May is Art Month in South Walton

ART MONTH SOUTH WALTON

Art Month South Walton is an initiative of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County with the purpose to bring communities, organizations and businesses together to present quality arts and entertainment to the community. Spanning the month of May, Art Month will feature visual, performing, and literary arts programming in diverse formats and in various venues throughout South Walton.

2021 Art Month South Walton features events and programs presented in locations throughout Walton County, including the South Walton Street Art Festival, an online Art & More Auction benefiting the CAA, Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach, Arts Night in DeFuniak Springs, Music on Main, performances by the Emerald Coast Theatre Company, and more.

We’re accepting applications through April 19 for those interested in participating in the Street Art Festival in three categories including: Artists, Friends and Family teams and School teams. Apply online today!

Scroll to view the official event calendar for Art Month South Walton and get ready to activate your imagination!

To learn more about the event, visit:

https://www.culturalartsalliance.com/art-month

34th Annual Sandestin Wine Festival

The 34th Annual Sandestin Wine Festival will take place April 15-18, 2021. The Sandestin Wine Festival has been named the “Best Annual Event” by Destin Magazine, and is known as the Best event in the Visit South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival area. The Sandestin Wine Festival is the most established and continuously running wine festival on the Emerald Coast and has affectionately been called the “Kentucky Derby of Wine Festivals” because of its popularity and grandeur.

The main events, know as our Grand Wine Tastings, showcase more than 500+ domestic and international wines over a two day span. Guests can enjoy the opportunity to talk to vineyard owners and wine makers about their favorite appellations, or maybe try something new. During the Grand Wine Tastings, guests are also treated to a gourmet experience courtesy of some of the best chefs on the Emerald Coast. Savor South Walton tents are sprinkled within the festival to allow guests to pair delectable bite sized appetizers with their current glass selection. And, a new festival favorite, The Bubbly and Boozy tent returns to the Grand Sandestin Lawn, featuring bubbles and spirits galore.

Local and regional music also set the vibe for fun days of discovery. And all ranges of knowledge are encouraged to attend the festival – wine novices to aficionados alike. Festival goers are able to learn more about wines and sample from a comprehensive selection in all varieties, styles, and price ranges. Wine aficionados enjoy meeting winemakers, asking detailed questions, and acquiring hard to get selections.

Ticket holders also receive a beautiful Riedel glass etched to commemorate each year’s event for their tastings. An added bonus is the opportunity to immediately purchase your favorite selections at The Retail Tent at a discounted rate. Everyone gets to enjoy the live music, interactive experiences at the Culinary tents, and shops and dining of the Village of Baytowne Wharf.

To learn more about the event, visit http://www.sandestinwinefestival.com

11th Annual Pompano Tournament

11th Annual Pompano Tournament | March 28 – April 30, 2021`

This year’s tournament features Calcuttas for Redfish & Whiting and a new Shoreline Slam Calcutta for Pompano, Redfish & Whiting.

The leaderboard is the heartbeat of the Pompano Tournament and is updated with each lead change. You can register online to participate anytime throughout the tournament, or stop by the Bait Shack to register.

Fish can be weighed-in during daily weigh-ins from 8am – 8pm. Anglers are allowed to weigh-in one pompano per day and only one fish per angler will be on the leaderboard. All fish will be weighed as “whole fish weight” and to the thousandth of a pound.

All participants will have their pictures taken with their fish, and we’ll share them on the Stinky’s Fish Camp & Bait Shack websites and social media platforms.

Register in person, by phone at (850) 622-2248 or online at StinkysBaitShop.com

Today’s Seller’s Market

What It Means To Be in a Sellers’ Market

What It Means To Be in a Sellers’ Market | MyKCM

If you’ve given even a casual thought to selling your house in the near future, this is the time to really think seriously about making a move. Here’s why this season is the ultimate sellers’ market and the optimal time to make sure your house is available for buyers who are looking for homes to purchase.

The latest Existing Home Sales Report from The National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the inventory of houses for sale is still astonishingly low, sitting at just a 2-month supply at the current sales pace.

Historically, a 6-month supply is necessary for a ‘normal’ or ‘neutral’ market in which there are enough homes available for active buyers (See graph below):What It Means To Be in a Sellers’ Market | MyKCM

When the supply of houses for sale is as low as it is right now, it’s much harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. As a result, competition among purchasers rises and more bidding wars take place, making it essential for buyers to submit very attractive offers.

As this happens, home prices rise and sellers are in the best position to negotiate deals that meet their ideal terms. If you put your house on the market while so few homes are available to buy, it will likely get a lot of attention from hopeful buyers.

Today, there are many buyers who are ready, willing, and able to purchase a home. Low mortgage rates and a year filled with unique changes have prompted buyers to think differently about where they live – and they’re taking action. The supply of homes for sale is not keeping up with this high demand, making now the optimal time to sell your house.

Bottom Line

Home prices are appreciating in today’s sellers’ market. Making your home available over the coming weeks will give you the most exposure to buyers who will actively compete against each other to purchase it.

New Pedestrian Underpass Coming to East End of 30A

New Pedestrian Underpass Coming to East End of Scenic 30A

AERIAL OF INLET BEACH

The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA), Scenic WaltonVisit South Walton, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners, and the Florida Department of Transportation hosted the official groundbreaking of the U.S. Hwy. 98 pedestrian underpass at Inlet Beach on Friday, March 26, at 3:00 pm

This $5.6 million project will be the first pedestrian and cyclist underpass to be constructed in the county and will be located at the corners of U.S. Highways 98 and Scenic 30A.

Once the underpass is complete, it will provide safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists underneath US Highway 98 through a lighted tunnel. Scenic Walton is partnering with the Cultural Arts Alliance to create a public art component that will be part of the CAA’s Art in Public Spaces program. It will include two mid-sized sculptures installed next to each tunnel entrance and murals created on the tunnel’s interior walls. Lighting will be stylistically installed on the ceiling, and the floor will remain unobstructed for clear and safe passage. The tunnel will measure 12 ft wide x 8 ft high x 136 ft long.

A open national artist invitation will go out in April 2021, with finalists chosen in July and commissions selected in August. Concepts will be reviewed and chosen by a panel of representatives from the creative, public, and private sectors, and the community at large. Two artists/teams will create and install the sculptures, and one artist/team will create the interior murals with collaboration by local students through the CAA’s ongoing partnership with the Walton County School District.

The overall project outcome will be a safe, practical, and necessary crossing that also provides an enhancement to the surrounding area through indigenous landscaping and beautiful, engaging, and thought-provoking artwork. Artistically and conceptually, and in recognition of this underpass being the first in the area, the theme of the art installations will be “connectivity” and “relationship” among and between humans and connection with our built environment through creativity. The artwork will be installed in Spring 2022.

This project will be a continuation of existing or developing public art projects located in the adjacent communities, including the CAA’s Monarch Art Trail along South Watersound Parkway, the Rosemary Beach Sculpture Exhibition, Alys Beach’s permanent sculpture collection, and future public art installations at Watersound Origins. The underpass will be an obvious thoroughfare, but it will also add value to the practical environment and become an experience for those who live, work and vacation in our community.

Symphonia Gulf Coast: CRESCENDO! Series of Events

Crenscendo! is an exciting cultural extravaganza to benefit Sinfonia Gulf Coast and its music education and community engagement initiatives throughout Okaloosa and Walton counties. Known for producing the highest caliber concerts and events along Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sinfonia “redefines” charitable events with the energy-infused experience that celebrates the cultural and culinary arts by showcasing world-class vintners, “celebrity chefs,” expert spirit purveyors, amazing auction items, and award-winning musical guests.

CRESCENDO! 2021 Kick Off Lunch @ Bijoux
Thursday, March 25, 2021 | 11 a.m.
Help us kick off Crescendo! 2021 safely and in style at Bijoux Restaurant + Spirits located at The Market Shops. Enjoy an incredible lunch prepared by award-winning chef/co-owner Jack McGuckin, sip elegant wines, indulge in delectable desserts, shop all of the must-have accessories of the season from The Jewel, view the latest fashions modeled by Today’s Boutique, door prizes and raffle items, plus much more.

*Seating is capacity controlled with social distancing and safety precautions in place.

CRESCENDO! VINTNER DINNERS
Friday, April 30, 2021 | 6 p.m.
Hosted in elegant homes and venues throughout the region featuring some of the country’s most exclusive vineyards. Culinary maestros include top chefs from the Gulf Coast region and beyond including: Jack McGuckin of Bijoux Restaurant + Spirits, Ryan McNay & Richard McCord of MARROW, plus more.

Please visit  SinfoniaGulfCoast.org

for vintner/chef/host pairings. The Sinfonia team will call each patron to confirm which dinner they would prefer to attend following confirmation of their order.

CRESCENDO! MAIN EVENT
Sunday, May 2, 2021 | 11:30 a.m. | Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa: Coastal Ballroom
This year’s theme is La vie en rosé (life in pink): enter into an elegant setting of rosé-inspired decor and fashion. This energy-infused experience will celebrate the cultural and culinary arts by showcasing world-class vintners, expert spirit purveyors, amazing auction items, and an electrifying musical performance by Violectric.

To learn more about the event, visit: SinfoniaGulfCoast.org

Five South Walton Restaurants Earn coveted ‘Golden Spoon’ Awards in 2020

Five restaurants in South Walton County have been recognized in the Golden Spoon Awards this year.

The awards have been issued by Florida Trend Magazine for 50 years. It began as a guide to help travelers find dining experiences around the state that were a cut above.

Nowadays, the awards feature the classic Golden Spoon, which recognizes outstanding fine-dining restaurants that have demonstrated consistency in high standards and longevity, as well as a Golden Spoon Hall of Fame for repeat winners and a “Best New Restaurants” category for up-and-coming eateries.

South Walton boasted winners in all three categories: two Golden Spoons awardees, two hall-of-famers and one on the “Best New Restaurants” list.

Here are the local winners and what Florida Trend had to say about them:

Bijoux- Golden Spoon winner

“Between New Orleans and Florida’s corner of the Gulf, Bijoux brings fresh and simple seafood and dolls it up, too. Have fried oyster salad, blackened Brie or apple slaw before moving on to the likes of crab beignets and diver scallops with cheesy polenta cakes or cowboy rib-eye with mushroom ragout. Cool off with house-made sorbet.”

.Black Bear Bread ompany – Best New Restaurant winner

“The beloved bread bakers of 30-A have a new cub, and it has a taste for wine. The Cracker-style cottage next to the bakery has been handsomely redesigned to showcase natural and biodynamic wines and offer extra room for the bakery’s café and its menu of Stumptown coffee, breads, pastries and tartines (avocado/za’atar to smoked salmon with radish salad).”

Bud & Alley’s- Hall of Fame winner

“Heart of Seaside and the New Urban dining hall of South Walton since 1987; an edible amusement park on the boardwalk. Pizza, tacos, rooftop bars plus shrimp and grits or whole fish with arugula and new potatoes.”

FOOW (Fish Out of Water)- Hall of Fame winner

“FOOW delivers Gulf view and Gulf seafood sassied up with a strong Southern accent. Not just pimento cheese, but country ham, comeback sauce, candied bacon, sweet-tea chicken, catfish and hoppin’ John, too, add a solid taste of the land to the breeze of the sea.”

Vin’tij- Golden Spoon winner

“Todd Reber has been at it for more than 20 years and continues to refresh his vintage restaurant. Start with oyster and spinach crostini and move on to cumin-seared tuna or steak and collards. Weekend breakfast delivers blue corn pancakes and carnita posole as well as eggs, biscuits and vegan hash.”

Home Values Projected to Continue to Rise

As we enter the final months of 2020 and continue to work through the challenges this year has brought, some of us wonder what impact continued economic uncertainty could have on home prices. Looking at the big picture, the rules of supply and demand will give us the clearest idea of what is to come.

Due to the under supply of homes on the market today, there’s upward pressure on prices. Consider simple economics: when there is high demand for an item and a low supply of it, consumers are willing to pay more for that item. That’s what’s happening in today’s real estate market. The housing supply shortage is also resulting in bidding wars, which will also drive price points higher in the home sale process.

There’s no evidence that buyer demand will wane. As a result, experts project price appreciation will continue over the next twelve months. Here’s a graph of the major forecasts released in the last 60 days:

I hear many foreclosures might be coming to the market soon. Won’t that drive prices down?

Some are concerned that homeowners who entered a mortgage forbearance plan might face foreclosure once their plan ends. However, when you analyze the data on those in forbearance, it’s clear the actual level of risk is quite low.

Ivy Zelman, CEO of Zelman & Associates and a highly-regarded expert in housing and housing-related industries, was very firm in a podcast last week:

“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

With demand high, supply low, and little risk of a foreclosure crisis, home prices will continue to appreciate.

Bottom Line

Originally, many thought home prices would depreciate in 2020 due to the economic slowdown from the coronavirus. Instead, prices appreciated substantially. Over the next year, we will likely see home values rise even higher given the continued lack of inventory of homes for sale.

Winter Real Estate Forecast Anything But Chilly

In the second half of this year, the housing market  with activity. Today, real estate experts are looking ahead to the winter season and the forecast is anything but chilly. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), notes:

           “It will be one of the best winter sales years ever.”

The typical winter slowdown in the housing market is simply not on the radar. Here’s why. While today’s historically low mortgage rates are expected to remain low, they won’t be this low for much longer. This could be the last chance for homebuyers to secure such low rates, and they’re ready to take action. In a recent , Bankrate explained:

            “If you’re looking to buy a home…expect mortgage rates to remain low into 2021. However, the possibility of rates falling to 2.5 percent or lower has faded as the U.S. economy has rebounded.”

As long as we continue to see low interest rates, we’ll see hopeful buyers on the hunt for their dream homes. Yun:

“The demand for home buying remains super strong…And we’re still likely to end the year with more homes sold overall in 2020 than in 2019…With persistent low mortgage rates and some degree of a continuing jobs recovery, more contract signings are expected in the near future.”

The challenge, however, is the lack of homes available for sale. With that in mind, all eyes are on homeowners to see if they’ll sell this winter or wait until spring. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com,

it’s best for to capitalize on this moment sooner rather than later:

“We currently see buyers sticking around in the housing market much later than we usually do this fall. If that trend continues, we will see more buyers in the market this winter, too. So, this winter is likely to be a good time to sell.”

With buyers ready to stay active this winter, sellers who want to close a deal on the best possible terms until spring to put their homes on the market.

Bottom Line

Experts agree the winter housing market could potentially be bigger than ever. Whether you’re ready to buy or sell, let’s connect today so you can be in your dream home by the new year.

Real Estate is Back According to Builders & Realtors

When shelter-in-place orders brought the economy to a screeching halt earlier this year, many believed the residential housing market would follow suit. Countless analysts predicted buyer demand would disappear and home values would depreciate for the first time in almost a decade. That, however, didn’t happen. It appears the opposite is taking place.

After the bottom fell out of the real estate market immediately following the shutdown, it has come roaring back – and seems to still be gaining steam. Here’s a look at two recent reports – one from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and one from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) – showing this growing strength.

Builder Confidence Hits All-Time High

Last week, it was reported that applications for new home purchases with home builders were 39% higher than in July of 2019. That has builder confidence soaring.

Each month, NAHB releases its Housing Market Index, a survey of NAHB members who rate market conditions for the sale of new homes at the present time and over the next six months, as well as prospective buyer traffic for new homes.

This month, they reported that builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes increased to the highest reading in the 35-year history of the series. NAHB Chairman, Chuck Fowke, explained:

“The demand for new single-family homes continues to be strong, as low interest rates and a focus on the importance of housing has stoked buyer traffic to all-time highs…Housing has clearly been a bright spot during the pandemic and the sharp rebound in builder confidence over the summer has led NAHB to upgrade its forecast for single-family starts, which are now projected to show only a slight decline for 2020.”

The number of newly constructed homes being built will be almost at the same level as last year, even though the economic shutdown crushed home building earlier in the year.

Existing Homes Are Also Selling Like Hotcakes

Last Friday, NAR released its Existing Home Sales Report. The report revealed that month-over-month sales increased by 24.7%, setting another record for the category. The Wall Street Journal reported that the increase crushed expert forecasts:

“Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected a 14.2% monthly increase in sales of previously-owned homes, which make up most of the housing market.”

Home sales increased by 8.7% year-over-year.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR, explained how the resale market is just as hot as the new construction market:

“The housing market is well past the recovery phase and is now booming with higher home sales compared to the pre-pandemic days. With the sizable shift in remote work, current homeowners are looking for larger homes and this will lead to a secondary level of demand even into 2021.”

In addition, the Housing Market Recovery Index, which is released monthly by realtor.com, also showed the market is recovering nicely. The latest index reading was 104.8, which means the housing market is doing better than it was in January and February of this year. As a reference, the highest point in the index was a 106.5 in early March, just prior to the health crisis setting in.

Bottom Line

Both the newly constructed and existing home sale markets are posting numbers greater than a year ago. Real estate is back. If you’re thinking of buying or selling, let’s connect so you have the expert counsel you need along the way. Cathy Turner 850.502.3422