If you haven’t looked lately, you may not have noticed he real estate market in Franklin and Gulf counties is on the rebound.
“It is doing well. Sales have picked up, and there’s a lot of activity of new construction,” said Gloria Salinard, director of the Realtors Association of Franklin and Gulf Counties. “Prices pretty much have started to increase just a little but they have not soared.
“It’s looking very promising,” she said. “We’ve even picked up some new members because the market is started to show some strength.”
To illustrate how steady and strong the market is these days, compare sales in June with those of past years, and you’ll see that the numbers are closing in on those of June 2004 and 2005, when the market was at its peak.
Last month, there were 80 residential sales between Carrabelle and Mexico Beach, with a median price of $260,000. Sales were strongest in Mexico Beach and St. Joe Beach, with 19, followed by 13 each on St. George Island and Cape San Blas.
Beyond that, Carrabelle had nine sales, Apalachicola and northern Gulf County each eight, Port St. Joe seven, and Eastpoint three.
A year before, in June 2016 there had been almost as many sales, 75, with a median price of $240,000. Mexico Beach and St. Joe Beach again led the way with 21, with 14 in Port St. Joe, 12 in Carrabelle, 11 on St. George Island, eight on Cape San Blas, five in Apalachicola, and the rest scattered in Eastpoint and northern Gulf County.
With 85 sales in the area in June 2015, that particular month’s sales, reflective of the entire year, have climbed steadily since they bottomed out in 2008 with 18. The June sales aren’t yet back up to the level of 2004, when there were 124, but they’re climbing towards the 93 sold in June 2005, when the market started on its decline.
Between 2006 and 2011, no June had more than three dozen sales, and this year’s numbers appear to be putting that trough in the past, and are now steadily but slowly gaining ground.
In the second quarter of 2016, there were 209 sales with a median price of $238,000. This year, the second quarter has shown 218 sales, with a median of $246,000. Second quarters are generally stronger than first quarters in terms of sales, Salinard said.
She said the picture seems to include a growing number of fulltime residents, as well as some “flippers.”
“As soon as it becomes a buyers market, as prices start going up, you’ll have buyers who will buy it as an investment and turn around and sell it immediately,” Salinard said. “They (realtors) are seeing that more of the buyers are purchasing and they’re moving here. They’re not just purchasing as a vacation or second home.”
She said that when she began with the realtors association in Nov. 2004, the group had 499 members, and actually was more limited in scope, including only southern Gulf County. Today there are 224 members.
“A lot of them found different avenues of income because the market was so bad,” she said.
Salinard said that current inventory shows that throughout the association’s territory, there are 499 active listings, with 83 properties under contract.
“In the heyday, when the market was so hot, speculators were putting in developments in hopes of selling the land, and several sold several times over. Unfortunately the bottom fell out of the market and some individuals who bought high are holding on. Unfortunately there they sit.”