Association of Realtors reports 22 percent jump in September over the same month last year
DESTIN — There might be a light at the end of the real estate tunnel for the Emerald Coast.
The Florida Association of Realtors released numbers for September that show sales of existing condominiums in the Fort Walton Beach area had the highest increase in Florida compared to September 2006.
While existing condo sales across the state fell, sales for the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors jumped 22 percent. The median price for those condos increased from $157,500 to $338,900, or 115 percent, according to the report.
The state figures were gathered from sales reported from local Realtor associations, according to Florida Association of Realtors.
It’s easy for Harry Millsaps, president of the Emerald Coast Association Realtors and a Realtor with Prudential Coastal Properties, to figure out why condos have been selling locally.
“Obviously, we’re special. We’ve got the most beautiful beaches in Florida,” he said.
The market is primed for an upswing, Millsap’s added. Property and condo prices have bottomed out and buyers are ready to get a deal, he said. The beaches contributed to the sales increase, but the local association also gave the stretch from Navarre to Bay County a marketing nudge.
“The Emerald Coast Association of Realtors has done a lot of advertising on radio and in print and on TV,” Millsaps said.
The increase will run into the first quarter of next year, but will really take off in the spring and summer, he said.
Although local sales are up for September, they are a far cry from where they were a few years ago, officials said.
The Panama City region also saw a climb in sales, with a 19 percent jump. Panama City and Fort Walton Beach were the only locations in the state to post an increase in sales compared to last year.
However, the median price for existing condos in Panama City dropped 5 percent, from $262,500 to $250,000, the state association reported.
The Pensacola area was static; sales for September this year and last year were 37. However, the median price rose 29 percent, from $212,000 to $275,000.
Not all local Realtors have seen the growth. Angela Parkhurst, a Realtor with Anchors Reality, said demand is down, as are prices for existing condos.
“Prices are down to 2003 levels,” she said. “People are looking for the best deal. Some prices are down $200,000 to $300,000 in some buildings. It’s a buyer’s market.”
Across Florida, the news was not as good as it was locally. Statewide numbers showed a 27 percent decrease in existing condo sales.
Sales in Lakeland-Winter Haven and Punta Gorda dropped 70 percent and 71 percent, respectively.
Larger metropolitan areas like Orlando and Tallahassee also took a hit. Orlando’s sales fell 64 percent, and the state’s capital was not far behind with a 62 percent decrease, the state association reported.