More apartment complexes going up in PCB, prices remain high

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 6:47 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - From one construction site to the next, everywhere you look, it seems like there are constantly new apartment complexes going up in Panama City Beach. But for many, the price of rent is not going down.

“I think a lot of this is being driven by inventory because houses are being sold as prices have gone up,” Ben Alexander, Real Estate Agent with Counts Real Estate Ground, Inc., said.

Alexander said that’s one reason why apartments are such a popular pick at the beach lately.

“Something’s got to take the place of those lost houses and it’s apartments,” Alexander said.

On the east end of the beach, construction for the Villas at Suncrest is underway, which will sit right next to another apartment complex. And just under the Hathaway bridge, another complex is in the works. But just because more complexes go up, doesn’t mean the prices have come down.

According to the rental website Zumper, the average price for a two-bedroom apartment in PCB is just over $2,000. If you compare that to this time last year, it’s about a 10% jump.

But Alexander said that’s typically still cheaper than buying a house these days.

“Interest rates have about doubled or about 7.5% interest now,” Alexander said. “At the end of the day, if you’re buying a house now your payment set of $1,500 a month is going to be closer to $3,000 or $4,000 a month, so it’s driving people to need to rent.”

With our biggest industry being hospitality, $4,000 a month just isn’t realistic for most.

“Buying a $500,000 house or the down payment for it, you know even three or 4% of that. You’re talking about $15,000, $20,000 to put down and it gets to be a lot of money and if you’re somebody working in say hospitality or beach service, something like that, it’s going to be difficult,” Alexander said.

Alexander said before Hurricane Michael hit, about two-thirds of our market were rentals. Now only about one-third of homes in Panama City Beach is.

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