Sales of residential property increased in 2018 as interest rates rose slightly and property values were on the rise. Investors were looking for foreclosures and good deals to turn a quick profit or move to income producing rentals. There is still a shortage of resale residential property and new construction was just starting to take off during 2018. With property values increasing and a shortage of residential properties, many of those with upside down mortgages were finally able sell their home for a profit.
Fortunately, our recovering economy and the continued strong Military influence locally has helped keep our rental inventories low. This demand has also allowed for increases in rent over the past year.
The short term rental market (tourist market) has once again had a strong year. Although we had a rainy Summer Season, the tourist continued to flock to our beautiful beaches. This contributed to stronger seasonal condo and commercial tourist related property sales. We were so fortunate to avoid the damaging winds and rain from Hurricane Michael which devastated Panama City and Tyndall AFB.
We have always been blessed with a very strong Military presence which has contributed to a favorable local rental market. Looking ahead, a new strong Military budget and the rebuilding of Tyndall AFB with F-35 fighter units will benefit our economy in the coming year. Our missions at Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field and the Army Special Forces Post in Crestview seem to be secure. The F-35 training at Eglin and increases in Special Operations programs at Hurlburt should result in increases in Military personnel over the next couple of years.
The local economy has had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state and new businesses are moving into the area. Many of these businesses are buying commercial property and building new facilities which leaves a surplus of the older commercial property for rent. Many small business owners have benefited from the tax cuts and deregulations and are hiring and expanding as the local economy grows. This will contribute to the recovery of the commercial market in the coming year.
The North end of Okaloosa County has seen significant growth over the past year. Lower Real Estate prices and rent in the Crestview area are attracting increases in population and business. However, as with many areas of the Emerald Coast, congestion and the lack of proper planning to provide for this growth causes people to rethink where they are willing to live or invest.
Thanks to our strong Military presence, our beautiful beaches, schools, and a wonderful family environment, Okaloosa County’s outlook for 2019 looks fantastic. Contact your local REALTOR or Professional Property Manager to help you invest in the future of this paradise. Have a very prosperous and happy New Year.
-J. Matthew Scheel | Owner of Sundance Rental Management, In