The Forgotten Coast is steadily making a real estate comeback

St. George Island stabilizes after a year of low-cost sales

St. George Island, often used as a barometer in gauging real estate trends along the Forgotten Coast, is a market that seems to be steadily making a comeback. In the past year, sales have started to increase and coastal properties are flying off the listings faster than you can say “sunset.”

The problem in recent years has been that the price just wasn’t right for many potential homeowners. High prices were getting sellers nowhere, and the entire area suffered from lack of movement. In that time, prices dropped 60 percent to 70 percent on average. Some properties even sold at a 90-percent drop.

“We are definitely a buyer’s market right now,” said Alice Collins of Century 21 Collins Reality.

However, time may be running out to find a steal.

“Buyers looking to pick up real estate here need to act now,” said Jerry Thompson of Prudential Shimmering Sands Realty.

Houses are no longer just sitting on the market waiting to be haggled over and dealt with, Thompson said.

“We’re seeing a real heavy amount of activity on the purchasing end of the deal. A lot of homes have now been sold, homes that were just sitting there for some time,” he said.

The fact is, the market was low, and investors and vacation homebuyers have started to take advantage. There was a 63 percent increase in homes purchased between 2010 and 2011. This figure is holding steady in the first quarter of 2012.

The demand for vacation homes has also been rising. Ever since last year’s price drop, buyers have been scooping up whatever properties they could. The market has left its “low-sale lull” and moved forward.

“There’s a heavy flow of activity on beachfront homes specifically,” Thompson said. “It’s not uncommon to see four to five offers on the same property right now, and consequently, many beachfront homes are now going for more than the asking price.”

Prices are still below what they were during the peak of the market — a peak that may never have been deserved, according to Thompson.

“What we’re seeing now is a stabilization of values, without the downward trend in prices,” Thompson explained. “There is a slight upward trend in values as the market recovers, but because of the low inventory, we predict the values will start increasing more steadily in the next year or so.”

Even though the median home sale remained relatively flat, the large reduction in inventory will most likely relate to some increase in values in 2012 if activity continues.

The market may be less expensive than we’re used to, but it’s certain the value of St. George Island real estate is gaining prestige in many ways.

“The sales market has improved greatly, properties are being shown frequently and contracts being written,” Collins said.

PLANTATION HOMES » GULF FRONT

Year    Lowest property sales price    Highest property sales price
2008    $1,010,000 (4 bed, 2.5 bath, 2505 sq. ft.)    $2,618,000 (5 bed, 5.2 bath, 5424 sq. ft.)
2009    $900,000 (4 bed, 4 bath, 2170 sq. ft.)    $1,899,000 (4 bed, 4.5 bath, 4128 sq. ft.)
2010    $699,900 (4 bed, 3 bath, 2064 sq. ft.)    $1,550,000 (5 bed, 3.5 bath, 3821 sq. ft.)
2011    $475,000 (5 bed, 4 bath, 3830 sq. ft.)    $2,000,000 (4 bed, 4.5 bath, 5450 sq. ft.)

PLANTATION HOMES » BAY FRONT
2008    $1,220,000 (5 bed, 4 bath, 2688 sq. ft.)    none
2009    $336,000 (3 bed, 2 bath, 1580 sq. ft.)    $1,200,000 (5 bed, 4.5 bath, 3543 sq. ft.)
2010    none    none
2011    $400,000 (3 bed, 2 bath, 1990 sq. ft.)    $750,000 (5 bed, 4.5BS 3448 sq. ft.)

PLANTATION HOMES » INTERIOR
2008    $350,000 (3 bed, 3 bath, 1340 sq. ft.)    $950,000 (4 bed, 3 bath, 2108 sq. ft.)
2009    $219,000 (3 bed, 2 bath, 1405 sq. ft.)    $650,000 (4 bed, 4.5 bath, 2800 sq. ft.)
2010    $349,000 (3BR3 bath, 1530 sq. ft.)    $503,000 (5 bed, 4 bath, 3116 sq. ft.)
2011    $230,000 (3 bed, 2 bath, 1296 sq. ft.)    $565,000 (5 bed, 4.5 bath, 3503 sq. ft.)

EAST END HOMES » GULF FRONT
2008    $979,000 (3 bed, 3 bath, 1800 sq. ft.)    $1,903,000 (6 bed, 6.5 bath, 5138 sq. ft.)
2009    $1,080,000 (4 bed, 4 bath, 2924 sq. ft.)    $1,300,000 (5 bed, 5 bath, 3680 sq. ft.)
2010    $860,000 (3 bed, 2 bath, 2247 sq. ft.)    none
2011    $715,000 (6 bed, 7 bath, 4131 sq. ft.)    $1,385,000 (5 bed, 5.5 bath, 3775 sq. ft.)

EAST END HOMES » GULF FRONT (300 OCEAN MILE TOWNHOUSES)
2008    $385,000 (2 bed, 2.5 bath, 1489 sq. ft.)    none
2009    $248,200 2 bed, 2.5 bath, 1470 sq. ft.)    $310,000 (3 bed, 3 bath, 1566 sq. ft.)
2010    $166,100 (1 bed, 1 bath, 800 sq. ft.)    $315,000 (2 bed, 2.5 bath, 1400 sq. ft.)
2011    $155,000 (1 bed, 1 bath, 796 sq. ft.)    $230,000 (2 bed, 2.5 bath, 1396 sq. ft.)

EAST END HOMES » BAY FRONT
2008    $475,000, 3 bed, 2 bath, 1782 sq. ft.)    none
2009    $245,000 (3 bed, 2 bath, 1550 sq. ft.)    $699,000 (5 bed, 4 bath, 2925 sq. ft.)
$245,000 (4 bed, 6.2 bath, 8200 sq. ft., unfinished)
2010    $260,000 (2 bed, 2 bath, 1964 sq. ft.)    $1,150,000 (5 bed, 5.5 bath, 3604 sq. ft.)
2011    $450,000 (4 bed, 4.5 bath, 2294 sq. ft.)    $595,000 (3 bed, 3.5 bath, 2512 sq. ft.)

GULF BEACHES HOMES » GULF FRONT
2008    $419,128 (2 bed, 2 bath, 1200 sq. ft.)    $1,150,000 (2 bed, 2 bath, 945 sq. ft.)
2009    $495,000 (3 bed, 3.5 bath, 1600 sq. ft.)    $1,160,000 (5 bed, 5.5 bath, 3058 sq. ft.)
2010    $535,900 (3 bed, 3.5 bath, 1600 sq. ft.)    $972,000 (5 bed, 5.5 bath, 3348 sq. ft.)
2011    $403,500 (3 bed, 3.5 bath, 1684 sq. ft.)    $835,000 (6 bed, 6 bath, 3416 sq. ft.)

GULF BEACHES HOMES » BAY FRONT
2008    $405,900 (3 bed, 2 bath, 1325 sq. ft.)    $649,000 (3 bed, 2 bath, 1600 sq. ft.)
2009    $395,000 (4 bed, 3.5 bath, 3218 sq. ft.)    none
2010    $157,000 (2 bed, 2 bath, 1075 sq. ft.)    $689,000 (3 bed, 4.5 bath, 2788 sq. ft.)
2011    none    none

GULF BEACHES HOMES » INTERIOR
2008    $210,000 (2 bed, 2 bath, 1000 sq. ft.)    $725,000 (4 bed, 2 bath, 2128 sq. ft.)
2009    $90,000 (2 bed, 1 bath, 534 sq. ft.)    $800,000 (5 bed, 5.2 bath, 4790 sq. ft.)
2010    $130,000 (2 bed, 1 bath, 1200 sq. ft.)    $625,000 (4 bed, 4 bath, 2706 sq. ft.)
2011    $129,900 (4 bed, 2 bath, 1176 sq. ft.)    $530,000 (4 bed, 4.5 bath, 2304 sq. ft.)

Figures courtesy of CENTURY 21® Collins Realty, Inc.
Information pulled from MLS,  St. George Island, Florida

Categories: - Forgotten Coast 2012, Forgotten Coast Archive, The Beach