16 Sand Castles Ponte Vedra Recorder · October 29, 2015 Welcome to Sandcastles By Janet Westling Contributing Editor Welcome to our fall issue and the second anniversary of Sandcastles, a luxury, lifestyle and real estate seasonal section. We launched Sandcastles on Oct. 31, 2013, just as we welcomed our Florida/Georgia fans to Jacksonville. The Florida/Georgia game, an annual event that started in 1915, is sometimes called the “world’s largest cocktail party.” Many fans arrive early to vacation and take in the last days of beautiful summer weather. They stay in our resorts around the first coast and for some in their second homes. Our Georgia neighbors to the North reside in the #1 feeder state for real estate sales in Florida! And Jack- sonville and the beaches communities benefit from its close proximity to Georgia’s capitol Atlanta and its large population. Our market watch, written Janet Westling by Janie Coffey, Director of Sales for Manormor Sotheby’s International Realty, delves into our local market with an analysis of the current indicators throughout the beach communities. Twelve of our top agents share their stories about some amazing properties currently on the mar- ket. From Queens Harbor to Vilano Beach, these properties for sale represent our thriving market and picturesque locale that we often refer to as “Florida’s best kept secret.” Our First Coast is a wonderful place to live and with Georgia on our minds this issue we invite our visitors and residents to experience and enjoy our vibrant community and Florida lifestyle. In our travel and leisure section we feature travel agent Susan Hudson, tennis pro Danny Witt and PR consultant Tera Williams who shares the last installment of “This Old House.” The Art and Antiques Show returns this December and celebrates the season with Viva Espana and an impressive lineup of speakers during the show. The Ponte Vedra Women’s Club PR Chair, Patti Freeman, shares the calendar of events planned for this philanthropic organization. And, it was just announced that Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty is partnering with Dreams Come True and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Our home is our castle and at the beaches it is our castle in the sand. From palm trees to sand dunes, golf courses to resort living, Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra beach and the beaches communities offer the most desirable real estate in Northeast Florida! Janet Westling, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty Sandcastles creator and contributing writer www.janetwestling.com Market Watch Local market watch: 2015 Beaches report Janie Coffey Director of Sales | Broker Associate – Manormor Sotheby’s International Realty This has been an interesting year for real estate on the Beaches. While Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach still saw improving economic indicators across the board for the real estate market, Ponte Vedra Beach and Atlantic Beach saw some mixed messages from certain metrics. Let’s get into the data a bit to understand what is going on in each sub-market. Jacksonville Beach Jacksonville Beach saw a healthy gain of 9% in average closed price for 2015 year to date over 2014, averaging $379,000. Not only did the sales price average increase over the past year, but the number of homes on the market compared to the number of homes selling shrunk to a 4 month average inventory, which is just at the edge of a Stable Market, ap proaching a Seller’s Market. Months of inventory is an indicator of supply and demand. If not another new listing came on the market, all the actively listed homes would sell out in 4 months. A Seller’s Market typically has less than a 4 month inventory of homes. A Stable Market is typically around 4-6 months of supply and a Buyer’s Market is typically over 6 or 7 months of listings. Of course, in higher priced areas, the months of supply for a stable market is a little higher as higher priced homes take a bit longer to sell on average. Not only did Jacksonville Beach have a tighter supply of homes, the percent a home sold for versus its listed price rose to 95%, up from 93% last year. Jacksonville Beach is definitely a good market right now for sellers, and buyers are finding they need to be very competitive in their offers if they want to go under contract. Neptune Beach Neptune Beach was a close second to Jacksonville Beach regarding strong metrics. Up 7% over last year, the average home in 2015 sold for $388,000 year to date. The months of inventory is a little higher than Jacksonville Beach, but still in a Stable Market with a 5.5 month supply of active listings. The properties that sell are selling over 20% faster than they did last year, going under contract in 83 days compared to 106 last year. And the average closed price was 92% of list price, the same as it was for 2014. For buyers in Neptune Beach, they definitely need to act quickly with homes going under contract in less than 3 months. Atlantic Beach The real estate market in Atlantic Beach has mixed indicators in 2015. While they have a tight supply (less than 5 months of inventory), the days on the market rose a bit, taking 94 days to sell on average, compared to 84 days last year. Sales prices declined slightly, down around 4% to $341,000 on average compared to last year. For homes that sold, the list to sales price ratio in Atlantic Beach is the highest on the beaches, selling at 96% on average, meaning there was not too much room for negotiation. Both Buyers and Sellers should speak to their agent when pricing a home to sell or making an offer, as the mixed metrics show that a deep analysis needs to be made for your property to price it to sell or make an offer to purchase. Ponte Vedra Beach Ponte Vedra Beach experienced a similar market to Atlantic Beach, with some mixed indicators. The average closed property sold for $643,322, down slightly (3%) in 2015 compared to 2014. Properties took approximately two weeks longer to sell than they did in 2014 yet the absorption rate remained fairly steady at roughly 7 months throughout 2015. Properties that do sell are selling much closer to list price than they did in 2014. Up to 93-95% versus 91% in 2014. As in Atlantic Beach, with the mixed market indicators we are seeing in Ponte Vedra Beach, it is especially important to speak to your real estate agent when pricing a home to sell or making an offer so that all factors can be weighed out to result in a successful purchase or sale. With season almost upon us and a good one third of all luxury properties on the Beaches owned by out of area owners, now is the best time to consider listing your property to sell. Historically November through January sees a decrease in homes on the market, lowering your competition from other active listings. For home buyers, you will need to work with your agent to find the best properties in a decreased inventory during the season, and make sure your offer is competitive while the supply is tighter with more buyers in the market than off season. A professional real estate agent can help you analyze the data in your specific area to make sure you price it to sell or submit the winning offer if you are purchasing.