace the existing bridge first came to light, but I have found one article dating back to 2001 that references a two-year study to commence the same year. To say this has been in the works for some time now would be an understatement. The bridge has been the topic of many meetings, plans, and studies over the years, all of which caused delays for various reasons. It now appears the new Pensacola Bay Bridge to Gulf Breeze has a projected start date of early 2017 according to "Buz" Eddy, Gulf Breeze City Manager.
The impact and potential loss of use of Wayside Park and the boat launch have been a topic of heated discussions over the years. The new bridge will be significantly higher than the existing one; 15-22 feet higher. While this elevation offers some benefits for the park, it does not address the concerns of local businesses.
The new bridge will have six lanes, a bike path, and a protected pedestrian way. These features are a huge improvement over the existing four-lane bridge. Today a stalled car or a minor accident can result in extensive delays. Runners, walkers or cyclists make a precarious trek across the bridge.
These improvements will be positive for transportation, recreation, and tourism, but the completion date is 2022 which is still a long way off. Construction will inevitably create delays and other inconveniences but in the long run this is a good and necessary change that will positively affect Gulf Breeze real estate and home values.
Change is difficult but inevitable. The bridge will be built; the question is when?
New Low Down Payment Requirements for Home Mortgages
In an effort to boost the real estate industry and ease up the tight restrictions on mortgages put into place after the market crash a near decade ago, the government's mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced a new change in requirements.
Before the market crash, banks had reduced income requirements for home and condo buying to ridiculous levels, allowing just about anyone to get a mortgage - whether they had the monthly income to support the payments or not. What started with wealthy investors buying preconstruction condos and new homes to "flip" and re-sell for large profits became a popular sport for nearly everyone exposed to the opportunity, including many who lived from paycheck to paycheck.
Early on, many people made a lot of money. But by the time the average person got involved, the market was slowing, and soon bottomed out entirely. Even the investors had pushed the limits and often went too far, trying to capture the last profits. The aftermath exposed thousands of mortgages made that couldn't be fulfilled. Foreclosures were rampant, and the US economy was nearly brought to its knees.
Since that time, restrictions have been so tight that only those with cash, impeccable credit, and stable high paying jobs have been able to buy a home or vacation property, which has put a damper on the recovering real estate industry. Income restrictions made sense; a mortgage that can't be paid back helps nobody. But down payments have always been at a minimum of 20 percent on mortgages backed by Freddie and Fannie, and banks are now reluctant to make a mortgage that isn't. With the average home price of $200,000, buyers have been required to come up with a whopping $40,000 down payment. First time buyers, young couples and families, and even those with average incomes have trouble acquiring that kind of cash.
So in an effort to spur the real estate market to faster recovery, they have decided to reduce the down payment required for moderate income levels and first time buyers to an all-time low of ONLY 3% down! Other tight restrictions will still apply, and payments can't exceed 43% of the borrower's monthly income. This makes sense to allow middle or low income home buyers an opportunity to fulfill the American dream of owning a home, without allowing the irresponsible borrowing of the pre-bubble era. What a win-win for all concerned!
Fannie Mae may begin to offer the new loan guidelines by Christmas, aimed at first time buyers, requiring PMI or mortgage insurance payments, and a financial counseling program to qualify.
Freddie Mac is looking towards March of 2015, geared at low and middle-income buyers only, also requiring PMI and counseling. Monthly payment restrictions will remain at the 43% maximum levels for both.
Many young people and those who thought they could never buy a home will have a whole new and exciting option open to them, and maybe even find the dream of home ownership dropped down their chimney when Santa rides by this year. If you want to buy your first home or condo, call us right now to get started!
It was a warm fall day in West Pensacola as I turned off Fairfield Drive toward my destination at 7917 Comet Ct. The house sits at the end of a short street on a cul-de-sac.
As I stepped out of the car and gathered my photographic equipment, I found the surroundings were very quiet and relaxing.
This home is bright and clean with wood and tile flooring in the main parts of the house and carpet in the bedrooms. There are two full bathrooms and five bedrooms with plenty of storage space inside and out. There is even a large hobby room with access to the carport.
The roomy kitchen has nice oak cabinets and granite countertops, and an open floor plan is well suited for entertaining friends and family. There is a living room, family room, and large den; all totaled there is close to 2000 sq ft of living space.
The yard is quiet and has plenty of space for children and pets without excessive yard area to upkeep.
If you are looking for a roomy family home in Pensacola at an affordable price, then this is one property you must visit. Watch this Youtube Video for a virtual tour or contact Emerald Coast Realty in Pensacola to arrange a specific time to view this property, 850-437-5618.
The latest predictions from Frank Nothaft and other Freddie Mac economists should please investors, real estate agencies, and everyone who benefits from the industry.
The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation is a public government-sponsored enterprise that works with mortgage lenders to help people get lower mortgage costs and easier access to home financing. Best known as Freddie Mac, the institution is widely recognized as one of the best authorities for their economic niche. And their Economic and Housing Market Outlook in November is heartening.
The economy as a whole is expected to sustain about a 3% growth next year. Reasons cited were lower energy costs supporting consumer spending and investment from businesses, loosening of the strict credit requirements enacted since the market crash, and an overall better consumer outlook and confidence in the US economy.
According to chief economist Nothaft, these conditions will create better paying jobs, more new jobs, and more money to spend on home buying or upscaling.
Other predictions from Freddie Mac for 2015 include:
1. Home prices and appreciation that have been running around 9.3% will slow to 4.5% by the end of 2014. While an individual homeowner/seller might not be too pleased with this, it is a good thing for the industry as a whole. Combined with certain increasing mortgage rates, a "too-high" appreciation will make it harder for buyers to afford a home.
2. Mortage rates will increase in 2015, probably rising to an average of 4.6%, and perhaps as much as 5% by the end of next year. Presently below 4%, this is a pretty big increase.
3. The building of new single-family homes is expected to rise by about 20% in the coming year, creating an increase of about 5% in total home sales.
4. While mortgage refinances of single family homes should slow (and has already slowed), new mortgages for condos and townhomes have surged by around 60% in the last 3 years. Freddie Mac is expecting this surge to continue in 2015...increasing again by about another 14%. This is particulary great news for resort areas like Pensacola where condos are so plentiful and need a boost in sales.
These are all good signs that Pensacola area real estate will continue to get better in the coming years and help the public to feel better about home ownership!
Today was a cold and windy fall morning in Pensacola as I pulled up to a nicely renovated East Hill bungalow at 1225 E Scott St. This attractively landscaped home is surrounded by a classic white picket fence.
Behind the fence a lovely front porch with wicker chairs and a swing, the pastel green house color completes the picture. What a great place to spend an afternoon sipping tea.
As I entered the warmth of this home, I was stunned by the rich wood floors and ceiling in the living room. The fireplace was ablaze and welcoming on this chilly morning. As I continued through the house, there were stunning wood floors everywhere. There are two bedrooms; the master bedroom has a master bathroom with small black and white tile floor, a legged bathtub, pedestal sink and an oval window that poured light into the room.
The kitchen has a gas stove and range, which all cooks prefer, and rollaway Island for addition counter space while cooking. Adjacent to the kitchen is the formal dining room that is abundantly lighted by large windows. On the end of the kitchen, there is a cheery dinette with plenty of windows and a delightful spice cabinet that is made from an in-wall antique ironing board cabinet.
The real bonus here is there are two residences on the property, the main house and a second small house that is ideal for family members or visitors. There is a large living area, large bedroom and several nice niches for relaxing, studying and lounging. See the YouTube Video of this fine house.
This wonderful property in the heart of East Hill is listed for sale with an asking price of $349,400. To schedule a tour, contact Kim Gibbons, Broker at Emerald Coast Realty in Pensacola, 850-437-5618.
There are a lot of reasons that East Hill is highly desirable for so many people in Pensacola. The tree-lined streets, well maintained older and historic homes are which give the East Hill neighborhood a feel of "time gone by".
The sense of community is strong here, and the East Hill Preservation District strives to protect and preserve the character and charm this area holds.
The East Hill house being photographed today is 2130 North 12th Ave, Pensacola FL 32503. Located at the corner of Maxwell and North 12th Ave property is situated one block from J's Pastry Shop, City Grocery and Jacobs Chiropractic.
Commonly referred to as just "Twelfth Ave", that is home to many businesses, professional establishments, schools, churches and restaurants. Conveniently located, 12th Ave is between downtown and the mall/airport.
This three bedroom and two bathroom house was renovated with attention to detail throughout and looked fantastic. The kitchen has all new fixtures, lighting and appliances including a wine cooler, slate floors and granite countertops. Likewise, in both bathrooms, all fixtures are completely renovated with very nice stone and tile work, this house pops. The floors in all the other living spaces have bright bamboo flooring, and the paint throughout is tastefully chosen. This home is fully finished and move in ready. View this YouTube Video for a complete virtual tour of this property.
You can arrange a tour by calling Kim Gibbons, broker at Emerald Coast Realty in Pensacola, 850-437-5618 or any of the other 26 real estate agents in our company.
Today's photo shoot takes me to the waterfront community of Innerarity Point, on Pensacola's west side. As you turn off of Perdido Key Drive and travel down Innerarity Point Road, there is a distinct change in atmosphere.
The feel is relaxed, and time seems to slow down a little. The tree lined streets lead me to an elevated home located on Callaway Pond at 14264 Massey Drive, Pensacola, FL. This pond is about one acre in area, which provides great waterfront views. Many trees give you the impression of a forest lacustrine setting.
The open floor plan of this home showcases the great room which has wonderful forest and water views from the two sliding glass doors and windows. There is a food bar that merges with the kitchen and a wood burning stove for the cool fall nights. There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms. See the Youtube video for this property
The home is raised construction, with decks on three sides and has with plenty of covered parking and storage below.
This homes is for sale, to schedule a tour contact Kim Gibbons, Broker at Emerald Coast Realty, 850-437-5618.
Making a Small Home Look Larger
Maybe you bought a one bedroom condo because the price fit your budget. Maybe the two bedroom home that was so cute when it was just the two of you is too small for your family of four. Even if your property is not that small, it looks that way, even to you. What can you do to make a home or condo appear larger than it really is? Here are some tips to help!
1. Keep rooms painted white, light or neutral colors. Dark colors make any room look smaller.
2. Replace any dark carpet with lighter colored, solid carpeting.
3. Replace that sectional sofa with something smaller. Large furniture will crowd the room and take away any impression of space.
4. Remove that queen or king sized bed and replace it with a full bed instead. Keep as much room open around the bed as possible and the bedroom will seem larger. Distance the bed from the door.
5. Remove area rugs and shine up the hardwood floors. Make sure any tile or carpet is spotless and uncluttered.
6. Adding a large mirror to any room will make it appear larger.
7. Remove sofas or chairs upholstered in patterns, and replace with lighter, solid colors.
8. Get rid of any extra "what-nots" and keep counter space clear of unneeded items.
9. Brighten rooms with extra light, or lighter window dressings.
10. Clean the closets before showing the home or condo. Empty spacious closets are always a plus!
Taking the time to make your property appear clean, fresh, and uncluttered will help to sell it, and impress a prospective buyer with room, whether true or appearing so. Let us give you some suggestions before you list and we can help with the sale!
Kim Gibbons of Emerald Coast Realty was lucky enough to be invited to the Portofino Home Owners Meeting today at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Pensacola. One of the items on the agenda was the development of the remaining 12 Acres available at Portofino Condominiums on Pensacola Beach.
The speaker, Robert Rinke, Owner/Broker of Levin & Rinke, discussed the planned development but made it clear these plans are preliminary at this stage. He showed drawings depicting two new towers oriented towards the gulf and the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Range Point is to the north of this new development and will not be affected.
The proposed new Portofino towers, six and seven will maintain the triangular design that the other towers have, but will only have six condo units per floor. This proposed expansion will add 234 homes to Pensacola Beach. The speaker stated that Pensacola Beach has a cap on building that will be maxed out with this new development.
Beach to Bay was that the theme speaker kept returning to during his presentation.
The preliminary plans included a massive terraced pool, conference center, and plenty of room to cater to local events including weddings. Several new options were discussed including promoting a wellness aspect to the facility and teaming with doctors from the Mayo Clinic/Baptist Hospital. Other ideas under consideration include an Eco Spa, an upscale grocer on site and a ballroom.
These plans are very exciting news for Pensacola Beach!