As restrictions have eased post-COVID’s shutdown, there’s been nothing gradual about the reopening of the Emerald Coast. The word is out about our little part of the world and plenty of people are determined to own a slice of it.

Since May, our group at Cindy Cole Fine Homes has sold houses to people from Illinois, California, New York, Washington State, and Rhode Island. Buyer sentiment is similar across the board: “I can now work from home and live anywhere.” The logical choice for many seems to be the Emerald Coast.

In fact, our group’s $50M in pending and/or closed sales through July already tops our highest full-year performance ever. The months shut down by COVID-19 gave me time to eliminate excess spending, hire a cracker-jack digital marketing expert to expand the reach of clients’ properties, refine systems and processes, and train a new agent. Our little ship is running tighter than ever.

In Destin – South Walton, pending home sales for the period May 15 – July 15 jumped a full 100% as compared to the same period in 2019.  Condominiums faired even better with a 130% increase.

Bayfront homes are hot sellers, with less than 3 months’ inventory currently on market (extraordinarily low). In May, Destin’s Waterford neighborhood recorded a high bayfront sale of $8.8M. 30A’s gulf front home prices now approach $5M on average, with seven homes currently listed above $10M. Golfing neighborhoods like Regatta Bay are seeing an increase in number of sales as well, with prices remaining stable.

In our market, desirable, renovated properties often attract multiple offers, quick sales, and above-list sales prices. We do, however, have a few vulnerable spots that will determine future performance and pricing.

In particular, homes that have not been updated in the previous 7- 10 years are difficult to sell. For instance, in one of Destin’s prime gulf front neighborhoods (built in the early 2000s), most homes have never been updated. There, available housing exceeds demand by more than 100%. It may take a price correction for these homes to begin to sell. 

Vacation rental companies report maximum occupancy for summer months. After a spring halt in rentals and a slow start to fall, however, we may see some high-rental buildings and neighborhoods with increased seller motivation.

Nationwide, by contrast, homes sales are sluggish. Post reopening, pending sales for May are down over 5% as compared to the same period last year. Southern states recorded the only increase in pending sales (+1.9%) while northeastern states saw the greatest decline (-33.2%). 

Overall, we are excited about fall and the year ahead. We can’t predict the future, but what we do know is that today is an excellent time to sell a property. Even sellers whose homes need a little TLC will find that limited inventory offers an opportunity to sell above last year’s pricing.

As always, Cindy Cole Fine Homes provides free, no-obligation opinions of value and marketing consultations. We can even help sellers get their homes in optimal “ready-to-sell” condition. Reach out today by calling 850.502.6344 if you’re considering a change, and we’ll point you in the right direction.