Destin/Panhandle appreciation statistics, numbing
By Craig Levine

It boggles me. It boggles my euphoric clients. For those who purchased real estate along the panhandle last year, the returns have been astronomical. Compared to Atlanta's paltry appreciation rate of roughly 4%, the Florida panhandle condo market has been skyrocketing in value. It's no wonder why so many Atlantans have purchased second home and investment property in areas such as Destin, Fort Walton, Navarre, Blue Mountain Beach, Seaside, and Panama City Beach. In fact, the number one buyer of beach real estate along the gulf comes from the metropolitan Atlanta area. The reason? The panhandle, thus far, has proven to be a stellar choice for real estate investment opportunities, while at the same time, providing owners with a short 5-6 hour drive to some of the country's best beaches and emerald shores.

Most people who visited the Emerald Coast years ago that come back to vacation are quite surprised at how pricey this once affordable oasis has become. In fact, having worked this market actively now for the past two years, I am quite stunned at how fast condo prices, within glimpse of the Gulf of Mexico, have risen. One after the other, condo owners are piggybacking on the most recent sold in their community to test just how much money they might be able to get for their unit. The scary thing is, sellers are getting it and the units are selling fast. Never before have so many offers been made on condos, site unseen. Buyers are scrambling just to get their hands on something in a community that they like. What used to be speculative selling has turned into quasi speculative buying.

I'm not saying that these are risk heavy investments, they are certainly going to continue their upwards pricing momentum, however, appreciation rates of 40% or more that have been occurring in areas like Navarre, Florida, are not going to persist for too much longer. You may want to get in while the going's good. It's not unreasonable to believe that sustainable appreciation rates of 10-15% will be the norm in the coming years, possibly, making your second home investment a better investment than the home you live in, now.

Year to Year Appreciation
(All figures are based upon Emerald Coast Association of Realtors listing service)

Florida Town/City Average List Price
for New Listings in February, 2004 ($)
Median List Price for New Listings in
February, 2004 ($)
Average List Price
for New Listings in February, 2003 ($)
Median List Price for New Listings in
February, 2003 ($)
Navarre 398,317 434,500 271,338 313,700
Fort Walton Beach 338,177 350,000 230,373 269,900
Destin 531,840 429,950 458,233 334,900
Hwy 30A and Beaches 560,232 546,000 655,785 525,000
Panama City Beach 353,048 365,000 326,500 304,500

Number of Gulf Front Condos and Price Range
(All figures are based upon Emerald Coast Association of Realtors listing service)

Florida Town/City # of Condos Gulf Front Price Range (As of 3/15/04 in $)
Navarre 17 399,000-1.25 million
Fort Walton Beach 30 229,000-599,000
Destin 99 269,000-4 million
Hwy 30A and Beaches 34 489,000-2.55 million
Panama City Beach 76 211,000-2.1 million


Please feel free to call me at 678-784-4493 to discuss developing opportunities or your real estate investment goals! I'm always available for consultations in the Atlanta or Destin areas.

Having been licensed since 1994, Craig Levine brings to your real estate deal a world of experience, cutting-edge technology, negotiating savvy, and exemplary service. With Century 21 in Atlanta, Craig was the #2 agent in the #1 office in Georgia in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001! He repeatedly received Century 21's highest honor, The Centurion Award, in each of these years. In 2002, Craig joined Re/Max Greater Atlanta, the Nation's #1 Re/Max office. Additionally, Craig got licensed in Florida to bring his arsenal of skills and resources into the Emerald Coast's 2nd Home and Investment market. Now, he wants to put his talents to work for you! Craig is an avid boater, golfer, traveler, biker, and reader. He has written for numerous print magazines including The Seasonal, The Gazette, Cobb Living, Cobbonline, The Cobb Times, Atlanta Nation, Cherokee Nation, North Fulton Nation, Gwinnett Nation, The Southeast Business Journal, Lake Lanier Herald, Revue and News, John's Creek Herald, Forsyth Herald, North Atlanta Business Post, as well as various online real estate related web sites. Craig is also frequently quoted in Georgia Realtor Magazine, Florida Realtor Magazine, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, and the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Please visit all of his award-winning web sites:,,,,, and,