Florida’s Emerald Coast is known for its white-sand beaches, the hue of its water and quality fishing, so it may be no surprise that the local real estate market has seen a surge of interest as the COVID-19 pandemic leaves many Americans desperate for places to safely enjoy the outdoors.
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Located on a stretch of the Florida Panhandle, the Emerald Coast has long been a popular vacation spot, with communities including Destin and Fort Walton Beach. Earlier this year, Grayton Beach State Park was named the best beach in the U.S. And just this week, The Wall Street Journal declared the region “Florida’s crown jewel.”
The pandemic did slow the local real estate market in the spring, with closings down 50.8% in April from a year earlier, according to the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors.
But the market quickly flipped back upward in June, and the monthly change in single-family home sales hit a year-over-year high of 79.2% in July, according to the Realtors group.
In September, the number of single-family home closings was still up 30% year-over-year, according to the Realtors. And the median sale price was up 26.8% from $279,900 in September 2019 to $355,000 last month.
The sale of one particularly luxurious oceanfront home in Santa Rosa Beach for $14 million set a local record for the priciest new construction.
Even with so many sales, the market has a lot to offer a homebuyer. Here’s a look at what you can get for under $1 million along Florida’s Emerald Coast:
Seacrest Beach - $939,000
This home is within walking distance to beaches, restaurants and community amenities.
The 2,715-square-foot house includes four bedrooms, three bathrooms and two half-baths, according to the listing with Tanner Shehan of Latitude Resort Properties.
All three of the home’s levels feature outdoor space, including a front porch, a private screened balcony off the second-floor master and an open deck on the top floor. Inside, there’s an open plan on the ground floor, and the third floor features additional lounge space.
The property sits beside a nature preserve. It’s also near Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach, and includes access to a 12,000-square-foot community pool.
Choctawhatchee Bay - $930,950
This new construction sits on a bayfront property with a private dock.
The 2,193-square-foot home includes three bedrooms and two full bathrooms, according to the listing with Carrie Shoaf and Ron Hefner of Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty.
Inside, the home features clean modern finishes, tray ceilings and an open floor plan. It has granite counters, wood tile floors and walk-in showers.
The 1.68-acre property is lined with trees for privacy. A screened porch overlooks the backyard and the bay. And while the property is located on the bay, it’s also just minutes from the beach.
Miramar Beach - $879,000
The beachfront condo is located in a non-rental complex with just nine units.
The 2,000-square-foot residence includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms, according to the listing with Kyle Hock of Realjoy Properties.
The condo offers ocean views from the living room, kitchen and master bedroom. The airy living spaces feature an open floor plan.
The home includes a private balcony overlooking the beach, and a staircase offers direct access to the sand.
Blue Mountain Beach - $784,500
This townhome is less than a block from the beach and includes a pool shared with the neighboring unit.
The 1,730-square-foot home includes four bedrooms, three bathrooms and one half-bath, according to the listing with Chris Abbott of Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty.
An array of windows let in the light and offer panoramic views. Two of the third-floor bedrooms include private balcony access overlooking the Gulf.
In addition to the pool, there’s a shared fire pit area and a large private screened porch.