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Emerald Coast Real Estate Update

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July 30, 2014

Strong Real Estate Sales in NW Florida

NW Florida Real Estate Sales Are Up, Way Up!

The first half of 2014 has produced impressive gains in real estate sales here on the Florida Gulf Coast. When we look at the official MLS residential sales data provided by the Pensacola Association of Realtors, 2014 1st half year-over-year sales are up by 11.9%. If this were not impressive enough, 2014 June year-over-year sales are up by 18.8%.

Real estate sales in the Pensacola area

So, what is causing this tremendous surge in property sales?

Simply put, this is the result of "pent-up demand." The real estate market here had experienced a lower level of sales from 2008 - 2011, but in each year since 2011 we have seen significant and continued improvement. Real estate sales are gaining momentum and pricing is trending upwards in many neighborhoods.

The small Investor

There is a resurgence of small investors buying multiple properties to place on the rental programs. We see this for both long term and vacation rentals. Inventory on units that produce good rental revenue are now in short supply in some complexes.

Investors have been back in business for several years now buying lower end houses to renovate then rent. Flippers continue to target distressed homes in a desirable neighborhood to renovate then resell at a profit.

How should a buyer approach the market?

Properties that are priced to market value sell quickly so today's buyer must be prepared to act quickly when these opportunities are discovered. Opportunities are lost by buyers who procrastinate. Buyers need to be proactive in anticipation of making an offer by getting pre-approved for a loan. This shows the seller that the buyer is serious and qualified to proceed with the offer being made.

What if you have a property to sell first?

Most sellers in today's market will not accept a contract contingent upon the buyer selling their property unless that home is already under contract. Focus on preparing your home for sale and getting it listed first. Once you have your house on the market, you can begin to explore the homes available in the neighborhoods you like. Planning your move strategically can save a lot of headaches and the perception of lost opportunities during the process.

What Should Sellers Do?

The biggest mistake sellers make is listing their house or condo above market value. Sellers often want to base the sales price on personal needs "This is what I need to get", "I was told in 2005 it would sell for $$$" or the idea that the price they paid for the home should be factored into the equation "I paid that much for it in 2004." None of these things factor into the price for which a property will sell. A property is worth what the current market dictates its worth.

In conclusion:

We expect to see the second half of 2014 continuing the trend of growth in sales. We anticipate pricing for residential properties to increase in the second half of 2014.

If you are interested in buying, selling or would like more specific market information about your neighborhood or condominium, contact me.

Posted in Real Estate news
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June 6, 2014

Perdido Key Photo Gallery

Perdido Key Welcome Sign

This is the first thing you will see once you cross the Theo Baars Bridge as you arrive on Perdido Key.

condo pool near beach

This beautiful pool and deck area at Indigo condominiums are overlooking Perdido key beach and the Florida Gulf beyond.

Lost Key Golf Community

Perdido Key is home of the Lost Key Golf Course and golf community homes.

Purple Parrot Pool

The Purple Parrot swimming pool here on Perdido Key captures the tropical feel of island living.

The beach at Perido Key

Looking to the west on the beach near several beach front condos. The beach at Perdido Key is never crowded allowing you unwind and enjoy the natural sights and sounds.

Gulf Island National Seashore, Johnson Beach

Johnson Beach located at Gulf Islands National Seashore on Perdido Key. This beach is named in honor of the first casualty of the Korean War.

The jellyfish on Perdido Key

The Jellyfish is a great store that specializes in beach merchandise. Conveniently located less than a half mile after the crossing the bridge onto Perdido Key. Located across the street from the Indigo and Perdido Sun Condominiums.

Posted in Perdido Key
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May 24, 2014

Navarre Beach Photo Gallery

The photos in this gallery represent the Navarre Beach sights and activities that so many people come here to enjoy. Send us any photographs you would like to have included in our gallery.

Welcome to Navarre Beach sign

This iconic sign is located at the base of the Navarre Beach Bridge and is the first thing you see as you approach Santa Rosa Island.

Navarre Beach Pier

 A lone person sits on the beach enjoying a beautiful day near the Navarre Pier.

Visitors to the Pier

Navarre Beach Pier is the longest structure of its type in the Gulf of Mexico. Many local residents and visitors take advantage of the great fishing and sights here.

Navarre Beach Pier Resaurant

If you are out for the day at the beach, stop in for lunch at the Navarre Beach Pier Restaurant.

Condos and beach umbrellas

 A busy day at the beach as many folks rent chairs and umbrellas. The condos seen here from east to west are the Navarre Beach Regency, Beach Colony Resort, The Pearl and Caribbean Resort.

 People on beach in Navarre

 This is what people love about Navarre Beach, a relaxing beach life, clean sand and clear water. This is how many folks choose to spend their free time.

Santa Rosa Island Condos on Navarre Beach

 The view of the island, near the bridge, in Navarre on Highway 98. The condos seen here (from left to right) are Summerwind, Navarre Beach Regency Resort, Beach Colony, Pearl and the Caribbean Resort.

Navarre Beach County Park

This is one of the many picnic pavilions available at Navarre Beach Marine Park. The park has three reefs for snorkeling and the shallow water areas and beaches are prime locations for bird watching.

Santa Rosa Sound beach visitors

 Small beach on Santa Rosa Sound at Navarre Beach Marine Park.

Navarre Beach Bridge

 Island view of the Navarre Bridge from the park.

Rocco's Bistro

 Rocco's Bistro is a favorite restaurant and night spot on the beach.

Posted in Navarre Beach
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May 19, 2014

Home Buying in Pensacola High Water Areas

Recently the Greater Pensacola area was deluged by a record rainstorm that dumped twenty inches of rain in a 24 hour period. This was a flood from above and while most homes fared well others did not. You may have seen news coverage of subdivisions and neighborhoods engulfed by these storm waters.

House damaged during the May Pensacola flood

Interestingly enough, beach areas generally did not have any of the flooding issues that affected homes or condos in town. Other areas you might think of as high and dry were devastated. It all had to do with storm runoff and ponding in local low lying areas. Homes built with good drainage and higher physical relief did quite well.

Some homes that were for sale had water damage and are now undergoing clean-up and repair. Some roadways through the area  were damaged here and there; some severely and will take months to be fully repaired.

What should you consider while looking at homes for sale as a Pensacola area home buyer? First keep in mind that this storm produced the most rain ever recorded here. So, this is not a typical occurrence by any stretch of the imagination but you should evaluate the likelihood of the property flooding when choosing a new home.

The first person you should speak with is a real estate agent that knows the community where you are interested in buying. The knowledge a good Realtor has can save you a lot of heart aches and a pile of money.

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April 27, 2014

Has Pensacola Beach Gone To the Dogs?

Has Pensacola Beach Gone to the Dogs? You Bet it Has!
Many people that vacation or plan to buy a residence on Pensacola Beach want to bring their canine companions. Well you will be very pleased to know that are many facilities that love dogs as much as you do.
Some of the "dog friendly" accommodations here include; dog parks, restaurants, hotels, condominiums, RV parks and walking trails.

Dog Parks
Pensacola Beach has two Public Beach Dog Parks:

  1. West End Park is located west of Gulf Winds Condos at Parking Lot 5B.
  2. East End Park is located east of Portofino Resort Condominiums at Parking Lot E.

There are parking lots with ample parking at both locations. Doggie disposal bags and handy wipes are provided. Regulations require that dogs must be on a leash and are only allowed on the beach designated as dog-friendly at the above parks.

Pensacola Beach East Dog Park

Paradise Inn
Pensacola Beach
(850) 932-2319
A $25.00 fee is required.

Condominiums (for owners)
If you plan to purchase and condo on Pensacola Beach, you need to understand all the pet restrictions that are in place for the various condominiums.
Here is list of dog restrictions for some  popular condos on the beach.

Condominium Dog Friendly Additional Info
Portofino Yes  
Beach Club Yes  
Sabine Yacht and Racquet Club Yes  
Emerald Isle Yes 25 Lb Weight limit, 2 dogs
Emerald Dolphin Yes 25 Lb Weight limit, 2 dogs
The Verandas Yes  
Sans Souci Yes  
Santa Rosa Towers Yes  
Baywatch Yes  
Boardwalk Yes  

Contact us for complete and the most current regulations and information on specific condominiums.

Dog and family on Pensacola Beach

RV Parks
Pensacola Beach RV Resort
17 Via de Luna Drive
Pensacola, Florida 32561
(850) 932-4670
All non-aggressive dogs, up to three.

Fort Pickens
Gulf Islands National Seashore
(850) 934-2600
Dogs must on leash at all times in campgrounds and trails. Dogs are prohibited from beaches and historic structures.

Restaurants (out-door)
800 Quietwater Beach Rd.
(850) 932-2003

Lillo’s Tuscan Grill
5 Via DeLuna Dr.
(850) 934-5456

Boardwalk Cafe
400 Quietwater Beach Rd.
(850) 934-1223

Our community continues to strive to making this an exceptional place to live and to visit for the entire family, including your pet.

Posted in Pensacola Beach
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March 28, 2014

NW Florida Foreclosure Properties Tend to Be Low End

Residential foreclosures have been a wild ride in NW Florida.  Peaking in 2009, the total number of foreclosures has been decreasing since mid 2010 and the overall number of distressed properties for sale has also been in decline.

If you are looking for properties here in the Destin or Pensacola real estate markets you will find that some areas have few or no foreclosures available. As you can see below, foreclosures are in short supply for Okaloosa Island, Navarre Beach, Gulf Breeze Proper, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key.  Foreclosures in our market area are most likely to be found away from upscale neighborhoods.

Foreclosures in Short Supply

So how does price affect the chance of a house being listed for sale as a foreclosure?  When you look at available foreclosures by county the numbers vary a little but the average is 7.8%.  One thing the over-all averages do not show you is which price segments of the market are most affected.  53% of foreclosed properties selling in our market are listed under $100,000.  Properties in this price range make up only 18% of all properties for sale. There is clearly a disproportionate number of foreclosures affecting properties listed under $100,000.

Escambia County: 68% of all foreclosures are under $100k
Santa Rosa County: 50% of all foreclosures are under $100k
Okaloosa County: 42% of all foreclosures are under $100k

Table of Foreclosure Cities

Another way to look at this is that only 4% of local properties listed over $100,000 are foreclosed properties, while foreclosures make up 22.6% of the properties listed under 100K.

Today's foreclosures are listed at market price.  Banks commission an appraisal or hire real estate agents to determine a suitable sale price for the property through a “Broker Price Opinion” prior to foreclosures being listed for sale.  The lender knows what the property should sell for in today’s market and is getting market value for these homes.  As foreclosed and short sale properties decrease, the number of non distressed sales increase. 

The best opportunity for buyers in today's real estate market may not be a distressed property at all.  Buyers need to start looking at homes that are priced to sell and be prepared to move quickly on these opportunities.  This is particularly true for those looking for luxury and beach homes.

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March 23, 2014

Pensacola Beach Photo Gallery

Pensacola Beach Gateway

Historic Pensacola Beach Gateway sign, when you see this you are almost in paradise.

Beach chairs on the Florida Gulf Coast

This is why most people come to Pensacola Beach, great Gulf views and relaxation.

Pensacola Beach welcome sign

Welcome sign as you are entering Pensacola Beach on Santa Rosa Island.

Trolley Stop

This one of the stops for the free beach trolley. This a great way to get around the island for free.

Waterfront activities on Pensacola Beach

There are plenty of waterfront activities to keep you busy all day.

Portofino Condominium

Portofino on Pensacola Beach is one of the most amenity rich condominiums available locally.

Snorkeling Reef at Pensacola Beach West End Park

The signs you see here indicate the area reserved for the Pensacola Beach Park West snorkeling reef.

Observation Wheel

The Observation Wheel is a great way to get bird's eye view of all the beach has to offer.

Beach access

Access to Pensacola Beach over the sand dunes.

Pensacola Beach paddleboard class

Students at a paddleboard class in Pensacola Beach are preparing to launch their boards on the Pensacola Bay.

Florida Gulf from Tristan Towers Condominiums

Great view of the Gulf beach and Pensacola Bay at the West end of Pensacola Beach from Tristan Towers Condominium.

Pensacola Beach Dog Park

This is one of two Dog Parks at Pensacola Beach. The one you see here is located at the east end near Portofino. The other is located at the west end near Fort Pickens. Come and enjoy time with your pet on Pensacola Beach.

Posted in Pensacola Beach
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Feb. 23, 2014

5 Mistakes Homebuyers Make

Over the past fourteen years, we have had the pleasure of helping thousands of homebuyers. It is safe to say that I have seen just about every mistake that can be made by home buyers and sellers as a real estate agent and broker. Most of these mistakes are self inflicted; the good news is that these mistakes are easily avoided.

 Homebuyers making a mistake

  • No inspections. We have all seen the real estate programs where the investor decides to save a little money by not paying for a home inspection and/or termite inspection only to discover after closing there is significant hidden damage. While there may be legitimate reasons not to have an inspection (new construction), this is one step you should not skip over lightly.
  • Trying to time the market. We all want to get the best deal available; the best price, the best interest rate, the best potential. We often witness great opportunities disappear while people wait for verification that a better deal is not around the corner. Experienced investors will tell you to look for a sound investment in the current market.
  • Failure to understand the “local” nature of real estate. Real estate is big business and is featured all over the news these days. That being said; real estate markets in New York have little to do with what is happening in our market. What is typical in your town may not be the same here. Your real estate professional should be able to provide recent stats on what is happening in their local market.
  • Not shopping by neighborhood. We see a lot of people utilizing the internet to shop for homes with little thought to the neighborhoods they are looking in. Generally speaking, homes in a subdivision are similar in value to other homes in the neighborhood. A $250K home will be surrounded by other similarly priced homes and so will a $50K home.
  • Not all mortgage lenders are created equally. Talk to your realtor about local lenders so you can compare them to those internet lenders you have been in touch with. Learn what the local guidelines and challenges are so you can be assured that the lender you chose is ready, willing and able to assist you.

Buying a home is a team effort. Ideally your realtor, lender, inspectors, insurance agent and closing agents will all work with you and each other to make for a smooth transaction. When you work with a highly knowledgeable Realtor, you benefit from years of experience. There is a lot to know to make a sound purchase, don’t leave it up to chance.

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Jan. 27, 2014

Buying a condo; why association fees?

Why are there association fees anyway and what do they cover?

Insurance is generally one of the pricier items the typical HOA fees pays for.  These fees also cover upkeep and maintenance for the structures, grounds, common areas, parking structures and or parking lots and recreational facilities.  In addition, the HOA fees will need to pay for management staff, security, and the lighting, heating and cooling of common areas. Water, sewer and trash and pest control are typically included, and many condominiums also pay for basic cable.

Beach condo HOA fees

Every year the budget is established to cover the cost for all the items included in the HOA fee and is divided among the owners by the number of units or square feet.  These dues are generally collected monthly, but some associations may stipulate quarterly or annual payments.

The HOA can levy a special assessment when the association lacks sufficient reserves to pay for unexpected repairs or when it feels the reserves on hand may be too low to cover a potential major expenditure.  This “special assessment” can be levied in two ways; as a lump sum payment or can be pro-rated monthly basis and added to the current fees.

Most people associate condominiums with HOA fees, but home owners associations can also apply to single family homes and town homes.   PUD’s or planned urban development’s often offer amenities like swimming pools, tennis courts, golfing or even marinas that are managed and/or maintained by the management of their home owners association.

Your HOA may also have the legal power over rules that govern what is allowed or not for a particular condominium.  For instance, some common rules may pertain to pets, the kind and size, the types of rentals that are allowed, noise, parking rules and other behaviors, practices and conduct.  More neighborhoods are going smoke free than ever before.  Home owner association rules and regulations must be disclosed to potential buyers by Florida law.   If you are interested in a specific neighborhood ask your realtor to assist you in getting a copy of the rules and regulations for that HOA.

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Jan. 26, 2014

2013 Pensacola Real Estate Market Year in Review

It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since the crest of the housing bubble. Property sales peaked here on the Gulf Coast in 2004 while other markets trended behind us until early 2006.  Nationally not one metro area escaped the fall in sales and the inevitable subsequent bust.

Pensacola beach houses

Real estate sales in the greater Pensacola area have been steadily improving since 2008.  In 2013 things really kicked in to gear, and we anticipate that trend to continue to build in 2014.  You can see from the chart below 2013 was the strongest year since 2006 as many people have been taking advantage of low prices and affordable interest rates.

These residential sales numbers represent all homes, condos and townhomes that have sold in Escambia county and Santa Rosa county, Florida since January 1999.

Pensacola residential sales chart


2013 sales increased almost 14% compared to 2012 sales in spite of tighter lending practices and higher interest rates. So why are we seeing sales accelerate? Perhaps this is because there is a lot of pent up demand, and buyers are feeling more confident that there are better times ahead.

2013 provided a broad base of buyers made up of primary home buyers, first time buyers, military relocation, retirees, investors, second home buyers, beach resort buyers and buyers looking to turn a profit.  We saw an abundance of people investing towards long term wealth as well as those looking for properties to flip.

Residential sales prices are up and are moving in a positive direction.  The average price increase from 2013 to 2012 is up 4%, while the median price is up 5%. This appreciation has resulted in the number of upside down loans decrease dramatically, and this declining trend is continuing as property prices increase. More sellers and buyers are being attracted to the current real estate market since prices are rising and  distressed properties are on the decline.

The outlook for 2014 is bright.  The number of pending sales is up as well as buyer internet traffic of people looking for properties.  The internet is where most people begin to look for a home.

For more market information, see the Pensacola Association of Realtors 2013 Market Snapshot and Pensacola Market Sales Trends or contact ERA Emerald Coast Realty.

Posted in Real Estate news
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