Community

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It’s been roughly two months since the effects of  COVID-19 virus began in our area and our real estate market. In those two months, much has changed.  Stay-at-home orders have given way to the resumption of normal beach vacations.  Visiting restaurants, retail stores and even bowling alleys are now possible.  The real estate market has changed as well.  Thankfully, it is progressing as we anticipated back in March.  It’s great news for all of us who love the Emerald Coast.

Back in March when COVID was dramatically impacting the stock market and the level of real estate activity, we made the case this market slowdown was different than those in the past.  Real estate market fundamentals are and were stable, strong and more resilient.  Our opinion then

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With stay-at-home orders starting to gradually lift throughout parts of the country, data indicates homebuyers are jumping back into the market. After many families put their plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what we once called the busy spring real estate season is shifting into the summer. In 2020, summer is the new spring for real estate.

Joel Kan, Economist at The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) notes:

“Applications for home purchases continue to recover from April’s sizable drop and have now increased for five consecutive weeks…Government purchase applications, which include FHA, VA, and USDA loans, are now 5 percent higher than a year ago, which is an encouraging turnaround after the weakness seen over the past two

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On May 19, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reinstated short-term vacation rentals for Walton Okaloosa, and Bay Counties. Per the Governor’s executive order, reservations for dates within the next 45 days may not be accepted for renters coming from COVID-19 hotspots which include Louisiana, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey.

For more information, click here.

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The Premier Property Group (PPG) proudly announces Alyssa Walker has joined the company as Vice President of Marketing. In this role, Walker will spearhead all marketing functions for The Premier Property Group, including creating, implementing, and monitoring marketing strategies for both the company and all agents, commercial and residential.  As part of PPG, Walker provides a wide range of experience, from market and consumer research, strategy, and campaigns to logistical planning and coordination.   A native of Gadsden, Alabama, Walker grew up spending summers along the 30A coast  before relocating to the Panhandle permanently in 2013 with her husband, Bo Walker. Prior to PPG, Walker served as the Marketing Director of Alys Beach for the…
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Everyday, we learn something new about the impact of the COVID-19 virus on our economy and our daily lives.  In previous newsletters, we discussed that despite the slowdown in real estate transactions, market fundamentals remain good.  In addition, we put forth the opinion that the real estate market would rebound much like it did post 9/11.  Even though our real estate market is still impacted by the virus due to the prohibition of vacation rentals, which reduces the number of real estate showings, we are starting to see some improvement in the market.

The graph below compares the number of contracts signed per day during 2019 and 2020.  Contract signings, also known as pended contracts, were analyzed as it provides the most real-time indicator of

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The Florida Realtors association released a very helpful summary and explanation of the Task Force recommendations for Phase II regarding vacation rentals. At this point, we do not know when Phase II will begin. It is important to note that Governor DeSantis did not follow all of the Task Force's recommendations for Phase I.

Gov. Ron DeSantis created a task force of business leaders and politicians and directed them to create a guide on how to safely reopen Florida to business and tourism. The task force submitted their report last week, and DeSantis used it, in part, when he announced Phase 1 of three phases to reopen the state.

DeSantis does not have to follow the guidelines created by the task force and, for Phase 1, scaled back some of

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During the press conference on April 29, 2020, Governor DeSantis announced that the state of Florida will be re-opening in phases beginning Monday, May 4, 2020 (excluding southeast Florida).

PHASE ONE
  • Vacation rentals are prohibited with no specific date for expiration.
  • Schools remain closed with distance learning.
  • No visitors in long term care facilities.
  • Elective surgeries to resume.
  • Restaurants may open with outdoor seating and social distancing (6ft).  Indoor dining possible at 25% capacity.
  • Retail can open with a 25% of indoor capacity social distancing
  • Bars, Gyms, and personal services such as hair dressers remain closed. Retail components of these businesses can operate.
RECOMMENDATIONS
  Vulnerable populations…
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The Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) met this morning, and voted to reopen the beaches and county parks (including the county golf course) effective Friday, 5/1/2020. The reopening is subject to the following conditions:

  • Activities limited to those previously authorized by the Governor's executive order, which include walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming.
    • The BCC further included jogging, paddleboarding, surfing, and boating (collectively, "water activities"). 
    • Sunbathing is not included. However, chairs, umbrellas, etc. are allowed.
  • CDC social distancing guidelines apply (6' apart; no more than 10 gathered).
  • No beach vendors (i.e. bonfires; beach chairs)
  • No special events.
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Below is a summary for beach re-openings in our market as of today, April 24, 2020.

WALTON COUNTY
  The county commission will meet on April 28 to vote on opening the beaches with the following parameters:
  Open all beaches effective May 1
  No time limitations
  All non-commercial beach activities permitted 
  No commercial activities (beach vendors) permitted
  Maintain social distancing per current CDC guidelines READ MORE OKALOOSA COUNTY (excluding Destin)
All beaches open May 1, 2020 to the public with limited hours 6:30am - 9:00am and 4:30pm - 7:00pm
All non-commercial beach activities permitted
(sunbathing; fishing; paddleboarding; canoeing; walking; etc.)
Commercial beach activities are not permitted
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BEACHES/PARKS/LODGING

Florida State Parks: All events, activities, special event reservations, pavilion rentals and camping reservations have been canceled, but the parks will remain OPEN from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. as of March 17. Existing overnight camping reservations that begin Wednesday, March 18, will be honored. Visitors must arrive prior to 5 p.m. on March 18, to secure their reservation. After Wednesday, all reservations moving forward will be canceled and refunded. Beginning Friday, March 20, campgrounds and all overnight accommodations will be fully closed.

Walton County public beaches are CLOSED as of 3/19/20.

The Okaloosa County Beaches are CLOSED effective March 21, 2020 through April 30, 2020. Here’s what is officially

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