Home Sales Leveling Off - Coastal Property Seeing Slowdown

Statewide, home sales are off 20 percent from a year ago while homes are staying on the market longer.

Skyrocketing home prices and rising interest rates bear some of the blame for the slowdown, but at least some residents in one coastal community are nervous about the approaching hurricane season.

Last July, Hurricane Dennis hit 200 miles away, but residents in Wakulla County south of Tallahassee were surprised by a higher than predicted storm surge.

Faye Dansby has had enough coastal living. Her house went on the market in January for a million one. So far she’s gotten no offers, and lowered the price to an even one million.

“But I love it here and I planned on staying.”

“Did Dennis play a part in your wanting to sell?”

“Mainly all.”

Others have the same idea. Along a two and a half mile stretch of A Wakulla County bay front road, we counted 45 ‘for sale’ signs. This time last year, pre-Dennis, there were perhaps six.

Realtor Marsha Tucker says property is still moving. She blames a rising inventory on higher tax rates.

“In fact, I had two people call me last week. One lady’s on the property for 20 years and she can’t afford the taxes. She’s in her 80s.”

Don Schmidt is also selling his bay front home, but he says it has nothing to do with hurricanes. He’s leaving for family reasons.

“But I’m not unusually fearful of this hurricane season compared to any other.”

“And that’s not why you’re selling?”

“No.”

What’s clear is that sales have slowed, and those with waterfront “For Sale” signs are hoping for a quiet hurricane season in 2006.


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