2013 Defined. Market Trends, Truths, and Awesome Pictures

As we take a look in the rear-view mirror at 2013, many memories may come to mind: the big events, from the Red Sox winning the World Series, Florida State taking the championship, Bitcoins, Nelson Mandela, and the government shutdown. And the smaller, more intimate events: laughs with friends, time with family, goals reached, and days at the beach. In the whirlwind of 2013, something huge occurred in Destin, Florida: home values recovered, builders built, and developers developed (and redeveloped).

Over the past 12 months in Destin, one trend has proven true: The market is HOT. In my 2013 experience, for the sake of time and space…

These are the trends and truths of the Destin market…

Nearly half of all property sales were purchased by cash investors. An even larger percentage of luxury home/condo sales (above $1M) were cash sales, the highest of which was $8,500,000 in Alys Beach.

New construction is all the craze. Builders are building spec homes in all price ranges (even above $2M. See Alys Beach). Taking a drive along scenic 98 or 30A will prove this trend.

Developers have gained confidence in the market, and the future. Redevelopment projects include Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Harborwalk Village; New development projects include: 1900-98 gulf front condo, Sunset Bar and Grill, 30A Venue, Somerset and the Shoppe in Alys Beach,  and more in the planning stages.

– Bubble buyers (circa 2007-2009) are gaining confidence in the market, many making the decision to sell their homes and re-invest in the market.

- Inventory is low. Searching for your perfect home? It may take a while, especially if you are a buyer with a financing contingency. Low inventory means that when those “great deals” do come on the market, there are usually several buyers waiting to jump on it – many with cash in hand.

Multiple offer situations are starting to become commonplace. If a home is priced right, in a good location, act quickly. These deals are selling for close-if-not-above asking price. If you are in the market for an REO (bank owned) with great potential, get in line. While most bank owned properties and foreclosures have already been purchased (And in many cases flipped), there are still some great deals to be had, and a few coming in the pipeline. If you want to get in on the action, being ready in advance with a pre-approval letter and the realization that offering above asking price is what it may take.

– Many investment property owners are purchasing multiple properties and renovating their “older” properties. Savvy investors know the importance of quality

Luxury buyers ($2,500,000 and up) are purchasing vacation rentals. Destiny By The Sea, the premiere gulf-front community of Destin has experienced a growth in perceived value with home sales on the gulf topping $4,000,000 and second and third tier (back from the beach) homes selling for $2,500,000 plus.

The vacation rental market is getting even hotter. As the economy recovers and stock market soars, visitors use discretionary income to visit vacation havens like the Emerald Coast. More bookings equal higher net income for owners, which means vacation properties become more profitable as well as increase in value.

The Year-Over-Year Statistics (2012-2013)

As the dust settles on 2013, statistics show a busy marketplace and strong home equity growth with home sales and home equity both up about 10% from 2012 totals. The marketplace also has been moving faster with efficiency, with the average home selling about a month sooner at 92% list price.

Home Equity Growth: +10%          Up to $436,000

Yearly sales: +10%          More than 150 sales more than 2012

Average price per square foot: +10%         Up to nearly $220

Inventory: -12%          Down below 10 months (2012=12.4 months)

The Year in Pictures:

As a tribute to 2013, I’d like to share what living at the beach is all about…



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