2022 Housing Market Insights from the Experts

As we move into 2022, both buyers and sellers are wondering, what’s next? Will there be more homes available to buy? Will prices keep climbing? How high will mortgage rates go? For the answer to those questions and more, we turn to the experts. Here’s a look at what they say we can expect in 2022.

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist, First American:

“Consensus forecasts put rates at about 3.7% by the end of next year. So, that’s still historically low, but certainly higher than they are today.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist, realtor.com:

Affordability will increasingly be a challenge as interest rates and prices rise, but remote work may expand search areas and enable younger buyers to find their first homes sooner than they might have otherwise. And with more than 45 million millennials within the prime first-time buying ages of 26-35 heading into 2022, we expect the market to remain competitive.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“With more housing inventory to hit the market, the intense multiple offers will start to ease. Home prices will continue to rise but at a slower pace.”

George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research, realtor.com:

“We also expect a growing number of homeowners to bring properties to market, taking some pressure off high prices and offering buyers more options.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American:

Strong demographic demand will continue to act as the wind in the housing market’s sails.”

What Does This Mean for Buyers?

Hope is on the horizon for 2022. You should see your options grow as more homes are listed and some of the peak intensity of buyer competition starts to ease. Just remember, rising rates and prices are a great motivator for you to find the home of your dreams sooner rather than later so you can buy while today’s affordability is still in your favor.

What Does This Mean for Sellers?

Make no mistake – this sellers’ market will remain in 2022 as home prices are projected to continue climbing, just at a more moderate pace. Selling your house while buyer demand is so high will truly put you in the driver’s seat. But don’t wait too long. With more listings projected to become available, your ideal window of opportunity to stand out from the crowd won’t last forever. Work with an agent who knows your local market and current inventory conditions to ensure you have the support you need to make an educated and informed decision about selling in the coming year.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, 2022 may be your year. Let’s connect to discuss your goals and the unique opportunities you have in today’s housing market.

Source: Keeping Current Matters

Bed Tax Reveals Rental Revenue Up 87% in South Walton

As you may know, every time someone rents a short-term vacation rental in South Walton County there is a 5% Tourist Development Tax or what is commonly referred to as a “bed tax” collected. The revenue is used to support tourism marketing and beach operations including cleaning and maintaining beaches, lifeguards, destination improvements and preservation initiatives. The best measure of tourism in South Walton is occupancy levels that come from bookings of rental properties and by tracking the amount of tax collected, we can use that data to chart the history and trends of the rental market.
According to the data August 2021 South Walton collections were 34.26% higher than August 2020.  Comparing August 2021 to August 2019 South Walton collections were up 102.3%.  When comparing year-to-date totals the 2021 South Walton collections total to date are 87.16% higher than the 2020 collections were at this reporting time.

If you are considering purchasing a home or condo, I have been analyzing the best income-producing properties in all price ranges from Destin to 30A for over 10 years and I will be happy to get you income and cost of ownership information for any property. Call me 850.502.3422 or email me  Cathy@BeachfrontPropertyExperts.com

The Pearl in Rosemary Beach Named One of Top 15 Hotels by Conde Nast

Condé Nast Traveler has published its annual Readers’ Choice Awards with The Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach voted one of the top 15 hotels in Florida.

More than 800,000 Condé Nast Traveler readers rated their travel experiences across the globe to provide specifics about the places they can’t wait to return to next. The Readers’ Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognitions of excellence in the travel industry. The full list of winners can be found here.

“I continue to be so thankful and proud of our Pearl team, who prove daily that sincere and personal service are the cornerstone of everything we do,” says David Merryman, General Manager of the Pearl Hotel. “It’s especially gratifying to be recognized by our guests and by a prestigious publication like Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top hotels in Florida.”

As the only full-service, adult-oriented hotel in South Walton, The Pearl provides an idyllic setting for an intimate beach getaway. The 55-room boutique hotel boasts elegant, modern accommodations and amenities, a restaurant, rooftop bar, a poolside spa and a central, walkable location in the charming Rosemary Beach® community, which provides the iconic backdrop for each guest’s experience. Throughout the hotel, local artwork further elevates the guest experience, making a stay at The Pearl a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

The 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards are published on Condé Nast Traveler’s website at cnatraveler.com/rca and celebrated in the November issue.


Source: SoWal


Official Opening of the WaterSound Monarch Art Trail & Flutterby Festival


The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County  (CAA) announces the anticipated official opening of the Watersound Monarch Art Trail (MAT), an outdoor sculpture project created by the CAA with support from The St. Joe Community Foundation. The Nov. 12 grand opening will kick off a weekend of festive events that offer creative education and fun for the whole family.

It is well-known that Northwest Florida is part of the migratory path of the Monarch butterfly, and every fall tens of thousands of Monarchs can be seen enjoying the indigenous flora that lives in Walton County. Since 1992, the CAA has celebrated this natural event with an annual children’s arts and science festival called The Flutterby Festival, and now the Alliance will include the MAT opening in this celebration.

The MAT will include eight original sculptures designed specifically for installation along South Watersound Parkway’s existing mile-long walking and bike path that connects Highways 98 and 30A. Use of the area was made possible by The St. Joe Company. The sculptures will be complemented with seating, lighting, signage, and native landscape. Additionally, a phone app will provide insight into the artists’ creative process through audio recordings, descriptive text, and geo-locators.

The MAT’s official opening will be Friday, Nov. 12, from 4-7 p.m. and will be celebrated with live music, food by Grayton Beach Catering, beverages for all ages, and meet and greets with some of the artists as guests stroll or bike along the trail.

The festivities will continue Saturday, Nov. 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a family scavenger hunt and other fun entertainment. Guests are encouraged to download the OtoCast App for a self-guided audio tour which includes a description for each artwork from the artist. Parking for the MAT events is located on the north end of the trail at the Magnet Innovation Center.

In another new addition to the weekend, the CAA is joining forces with the Point Washington Medical Clinic for the Clinic’s Metamorphosis event. Metamorphosis is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 13, from 6-9 p.m. on the Village Commons green in the Watersound Origins community. Headlining the event is Atlanta-based Gurufish. Funds raised from the event’s cash bar will go toward the CAA’s Art in Public Spaces program and be used to commission custom artwork painted by local artists in the new PWMC facility. For more information about PWMC and tickets for Metamorphosis, visit thepwmc.org.

The weekend will culminate with the Flutterby Festival featuring art activities, live performances, art exhibits and more on Sunday, Nov. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Village Commons green in the Watersound Origins community.

The festival offers live entertainment for the entire family, art activities like the butterfly wing creation station and craft-making as well as the butterfly learning center, carnival games and a flutterby frenzy at the end of each day. Food by Sports to Geaux and beverages will be available for purchase, and some activities require a small fee.

Source: Press Gazette


5 Best Places to Kayak on the Emerald Coast

Pretty sugar-white and Appalachian Mountains-bred quartz crystals that make Emerald Coast beaches shine also are found on lesser-known islands, cliffs and banks, and the bottoms of fast-flowing rivers north of the Gulf of Mexico.

One of the best ways to explore the beauty of those still somewhat mysterious waterways adjacent to and farther from the coast is by kayak.

Here are some places where you can paddle through paradise while shaking firmer hands with Mother Nature:

Rocky Creek

First, make sure you have a recreation permit from Eglin Air Force Base’s Jackson Guard to access Rocky Creek.

One way to reach the creek is by launching from the shore of Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park just east of Niceville after paying a park admission fee.

Cut northeast across the bayou, which is a popular spot for motorboats, to the mouth of Rocky Creek.

The clear creek flows swiftly and provides a hearty upstream workout. You’ll feel the coldness of the creek water reach you through your plastic kayak. Look down on either side of you to see darting fish and swaying grasses above the white sand. Swamp lilies will make you glance left and right. Polarized sunglasses help with the glare.

Not long after paddling under the State Road 293 overpass, you’ll see the decades-old wreckage of an Air Force jet on both sides of the creek. Keep going, then take a break at a cool wooden landing someone built above very shallow water.

Then paddle deeper into nature, where the chances of seeing alligators, banded water snakes, owls, songbirds and even wild boars increase. Way upstream, cables and bridge remnants dangle where military members once trained.

Santa Rosa Sound

The Mary Esther area of the Sound has several white sand spoil islands to paddle to and explore. Public launch spots include one at the end of Misty Water Lane in Mary Esther and one at Liza Jackson Park in Fort Walton Beach.

The islands are piles of “spoil” the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredged up decades ago to provide a deeper waterway for commerce/fuel-powered vessels. Among other creatures, these manmade oases attract geese, ospreys, brown pelicans, crabs and beach bums.

Paddling to the islands from the mainland can feel like you’re in a life-size game of Frogger as you must often stop and go as passing motorboats dictate. Ride out their wakes and then floor it.

Check out the shallower and usually calmer south side of most of the islands. If you’re quick enough, you too can snag your own temporary piece of paradise.

Western Lake

A main way to get your feet wet in this large, shallow coastal dune lake and global rarity in South Walton County is by launching from Grayton Beach State Park after paying a park fee.

Paddle to a channel that curves around white sand dunes and cliffs on your left and tall marsh grasses and vacation homes on your right, and eventually you’ll make it to the tip of the Gulf, where salty waves wash over you but the beach either endures or fades away.

Sometimes, the beach gives in enough to allow lake water to join saltwater. Locals tell tales of dolphins making their way to Western Lake.

After some beach time, paddle to the public boat ramp at the end of Hotz Avenue in Grayton Beach. While still drying off, walk up to the Red Bar to soak up a Bloody Mary and a bowl of gumbo, as well as live music from Dread Clampitt or other funky musicians.

Shoal River

The Okaloosa County-managed Wayside Park next to the Cox Bridge section of State Road 85 near the south end of Crestview is a convenient way to get on the Shoal River.

Nature, surprisingly without hardly any other boaters, is found for long stretches either upstream or downstream. From the river, you may spy big stands of cypress trees or fat white sand banks that lure you to pull over and chill.

You might be able to park your kayak under overhanging tree branches to get a better view of a barred owl peering down. Just watch out for wasps.

East Bay River

This river, which is part of the southern boundary of Eglin Air Force Base in Santa Rosa County, is reminiscent of the Shoal River because of its big bends and forests. You can access the East Bay River from a public boat ramp off State Road 87 in Holley near Navarre.

Paddle upstream past a smattering of homes to nothing but woods on either side.

You may see silent baby owls and noisy baby songbirds peeking out from nests in a tree stump and a half-submerged log. Sometimes massive clouds of smoke from controlled fires on Eglin land rise like ghosts against a blue sky as you’re paddling east.

Pitcher plants, wildflowers and twisted dead trees that resemble driftwood art installations dot the banks, all beckoning inspection and respect.

Source: The Destin Log


New Jazz Brunch at Hotel Effie’s Ovide Restaurant

Jones and Company will perform at jazz brunch at Hotel Effie's Ovide.

Ovide, the signature restaurant by James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson at Hotel Effie inside the gates of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, has launched a new jazz brunch available every Saturday and Sunday.

Embracing fresh, forward flavors of the Gulf Coast, the menu showcases Acheson’s creativity and passion for distinctive ingredients and cooking techniques by fusing coastal cuisine with a sophisticated French influence.

The brunch menu offers a collection of new entrees including an Egg White Frittata ($19) served with a combination of slow-roasted tomatoes, kale, goat cheese and gem lettuce salad; Braised Pork Belly ($23) paired with a sunny-side-up egg atop a bed of crispy rice, edamame, scallions and pickled carrots; Short Rib Hash ($21) atop crispy potatoes with two eggs served sunny-side-up with collard greens and a paprika aioli; Stuffed French Toast ($18) topped with peach compote, vanilla bean and whipped crème fraiche; and Tomato Shakshuka ($16) made with stewed tomatoes, poached eggs, and sweet potato served with sourdough bread.

“At Ovide, every sweet and savory dish is fueled by a passion for sustainability and seasonality that gives each bite its incredible flavor,” said Executive Chef Lulu Dangerfield. “With the launch of our exciting new brunch menu, we look forward to spending the weekends hosting guests over a comforting meal of delicious and flavorful food, complemented with live jazz and our southern hospitality.”

Ovide’s beverage menu, curated by mixologist Kellie Thorn, includes specialty cocktails like the Nightswimmer made with aged Jamaican rum, Oloroso sherry, crème de banana and bitters as well as Bloody Marys and four bubbly Mimosa variations, including orange, guava, tangerine and passion fruit juice.

Award-winning, local jazz trio Jones and Company, who have been entertaining for more than 20 years, will be performing live on Saturdays during brunch hours. Known for transcending traditional boundaries of music by weaving musical tapestry through all styles of music, especially jazz and soul.

Ovide will serve brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations can be made at www.hoteleffie.com/dining/ovide.

Source: NWF Daily News


Plans for New FL License Plate to Benefit South Walton

The local nonprofit organization Scenic Walton Inc., which works to preserve the natural beauty of Walton County and improve the quality of life in the community, is working to raise awareness of the proposed state 30A specialty license plate, proceeds from which would go to the nonprofit organization. The plate, approved in this year's state legislative session, won't be manufactured by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles until 3,000 people have pre-ordered one.

The nonprofit Scenic Walton Inc. has begun promoting a planned state specialty license plate dedicated to Walton County Road 30A, the iconic beachside route.

Proceeds from the sale of the planned 30A specialty tags, which will cost $33, will go to Scenic Walton Inc. in support of its work to preserve the county’s natural beauty and enhance the quality of life not only along the beaches, but across the entire county.

State legislation creating the specialty tag, which can be used on vehicles in place of the standard state license plate, took effect Oct. 1 after being signed into law in June by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Oct. 1 effective date started the clock running on the next phase of the effort to get the tags onto vehicles and the sale proceeds headed to Scenic Walton Inc.

In order for the 30A specialty tag to become available, 3,000 pre-orders must be received by the state within the next 24 months. At that point, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles will start manufacturing the tags.

Vouchers for the proposed 30A specialty tag can be purchased online at www.30Atag.com or at any tax collector’s office.

To get to the required 3,000 vouchers, Scenic Walton Inc. is embarking on a marketing campaign designed to raise awareness of the tag’s availability, according to Leigh Moore, executive director of the organization.

“We do think it’s doable,” Moore said Monday. But she also recognized the potentially limited reach of interest in the specialty tag, in that it is focused specifically on Walton County. However, she noted that the “30A brand” is known and appreciated across a wide area of Northwest Florida.

“It’s not necessarily just about 30A,” Moore said optimistically. “It’s about the beach lifestyle and the Gulf Coast region.”

The tag features a silhouette of trees rising above Western Lake, a familiar vista along 30A, along with an image of the ubiquitous blue, white and yellow “30A” promotional sticker that adorns vehicles across the country and places around the world as a memento of visits to the area.

In all, according to The 30A Company, a local lifestyle brand company that offers an array of beach-related merchandise, an estimated 3 million 30A stickers have been distributed.

The tag was created by Gulf Coast designer Jake Meyer with help from local residents and the 1.5 million social media fans of The 30A Company, who helped select the final design for the specialty license plate.

Mike Ragsdale, founder and CEO of The 30A Company, weighed in on the design in comments included in a news release announcing the campaign for the specialty license plate.

“Of course, we have amazing beaches here, as do many Florida towns, but our coastal dune lakes really are unique to Walton County,” Ragsdale said. “I think our community made an excellent choice.”

“We do not expect this to be easy,” Moore said getting 3,000 vouchers in hand for the 30A tag, “but we are determined to do it.”

She added that the hope is to have the 3,000 vouchers well before the 24-month deadline.

“A lot of it is just going to be boots on the ground,” Moore added, describing the approach that Scenic Walton Inc. is taking to get the word out.

If the tag is approved, it will become one of 120 specialty license plates offered in the state, promoting everything from the U.S. military services to institutions of higher education to manatees and the arts.

Interestingly, the legislation creating the opportunity for the 30A specialty license plates also included language that would cap the types of specialty license plates offered in the state at 150, meaning that some plates would have to be retired if new ones are desired when that threshold is reached.

If the 30A specialty tag is approved, sales proceeds will be used by Scenic Walton Inc., to help cover the nonprofit’s operating expenses, Moore said.

In turn, that will allow Scenic Walton Inc. to provide additional financial support to county government efforts and other local initiatives to improve not only the 30A corridor, but other locales in the county.

“We work to improve landscaping in roadway medians, reduce litter, promote underground utilities, expand infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, and other projects that enhance the quality of life for Walton County residents and visitors,” Moore said in the news release. “Money raised by the new tags will help promote beautification and safety projects throughout all of Walton County, not just along the beach.”

In particular, Moore said Monday, Scenic Walton Inc. would like to see its money used to fund design work for beautification and safety projects, which would allow the county and local municipal governments to allocate more of their resources to actual construction of those projects.

And as local governments are competing for grants and other available funding for projects, having a design in hand before applying for those dollars can provide a competitive advantage, she added.

“We’re just trying to partner better with the municipalities,” Moore said.

Also according to Moore, Scenic Walton Inc. takes a longer-term approach to its work, which includes using landscaping to improve not only the aesthetics but the safety of roads in the county.

“Our vision is longer term — 10, 20, 30, 40 years,” she said.

In that light, she added that Scenic Walton Inc. supports of the county government’s efforts to develop a countywide transportation plan, a multifaceted effort to improve the county’s transportation infrastructure, including along 30A, over the next 20 years.

“I think that we’ve needed it for quite some time, and we would be thrilled to see them get it in place,” Moore said.

Source: The Walton Sun


Mountain Film Festival Going on Now in WaterColor

Mountainfilm on Tour  is one of SoWal’s most popular events, returning to WaterColor Inn & Resort’s Marina Park Amphitheater for its 21st anniversary this Nov. 5-6, with films that reflect Mountainfilm’s motto, “Celebrating Indomitable Spirit,” and use the power of film, art and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world.


A two-night outdoor film festival dedicated to educating and motivating audiences about issues that matter, Mountainfilm on Tour at WaterColor brings a selection of culturally rich, adventure-packed and incredibly inspiring documentary films to Northwest Florida.

Marina Park Amphitheater offers a breathtaking outdoor setting against a backdrop of longleaf pines, under a starry sky to enhance the inspiring films. An event presenter will guide the audience through the program, providing insight on the films, filmmakers and subject matters.

Tickets and WaterColor Inn lodging packages are available at www.mountainfilmfl.com and is sure to be a sellout. Each evening, gates open at 5:45 p.m., with films beginning at 7 p.m.

Please Note:

  • Bring a blanket or low-back chair(s) for seating (maximum 30 inch height restriction applies and will be enforced).
  • Chairs are not allowed to be placed at the event prior to gates opening and will be removed.
  • Selections of festival fare, wine and beer will be available for purchase.
  • No outside food, beverage or coolers allowed in the Mountainfilm festival gates.
  • No pets allowed to the event.
  • Adult language is used in some films and may not be appropirate for younger children.
  • Mountainfilm on Tour at WaterColor is a rain or shine event; ticket purchases are non-refundable unless the event is cancelled or postponed.

Signature Event T-shirts -Limited-edition 2021 Mountainfilm on Tour at WaterColor long-sleeve shirts will be available for purchase with online ticket sales, at the event, or may be purchased at WaterColor Store ahead of the event.

Movie Playlist

 *Films may be subject to change.


Source: SoWal


Posted by Allea Sipper on

Groundbreaking for New Regional Beach Access in Miramar Beach

The Walton County Board of County Commissioners and the Walton County Tourism Department invite the public to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Scenic Gulf Drive Regional Beach Access on Wednesday,

Oct. 27, at 10 a.m. The new regional beach access will be located at 907 Scenic Gulf Drive in Miramar Beach (across from Amalfi Coast).

“This new regional beach access will include a restroom building with a large plaza, an ADA accessible boardwalk to the beach, as well as vehicle, golf cart and bicycle parking,” said Beach Operations Director Brian Kellenberger. “There will also be a picnic pavilion with access to the beach.”

Since August 2016, Visit South Walton has purchased a total of seven parcels to be used as new regional access points, as well as future parking facilities. One of the most notable properties is the “Grayton Grand” project on County Road 283.

The properties were purchased and will be maintained using bed tax dollars, a 5 percent tax collected on short-term rentals. Residents do not pay the bed tax unless they are taking a “staycation” in a local rental property or accommodation.

“Anytime we have an opportunity provide additional beach access for our residents and visitors to enjoy, it’s a priority for Walton County,” said District 5 Commissioner Tony Anderson. “We understand that it can sometimes be a long process from the time we purchase a property until we open a new access, but it’s always great to see these important steps begin. This new beach access is going to be a great addition to Miramar Beach and our county.”

Once construction is completed on the Scenic Gulf Drive access, as well as the proposed regional beach access in Seagrove Beach, across from Café Thirty-A, the total number of regional beach access points in South Walton will increase to 11. Each regional beach access point includes parking, bathroom facilities, and a lifeguard station.

For additional information regarding the groundbreaking or the Scenic Gulf Drive beach access, contact Brian Kellenberger at (850-267-4578 or Brian@visitsouthwalton.com.

Source: The Walton Sun


Posted by Allea Sipper on

Real Estate Market Report Destin to 30A

To describe the real estate market on the Emerald Coast in the last 18 months as brisk would be an understatement.  It has been red hot.  Since the lifting of the short-term rental ban in May 2020, the market has seen a rapid growth in the number of transactions.  This growth subsequently reduced the amount of available inventory.  The graph below (Chart #1) shows the number of properties listed for sale (orange line) and the number of pended transactions (turquoise line) for each month during the last three years through 9/30/21.

As the chart indicates, the number of pended transactions jumped in June 2020. Most of this increase was from pent up demand from buyers that could not view homes during the COVID shutdown in March and April.  This demand outpaced the number of new listings in the market causing a steep decline in inventory that lasted through March 2021.  During this period, it was very common to hear of listings that were on the market for only one day with multiple offers being made for the property.

It’s clear that something happened in March 2021 that resulted in a decline in pended transactions.  The chart below (Chart #2) helps to explain this.

This chart (Chart #2) shows the average list price for active properties (orange line) and the average sold price (turquoise line).  This chart shows the rapid growth in list prices starting around December 2020, peaking in May 2021.  Interestingly, the average sold priced maintained its consistent price growth with a little leveling off during the last six months.  In contrast, the average list price has had a decline since its peak in May.  Keep in mind that even with this pull back in list prices, prices remain higher than in the pre-COVID period and for a year after the lifting of the short-term rental ban.  In addition(Chart #3), the inventory of available listings remains very low at 2.0 months of inventory.

Putting it all together leads to the following conclusions, the rapid increase in listing prices was too much too fast.  The market was not willing to purchase properties at the same pace as it was 6 to 12 months ago at those now higher relative prices.  Inventory in the market will continue to rise until listing prices correct to a level that is more attractive to buyers.  As seen in Chart #2, this decrease in listing prices has started.  Remember, the average price for pended transactions is stable, further supporting that the recent decline in pended transaction is a function of overpriced supply versus lower demand for property.  Sellers have options.  They can be patient at their current price and be willing to wait, reduce their list price, or make improvements to justify a higher price, just to name a few.  Demand remains strong and buyers are ready to buy at the right price!