EDITOR’S NOTE: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace column.
Let’s get real, people.
As in the real estate market in Nassau County has really rebounded — with a resilience of the Backstreet Boys. And it is music to the ears of anyone who owns property here.
While the Nineties boy band is doing a documentary on its meteoric rise from child stars to pop icons, the broad recovery in the real estate market from the abyss of 2008 can be documented. Like with hard statistics.
The inventory of properties for sale in the county has been reduced to one-third of what it had been. In fact, just as a glut of inventory presented an obstacle in recent years, the lack of available properties can also be problematic.
“There is not as much inventory as we would like to see,” says local real estate agent Michele Cook. “It’s tough for us, because we have a lot of buyers — but there is just not a lot of inventory out there.”
On the flip side, real estate values are driven by the fabled economic principle of supply and demand. If there is less supply and higher demand, then prices should rise. Across the U.S., real estate prices rose by 12 percent over the past year.
Some of that is being seen in local statistics as compiled by Cook’s husband and fellow agent John Holbrook. In the past month, 41 properties sold off of Amelia Island. On the island, 36 properties have sold (representing an impressive $20 million in sales between the two areas).
It demonstrates the velocity at which properties are moving here and prices are rising. On Amelia Island, properties have sold from between $112,500 and $1.4 million in the past month. Off the island, the sale prices have been lower: $33,100 to $475,000.
However, Cook expects some of this to change. “Yulee is going to boom,” she says, while also citing steady activity in Callahan and Hilliard. As high-quality restaurant chains such as Panera Bread open here, the planned developments of Rayonier (and its Terra Pointe subsidiary) should bring a torrent of new activity.
Veteran real estate agent Bobby Ferreira sees similarities with the current market as compared with others in his 40 years here. Ferreira has observed a sustainable, predictable trend of growth in property sales and prices.
Ferreira should know. His family business, Century 21 John T. Ferreira Insurance, has been a staple of real estate and insurance here for decades. And both Century 21 and the firm for which Cook and Holbrook work — Prudential Chaplin Williams Realty — normally lead in real estate sales most years.
In further analyzing the local market, the lower end of properties (below $350,000) is still the hottest for sales. However, Cook is encouraged by the activity of higher-value areas such as South Fletcher Avenue, which is experiencing rampant construction.
If you chronicle all of the recent real estate activity here, it is almost enough to push Nassau County to the top of the charts again. Sort of like the story of the Backstreet Boys.
A four-week continuing education class, “Investing in Today’s Financial Markets,” will be offered at the Florida State College campus in Yulee on Tuesday evenings beginning Oct. 8, 2013. This class will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. each week and will cover many aspects of the financial markets, such as stocks and bonds and popular investment vehicles such as mutual funds. It will be taught by local financial advisor Steve Nicklas. The class schedule is: Oct. 8, 2013, Investing in the Stock Market; Oct. 15, 2013, Investing in the Bond Market; Oct. 22, 2013, Investing in IRAs, 401ks and other Retirement Plans; and Oct. 29, 2013, Developing a Financial Plan. The college can be reached at 904-548-4432 for more information.