Panama City - Existing home and condo sales are well above last year's levels. Some realtors say it's the sign of a rebound, but others think property values will continue to drop.
In recent years we've seen increasing amounts of "for sale" signs, without many interested buyers. But this year, Bay County realtors are selling a lot more.
"We're actually up 54% over where we were last year at this time as a company. I think our numbers were 88 million closed year to date this year. Last year we were at 54 million at this time," Counts Senior Broker Associate Alan Graham said.
Sales of single family homes in bay county were up 29% in May over the same month last year. Condo sales are up 52%. Graham says commercial sales are taking off as well.
"Commercial sales are the big driver because people are now buying apartment complexes; we got some large investors coming in buying some big box store areas that are already on the ground."
Despite strong sales, the Bay County Realtors Association is hesitant to call this a rebound because experts believe property value to continue to drop. The median sales price for a single family home in may was more than 11% lower than a year earlier. Condo prices are down almost 5%. But Graham expects the recent increase in demand should increase prices.
"Typically the market is driven by what the appraisal will reveal for a property and we've seen condo prices start to escalate recently as much as 15 to 20%."