The Florida Association of Realtors has released the “First Quarter Market Stats for Walton County” 2014 ( Jan. Feb. Mar.) sales figures and all indicators point to a continuation of a strong and healthy market rebound. Total closed sales are up 16.4% over first quarter 2013! One of the most telling statistics is the jump in the total of new listings over 2013 by 28.5% ! This increase in available inventory for sale should have a settling effect on the jump in prices we have seen over the last 18 months. Keep in mind, however, that these figures are for ALL of Walton County. The available inventory numbers for South Walton County are not nearly this high. The average sales price here is up by 11.6 percent over the same quarter last year from $489,547 to $546,433. We have watched the overall market shift more to the advantage of the sellers here after several years of favorable conditions strongly on the buyer’s side. I spoke of a “bounce” in the prices here on the beach due to the huge, historical drops in prices when the market crashed back in 2005 and that is what we have experienced lately but that should begin to moderate. A healthy market will show yearly appreciation of 4 to 6 percent. The 15 to 20 percent we have seen in the last year or so is simply unsustainable.
Other figures available show an increase in the percentage of closing price to original list price of 91.4 percent to 93.2 percent with the average days on market plummeting from 138 days down to 81 days. As we enter the second quarter of 2014, available inventory for sale in Walton County was at 1,472 active listings, up by almost 30% over same time last year ( again, this is the entire county). One of the most important pieces of advice we are sharing with potential buyers is that the days of offering 75 to 85 percent of list price when making an offer are over. These kinds of offers will no longer even get a response in the form of a counter offer. What buyers need to keep in mind, however, is that we anticipate a further climb in prices over the next year and interest rates are still at historic lows so now is a great time to “jump in” and become a homeowner here on 30A.