Building in Bay County

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Ursula Young is not from Florida, but she hopes to spend the rest of her life in Bay County. She and her husband are building a home in a brand new subdivision in Lynn Haven.

"We said, 'we really can't go wrong,' I'm hoping to stay forever, but we know the value is here and a lot of people are attracted to this area."

Young is not unlike many visitors coming to the panhandle, deciding to stay and buying a new home. Tom Gladstone is building the Young's new home and he says finding lots to build on are getting tougher to find.

"One thing we're finding out is the availability of lots is beginning to have an impact, not having as many lots available."

Derek and Janice McFee are snowbirds from Canada, and they just bought a home at Palm Cove on Panama City Beach. In the past two years they noticed the price of homes going up and decided it was best for them to buy now and rent out the home.

Derek says the timing was perfect.

"We feel this particular development will make the middle income have a new come as compared to $300,000 to $1 million in the new condos going up on the beach."

The increased value of single-family homes in the Palm Cove community alone is bringing in prospective buyers every day.

Kathy Whaley is a real estate agent for Palm Cove. She says, "The equity in these homes has just sky-rocketed. If you bought in here two to three years ago, just look what the equity in the home is now."

But if the price goes up, the number of people who can afford the home goes down.

Gladstone agrees, "I've seen the cost of an entry-level home go from $110,000 to $160-$170,000. So, you're actually creating a situation where there isn't an entry-level home."

Gladstone says creating a void of affordable housing for middle and lower income households is an issue the Homebuilder's Association considers, but it won't necessarily affect the intense growth attributed to willing buyers.