The Okaloosa-Walton real estate market has seen tremendous growth and a steady flow of homebuyers relocating to our communities over the past four decades.
This issue’s question is answered by Brad Shoults, co-owner of RE/MAX Southern Real Estate, and Jerry Sullivan of Century 21 Blue Marlin Real Estate.
Shoults has been a licensed real estate broker in Florida and Alabama for over 22 years and is a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame.
Sullivan has been involved in commercial and residential real estate for over 14 years, including management, construction and ownership of a successful real estate company here on the Emerald Coast.
Beachcomber readers are encouraged to submit their real estate questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Brad Shoults
RE/MAX Southern Realty
The impact of both the military and tourism industries continues to be strong in attracting people to relocate and even retire in Destin and surrounding areas.
With continued growth in military expansion, more businesses catering to the influx of servicemen, and the development of the commercial airport park in Crestview, we are seeing a rise in new residents.
These are major factors, adding a significant number of high-paying civil defense contractors, general contractors and business owners that are now moving to our communities. Additionally, we continue to experience an uptick in relocation due to the new army base and the government’s downsizing of on-base housing.
The same holds true as tourism remains strong. We continue to draw attention to our area, and many of those that vacation here decide to move here.
As for retirement, Florida continues to lead the nation in retirees, and our area remains in the top five favored locations in the state. In addition to our
beautiful beaches, moderate climate and abundance of outdoor activities including golf, other financial indicators drive the decision.
With reasonable cost of living, availability of health care and no state income tax, many retiring military choose to spend their post-military years here. This can be said of tourists, too. After vacationing here for years, many decide to make Okaloosa County or Walton County their permanent home upon leaving the workforce.
With the demand increasing, especially as the baby boomers move into this stage of life, new developments catering to this group emerge. Already, the St. Joe Company is in the initial stage of a massive retirement community in Walton County at Highway 20.
So many indicators point to the positive future growth in both relocation and retirement. RE/MAX Southern Realty and our professional agents are poised to aid them in their transition to the Emerald Coast way of life.
By Jerry Sullivan
Century 21 Blue Marlin
Fiercely in tune with the market, the Century 21 Blue Marlin staff makes it our mission to monitor the market and factors that may affect our beachside town. Destin’s growing population has made it a popular spot for those retiring and relocating.
While our white, sandy beaches boast awe-inspiring views and sunsets similar to those seen on postcards, we don’t have to worry about an influx of retirees heading south.
According to an analysis by the CoStar Group, a real estate information company, more than 80 percent of people age 55 and older in 17 major real estate markets that moved during the past seven years remained in the same county or state.
That’s not to say all retirees will pass on the beach life. A number of retirees favor markets with warmer weather and retiree-friendly tax situations. Since Florida is among the states that does not charge state income taxes generally, this makes Social Security taxation a moot point.
While retirees may not be a major concern, we still can expect the annual droves of Snowbirds who frequent our area December through February.
When it comes to those looking to relocate to Florida, there are a number of factors taken into consideration. Many factors are in the eye of the beholder, such as climate, politics or proximity to extended family.
Other aspects are coveted by nearly everybody—affordable housing, access to well-paying jobs, a low cost of living, good schools and quality healthcare—all of which make Destin an ideal spot for relocation.
While we have assisted families and individuals looking to relocate to the Destin area, a majority of the business we see is from military. As many residents and visitors know, Northwest Florida is home to a significant concentration of Air Force and Navy installations, including Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field and Tyndall Air Force Base. The military influence is not only apparent in the highly skilled and dedicated workforce, but in the communities where military families raise their children and contribute their time to volunteer service.
In an effort to better serve these individuals, a number of Century 21 Blue Marlin agents hold the National Association of Realtor (NAR) Military Relocation Professional Certification. The NAR awards the MRP certification to realtors who help military personnel, veterans and their families find housing that lets them make the best use of their benefits and serves the unique needs of military life. Realtors who earn this certification know how to work with active duty military buyers and sellers, as well as veterans.