by Linda Ash of Ash & Rose Real Estate
It’s hard to believe the Watson Realty Corp. office in Nocatee has celebrated its one year anniversary. What growth we have seen in the area since our doors opened! It’s also an exciting time to be on the Ash & Rose Real Estate Team! We have over 30 years of business, sales and marketing experience among us, it’s no coincidence we are one of the fastest growing teams at Watson Realty! Our team has been busy in St. Johns County with new construction popping up all around the county. We work with a large number of Millennials, but members of Generation X are really the ones that have been driving the housing market. It’s apparent with many of the new amenity-rich neighborhoods and our highly rated schools, Gen Xers are purchasing homes throughout the county. Gen Xers – adults between the ages of 37 and 51 – make up the second largest share of home buyers, comprising 28 percent in 2016, according to data from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).
The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors market stats for April, 2017 continue to show positive trends in St. Johns County. One of the most impressive increases in the area is the median price per square foot. This April the median price per square foot is $137, an increase of 5.4% over last year. There have been 5,950 closings in our county this April, a 10.4% increase over April 2016 when there were only 5,398 homes closed. Another positive trend is the increase in pending sales. There were 9.1% more contracts written this April (2,112) over April 2016 (1,935). The three year dollar volume of closed sales has continued to rise, April 2015 ($486,854,524); April 2016 ($550,528,301); and this year we have seen an 11.7% increase ($615,183,819).
The inventory of homes for sale in St. Johns County this April was 2,313. This amount is down 5.9% from last April giving Buyers fewer choices. We only have 4.6 months supply of inventory. A balanced market is 5 to 6 months supply. I’m sure we will see this number change with the building we are seeing all around us. Driving west on C.R. 210 between Hwy 1 and I-95, you have surely experienced slowing traffic due to all the road construction. Buyers, including Gen Xers, will certainly want to check out the new Twin Creeks planned development community featuring a 14-acre “lagoon”.– This neighborhood has rights to build 3,000 homes plus mixed use development including retail. Crystal Lagoons US Corp is the company that developed the technology for the lagoon. The clear man-made lagoon called Beach Walk will have sandy beaches and surrounded by shops and restaurants. A variety of homes will be built in front of the lagoon, and others will be within walking distance. It will be an exciting option for our Buyers as it will be totally different from other great new construction neighborhoods in St. Johns County.
Nocatee has announced two new communities: Timberland Ridge and Daniel Park at Town Center. Timberland Ridge (Duval County) will be on the north side of Nocatee and surrounded by preserve and water. Multiple builders will be building homes here, David Weekley, ICI Homes, and Providence Homes. Prices will start in the Low $300’s and range from 2,200 to 3,384 square feet. Watch for models opening in the fall. Daniel Park at Town Center is located in the heart of Nocatee, walking distance from Splash Park, Greenway Trails, the Nocatee Preserve, Town Center Shops and restaurants. Daniel Park will feature homes exclusively by David Weekley from 1,300 to 3,000 square feet, starting from the high $200’s.
In summary, pending sales are up, closings are up, median price per square foot is up, the 3-year dollar volume of closed sales is up and inventory is down. All are positive signs for the St. Johns housing market. If you have questions about the statistics, please give me a call. If you are considering new construction or a resale home in the area, call one of the Ash & Rose REALTORS® to assist you throughout the process.
"Generation X: Buying the Biggest Homes and Biggest Home Sellers," National Association of Realtors Economists' Outlook blog (April 14, 2017)
Jacksonville Business Journal, March 9, 2017 14 Acre “crystal lagoon” set to break ground in March, By Derek Gilliam.
by George L. Ballou, II
Menton & Ballou Group
Watson Realty Corp.
St. Johns is the place to be! Home of the #1 Rated School system in the state of FL & Ranked In Top 10 In The Nation by Forbes Magazine; Rated the Healthiest County In FL by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; 3.6% Unemployment rate / 3.7% Growth Rate In Population According to U.S. Census Bureau Durbin Park to be the largest shopping area in all Northeast Florida: Featuring Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Bass Shops
Even though I am in the real estate business 24/7, like many Realtors and fellow residents, the totality of what is going on in our county sometimes escapes us all. When you add up the numbers of just the major new projects under way and some about to begin the number of new homes coming on the market in the next few years is staggering. Where are all of these new owners going to come from? New residents from outside the county and state? Will St Johns County residents be selling their existing homes along the 210 Corridor, WGV, Julington Creek and Palencia for the new, state of the art developments with exciting new floor plans and amenities? What will be the impact on the re-sale market in these areas? If the last 10 years of growth is any indicator there seems to be room for everyone in this mix of new versus old!
Although it will take many years for all of this to become a reality, a quick look at what is on the horizon in new home starts;
23,722 -Total Residential Units
* Many of these developments have been on the drawing board for several years but they all seem to have gained their stride in a major push to make their plans a reality.
The investment being made by developers is enormous, county funding for roads and infrastructure is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the need for more schools is already evident and running behind! Job creation could be enormous to service this growing population. It looks like everyone is “All In” when it comes to St Johns County!
by Darin Magee, Owner of Florida Property Detectives
There are many different types of residential home inspections. Many are done at the transfer of a home, some for the seller, and some for the buyer. Other inspections are done for insurance agents. These include a four-point and a wind mitigation; these are how some people qualify for property insurance, and others qualify for property insurance discounts. Additionally, there are the new home construction inspections. These consists of construction monitoring, new construction, and 11-month warranty inspections. With the extraordinary surge in new home construction in northern St. Johns County, these are increasingly popular.
Construction monitoring is different from any other type of inspection. A typical home inspection is a non-invasive visual examination of the house and its components to determine if everything is functioning as intended. Depending on the size of the house it can take just a few hours to complete. Inspectors conducting construction monitoring inspections are following the building process for many months ensuring that everything is either built or installed to code. This can be very helpful for homeowners who don’t live in the area or for those who have little building experience. If you're thinking about hiring one of these inspectors, talk to your builder first. Builders will typically allow an inspector on the work site but usually aren’t thrilled about it. You should look for an inspector who has the insurance that the builder will demand and if possible, for one who has experience as a builder and knows the construction process.
The next variation is the new home inspection. This is done after the construction is finished but prior to the buyer moving in. In many cases it’s in lieu of, or in conjunction with, the buyer’s final walkthrough before settlement. For buyers this inspection provides move in peace of mind; they have assurance that the visible structure, components, and appliances all function as intended. This is a full home inspection and is priced accordingly. One drawback to this type of inspection is the amount of time that some problems can take to surface. If one or more roof component has been installed incorrectly for example, evidence of the ensuing leak may not show up for months. This can lead to costly repairs and headaches down the road.
The last type of new construction home inspection is the 11-month warranty inspection. Although I wouldn’t discourage anyone from having construction monitoring, of the three inspection types discussed here, the 11-month warranty may make the most sense for some people from both a practical and financial standpoint. The advantages are that after 11 months the house has had time to settle and evidence of problems may have appeared. It’s also an advantage that the home owner has had an opportunity to get to know the house. If you decide to go this route, make sure to ask the home inspection company if they have special rates for 11-month warranty inspections; most won’t. In their defense, they charge their full home inspection fee because they're doing their full home inspection, the same inspection they would do for a new buyer who doesn’t know anything about the house they’re trying to purchase. But you do know your home, you’ve lived in it for 11 months so there are many things that the inspector doesn’t have to inspect. For example, you know if your appliances work, you know if your windows go up and down smoothly, you know if your cabinets are missing hardware, and you know if your doors latch properly. You probably don't know if you have problems with your roof that only walking on it can reveal, or what's behind your electric panel cover, or if you have a moisture problem in your attic. An 11-month inspection is more collaborative than any other type of inspection.
Builders aren’t perfect, so regardless of which inspection type you choose, it’s important to have a certified professional inspector (CPI) inspect your builder’s work at some point in the process. Don’t let your builder off the hook. Make sure you get the quality home you deserve.
by Maddie Taylor
In a little over a year, Shearwater has quickly made its mark in the St. Johns County community with its reputation for its connection to nature, community engagement and desire for healthy living. Shearwater has taken the master-planned community to the next level by offering serene resort-style living with 40+ new home designs that can appeal to every preference for style, floor plan and price point.
Steve Leonhirth, who moved to Shearwater with his wife and two children last May says, “Shearwater is a kid-friendly, multi-faceted community that accommodates all ages of life. It’s not a golf community; it’s a community of unity. The trails, the interconnecting neighborhoods via pathways so you don’t have to get on main roads, the amenities center…it’s all here to connect with each other right in our own front yards.”
In addition to the world-class amenities, energetic social calendar, and outdoor adventures, it’s the neighborhoods that define the Shearwater experience. Quality home builders like David Weekley, Lennar, Richmond American Homes, Mastercraft Builder Group, D.S. Ware Homes, and Drees Homes bring their timeless style to create Florida Bungalows, Spanish Craftsmans, Coastal Traditionals, and even Florida Farmhouses. Front porches, walkways and courtyards bring neighbors together, and the varied options for colors, materials, exterior lighting, and landscaping allow residents to express their own individuality while maintaining a harmonious streetscape.
“The Shearwater development, overall, is wonderful and we really like what we are seeing. We are impressed with our builder, but overall we are very impressed with how Shearwater is laying out the whole community”, Steve adds.
Both families and couples enjoy Shearwater’s diverse home sizes, ranging from 1,637 square feet to over 4,000 square feet, with three to five bedrooms, and one- and two-story models. The Springs and North Creek neighborhoods of Shearwater have price points starting in the low $200,000’s; The Trails area of Shearwater begin in the high $300,000’s’ and The Woodlands, Shearwater’s first gated community, features homes starting in the $400,000’s.
Find Yourself at Shearwater with custom homes that fit your style, budget and lifestyle. Spend your days hiking the trails, winding down the water slide, floating down the lazy river, kayaking Trout Creek and soaking up every bit of Shearwater’s resort-style living. Shearwater resident and single father of two, Chris Easterling put it best when he said “You won’t find a better value in the Jacksonville area. From the quality homes by solid builders, to the great schools, the incredible amenities, and how close the community is to so many area activities…you can’t beat Shearwater.”
Come find out why homebuyers are favoring Shearwater over other local communities and you just might find yourself in Shearwater too.
Local Authors & Experts for St. Johns Magazine