Buy Now! – But Why?

by October 25, 2008 • 8 comments

The real estate market is in the toilet.  Or is it?  I mean, everything is relative.  Everything is subject to interpretation.  Right?

Sure, the real estate market is in the toilet. . . for sellers.  But for buyers, the real estate market is hotter than a nanny goat in a pepper patch.  (nice cliche, huh?)

In every type category, there is a surplus in supply.  In Panama City Beach alone, there are 537 lots, 770 single family homes, and 1570 condos active for sale on the Bay County MLS.  In many cases prices are half now what they were just 12 months ago.

Velocity is down.  In any given category, we have several years of inventory given the current rate of sales.  The growing trend of using auctions to dump inventory in indicative of developers realizing that their inventory needs to be liquidated – sometimes, at all costs.

Foreclosures are up. They are higher now than they have ever been, and that’s the same story we’ve been hearing, over and over.  In fact, foreclosures this year have been higher year-over-year, each month of 2008.

Negative Nancy, you say?  Well, hold the phone, bubba.

This is all to emphasize a point.  Right now, it is a buyer’s market. Period.

Now is the time that all the savvy real estate investors have been dreaming of – a time when people are scared to turn down offers in fear of not seeing another one, a time when sellers will pay all closing costs and offer zaney incentives to attract buyers.  Now is the time when the buyers get THEIR pick and have an opportunity to actually CASHFLOW a property.

Three years ago, all the smart investors had already left the market, they had taken their winnings and tucked it away.  They were waiting for a time like right now to pull that wad back out and throw it at something else.  I was talking to an agent buddy of mine the other day and was told that 6 out of the last 8 buyers they closed were cash buyers.  Now is the time to buy.  Cash is king, but mortgage money is easy to get to also, as long as you can fully qualify.  Another buddy of mine financed a second home, 20% down on a 30 year fixed at 6%.  Not too shabby.

If you can buy right now, you should be shopping.  Real estate is always a long term hold, and there will be tremendous upside to those purchasing property now.

On to the fun part.

Panama City Beach’s 10 Best Deals.

  • Regency Towers Unit 525 – 3 bedroom, 2 bath 1,456 square feet, priced at $237,500.  That’s $163 per square foot!  Everything seems to be in order with this condo, and sounds like a real steal.  The agent is Diane McKay, and her number is 850-596-1378.  She works with Coldwell Banker/Carroll Realty.  If you don’t know about Regency Towers, they’ve been working very hard to give the whole place a new face.  The place is looking real good.
  • Long Beach Towers Unit 1-806 – 3 bedroom, 3 bath, 1,800 square feet priced at $365,900.  That is $203 a square foot, wow!  This is a bank sale, but could be a real deal.  Long Beach is a great complex with a few great pools.  Each condo is designed to have maximum beach frontage.  This complex is relatively new, built 10 years ago.  Also, I can’t forget to mention that this is a lock-off – two rentable units in one!  Definite cashflow opportunity.  The agent is Patrick Finn with Finn Realty.  His digits are 850-368-6700.
  • 302 Carolyn Ave, in Woodlawn.  This is a steal at $136,900.  With 1,692 square feet, this comes up to $80 a foot!  3 bedroom 2 bath built in 1958.  Everything seems to be in ok shape.  The agent is Diane McKay (she got two on the list!), her number is 850-596-1378.
  • Nautilus Cove Unit#??  Not sure of which unit exactly, maybe all of them?  This is a four bedroom 3 bath going for $154,900.  These are new, just built last year and never been lived in.  At 1,492 square feet, that comes up to $103 a foot.  They have a fitness center, pool, walking paths, and a closed security gate.  They all come with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and ok carpet.  You can’t go wrong with the price.  The agent is Ronald Lucarz with Pelican.  His number is 850-582-5159.
  • Sterling Reef Condominiums Unit 1505.  This is a 2 bedroom 2 bath 1,076 square foot priced at $249,000.  That comes up to $231 a square foot.  Not too shabby considering how nice these are.  The west view from this building is unsurpassed as it is contiguous with over 1,700 feet of dedicated beach that will remain undeveloped.  This is a steal.  The agent is Karen Ward with Realjoy Properties, and her number is 850-424-3094.
  • 1101 Sawgrass Court #201 in Wild Heron priced at $295,000.  2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,300 square feet.  All I have to say is $226.75/square foot in Wild Heron on Lake Powell.  You couldn’t touch one of these for more than twice this a few years ago.  I have been in these condos, and they are super nice.  The agent is Karen Smith with Beachy Beach Real Estate, her number is 850-527-5651.
  • 121 Manistee Drive on the West End.  4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 2,268 square feet priced at $159,900.  That’s right, $70 bux a square foot.  Built in 1984, this is a true country log cabin fit with a huge porch, beautiful exposed beams, a shed in the back and a good sized lot (wide at 75 feet).  It needs a little work, but at $70 a foot, who cares?  The agent is Gabriel Stephani with Beachy Beach Real Estate, and his number is 850-814-4640.
  • 409 Liverpool Ave in Tapestry Park.  This is a 43×125 foot lot in one of the coolest (I think THE coolest) neighborhoods in Panama City Beach.  The architectural style and pedistrian-centered neighborhood layout makes this community a, well, real community.  This lot is listed for $55,000.  You heard me, $55K.  That is half what they were going for a year ago.  The agent is Craig Duran with Pelican, and his number is 850-527-0221.
  • Moondrifter Condo #805.  Priced at $199,000, this is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath 1,050 square foot GULF FRONT condo.  Dude, a Gulf Front Condo under $200k!  Plus, this is priced nearly $80,000 less than the other two that are listed.  The agent is Amanda Corbin with Prudential Shimmering Sands, and her number is 850-832-7447.
  • Last but not least, the least expensive home in the Glades is a 3 bedroom 2 bath 1,747 square foot home priced at $269,000.  That comes up to $153/foot.  This home was built in 1996 and features a two car garage.  With a screened in pool and new paint inside and out, this home is advertised as “move-in ready.”  The agent is Carrie Routt with Keller Williams, and her number is 850-867-5309.

Sorry guys, no pictures.  This project was a little more exhausting than I wanted it to be, and I had to get it out.

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1 Kirk Lancaster October 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm

Great article. I was just wondering what I could post on to tell the world that I’m standing in paradise today. Shorts and sandals, warm sun on my face, north bay breeze in my hair (ha ha), all on October 25… Bay County has a year-round climate that is more pleasant (and “GREEN”) than a HUGE portion of our great country. It is ALWAYS a great time to buy in Bay County Florida!

P.S. I want that condo at Moonspinner. Now let me figure out how to pull together the funds. ;c)


2 Jason Koertge October 28, 2008 at 11:21 pm

We had a couple thousand hits today, but nobody commented on this? quiet bunch today. Everyone must have been too cold to type, it was like 40 degrees this morning!


3 RMA October 29, 2008 at 8:51 am

I would absolutely be interested in buying one of these places if I hadn’t lost so much money walking away from Laketown Wharf – ugh! I’ve even stayed in the Sterling Reef 1505 condo that’s for sale. It’s decorated VERY nicely. But if any of you are buying a place that needs furniture, I still have my credit at Resort Interiors I need to sell!


4 Lori October 29, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Great article! I can tell you from experience, that as a non-resident condo owner, we are so thankful that we got in at a good time. We bought our place about 1.5 years ago, we feel at a great price. We’ve had phenomenal success. I won’t say we’re making a profit on a monthly basis, but I will say that we’re paying the bills and are looking positively to a longterm investment result. Nobody can predict the future of this business, but we’re not “flippers”. If the situation was right and we could relocate, this would be a great place for us. I think the housing market here is a very tempting one and we’d have no problem acquiring a nice home to live in here. Well, maybe on the other side of Alf Colman!

I’d like to add to your list above, some real estate ops at Pinnacle Port Resort on the quiet west end. It’s a totally different market than what exists east of us on Front Beach Road, but it just depends on who one wants to attract.


5 Chris Arnold October 30, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Hey Jason,
I liked your article. Interesting top ten list. It would be interesting to see a Top Ten Sold list. It looks like we are starting a significant price drop in resale resort properties. The foreclosures and short sales seem to be leading the way. Pricing seems to be following the recent auction pricing.


6 vince g October 31, 2008 at 1:20 pm

I agree that a top ten list of sold properties would be great


7 Zzzzzz January 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm

RE Nautilus Cove “They have a fitness center, pool, walking paths, and a closed security gate.”
I was surprised to find this condo listed as a good place to buy. Hope anyone interested googles the name for other information. As to the “closed security gate”, wrong. There is a gate, it has been a problem for a long time, it was actually fixed for a few months and now is kaput again, at least the enterance side is always open, going out does work. Thanks for not mentioning the ‘heated pool’, that feature is one the realtors really push. When I bought in 07 that was a big factor in choosing it as there are very few outdoor heated pools. Unfortunately when winter arrived the goal posts were moved and it was suddenly not a heated pool but a pool that was capable of being heated! Realtors and used car salesmen are cut from the same cloth.