Walton County Sees Increase in Home Sales and New Development

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WALTON COUNTY Walton County officials said requests for single family home building permits have increased 400 percent since 2010.

"And this year we are tracking a little bit higher than what we did in 2013. At this point we have about 60 more permits out than we did this time last year,” said Louis Svehla, Public Information Officer for Walton County.

Emerald Coast Association of Realtors board members said they've seen a similar trend in both Walton and Okaloosa Counties.

"A majority of our purchases in Okaloosa County tend to be full time residents,” said Ed Smith, President of the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors. “The reverse is true in Walton County where we are seeing 75 percent of the single family homes for purchases are investments or second family homes."

The growth has been significant enough to warrant a new school in South Walton.

Walton County Commissioners are also planning on building a new sports complex to serve local families and attract tournaments to boost tourism.

"A lot of building down in Inlet Beach, a lot of commercial and residential coming to the area. Then, heading over into the Mossy Head Industrial Park, several businesses there. LECOM coming in to DeFuniak Springs, which is bringing the dental school,” said Svehla.

Smith believed the current boom will continue for quite some time.

"The prognosis is very good. Right now, the housing market is very, very balanced where we have a lot of inventory. We have a lot of selections available, and the interest rates are very, very low,” said Smith.

The Industrial Park in Mossy Head sat vacant for a decade, until this year.

Eight businesses are now planning to build there, including Love's Truck Stop, McDonalds, IHOP and a Sleep Inn.