Real estate in Nassau county

    Real estate heats up around the county

    Three things are hot around Nassau County – as in really hot. The weather. The tourism industry. And the real estate market.  In some ways, they are interrelated. The blistering summer season brings in tourists, who sometimes buy houses here. Either way, each of these areas is heating up.  While tourism is eclipsing records, the real estate market is sizzling in certain ways. New homes are being constructed in droves, existing homes are selling quickly, and buyers are aplenty. The only thing not moving right now is property prices. They seem to have reached a plateau – as lower-priced new homes are replenishing a limited inventory of existing homes, thus holding down prices.

    “The new construction has watered things down,” says John Holbrook of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chaplin Williams Realty, which is still owned by Dee Chaplin and Hugh Williams. However, there is some urgency. Mortgage rates have clicked up a few notches recently, as the economy has improved. Also, some buyers are acting now before prices might rise, as the inventory of existing homes and condominiums is only at 780 throughout the county. (The inventory was running around 1,400 three years ago.)

    “What I’m seeing is the tightened inventory has really kept the market moving along,” says Holbrook.

    While 300 new homes are planned for Amelia Island (mostly in the $300,000-400,000 price range), about three times that are approved for Yulee and the Westside. While most are not yet built, they are being sold prior to construction. “As quickly as they can get them up, they’re selling,” says Holbrook.  For instance, at Plummer Creek subdivision in Yulee, more than 50 lots are currently under some stage of construction by a new builder here, Dreamfinders. It’s eye-opening to see construction activity on so many lots, in one neighborhood, at one time.

    In a new neighborhood near popular North Hampton, national builder D.R. Horton has 125 house lots under contract. Prices will begin at $175,000 for houses that are 1,800 square feet in size – quite reasonable for a new home these days.

    In a monthly report from Credit Suisse, the brokerage firm says home prices increased only slightly in June in North Florida. In surveying real estate agents, Credit Suisse also says buying traffic has been solid – and houses are selling more quickly.  Tisha Dadd has seen a pickup in sales in recent months in Nassau County. “Properties are moving – and they’re moving faster than they have been,” says Dadd, who owns Island Real Estate of Amelia.  “There’s a lot that Amelia Island can offer,” Dadd says. She points out the influential relationship that tourism has with the property market. Many buyers have previously come here to a business convention at one of our upscale resorts.  Dadd says she has seen an improvement in the real estate market ever since Omni Hotels bought the amenities at Amelia Island Plantation. The Omni has “been a second Chamber of Commerce for Amelia Island.”

     

    John Holbrook

    Article credit: Steve Nicklas is a financial adviser with a major U.S. firm who lives on Amelia Island. His business columns appear in several newspapers in North Florida. He recently published a book, “All About Money,” consisting of columns he has written over the last 20 years. The book is available in local bookstores and on Amazon.com. He can be reached at 753-0236.   thenicklasteam2@msn.com.

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