Thursday, November 27, 2008


Before I start, Happy Thanksgiving to All. As we have seen, the real estate market has had some ups and downs. But, as I have been conveying to you, the Northwest Florida market is prime for a number of opportunities. Some of them are;

1) The Military BRAC decision, which is moving thousand of military personnel to the area, along with some unique Defense Programs that brings additional Defense Contracting personnel.
2) The new International Airport in Panama City (See below and other Blog entries).
3) The new Research Campus outside the gates of Eglin Air Force Base.
4) Florida A&M University decision to move a Campus with four degree programs to the downtown district of Crestview, Florida.
5) The modernization of the Crestview Industrial Airport on the north side of town, which employs thousands of jobs, which plans to add thousands more. Thanks to the State of Florida by giving Okaloosa County millions of dollars for improvements and placing it in an "Florida Enterprise Zone". It should be noted, this airport is one of the most unique in the South and will attract a number of Defense Contractors and Non-Defense Contractors, alike.
6) The Privatization of Military Housing, which is reducing the number of homes by over a thousand and relying on the local community to absorb the need. This iniatitive is the desire of the military, which is to reduce their housing inventory and empower the service personnel to use their Basic Allowance of Housing and let them make their on choices. This is a more cost effective way of meeting the needs of the uniform personnel. Note: I am a former Military Housing Director for the South United States.
7) A new Military Resort on the Beaches of Fort Walton Beach. Request for Qualification has already to sent out.
8) A new Lifestyle Center for shopping (Replacing the Exchange and Commissary on Base)outside the gates of Eglin AFB for both active duty and retired personnel. Eglin AFB was named one of the first to have such a Lifestyle Center built. Request for Proposal to be released shortly.
9) And so much more.

So, continue to stay tuned. Their is more on the way. The I-10 corridor is a very unique area from Mobile, AL to Jacksonville, FL, with Okaloosa/Walton County being in the middle of it all. I am always ready to talk in detail, just give me a call at 1-888-389-3665.

A shorter runway may be added to new airport
5,000-foot span would relieve flight traffic
By PAT KELLY Florida Freedom Newspapers (850) 747-5076

PANAMA CITY — The Panama City-Bay County Airport Authority has set a Dec. 19 deadline to a vote on what Chairman Joe Tannehill calls “the last piece of the puzzle” for the international airport under construction. The hope is to add a 5,000-foot crosswind runway that will handle smaller aircraft and make traffic less congested on the 10,000-foot concrete runway now being built. Tannehill said Airport Authority members want to move forward so the smaller runway can be completed by the airport’s opening in May 2010. The shorter asphalt runway will be used by smaller commercial aircraft and corporate jets. That adds a crucial safety factor that pilots of larger international flights should find comforting, Tannehill said. Completion of the crosswind runway is not necessary for the $318 million airport to open in May 2010, “but we are trying to get the runway down with the money we now have available,” he said. The asphalt runway should cost about $18 million, far less than the $98 million runway that will handle heavier aircraft and last up to 40 years. The Airport Authority should have the money for the second runway, Tannehill said. The airport is $17 million under budget and there is about $17 million in untapped contingency funds. Another reason for the Dec. 19 deadline is that Phoenix Construction Services is about 55 percent finished with the longer runway. The company will move some of its equipment from the site within 60 days, Tannehill said. If the crosswind runway decision is delayed and Phoenix is forced to move equipment back to the site, the runway’s cost could increase.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Construction on Hwy 331 just South of Freeport Begins

This is just another step in meeting the continuing growth of the Freeport and the surrounding area. I believe the Freeport area is on the move with the additional highway section of Hwy 331, planned Publix's Grocery store, and the completion of the new international airport on the horizon. Stay tuned, more to follow.

U.S. 331 widening to begin
The $10.4 million project, to start next month, is expected to ease hurricane evacuations in South Walton County
By KIMBERLY WHITE Florida Freedom Newspapers 654-6905, Ext. 244

SANTA ROSA BEACH — Construction crews are expected to begin widening U.S. Highway 331 from the Clyde B. Wells Bridge to U.S. Highway 98 next month. Workers recently finished clearing vegetation along the stretch and are laying new drainage pipes, said a representative of C.W. Roberts Contracting. The $10.4 million project — which includes new traffic signals, sidewalks and bicycle lanes — is expected to be completed in 2010, said Tommie Speights, district spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation. No major traffic delays are expected because construction will be done off the road, he said. The work is part of a multiphased project that Walton County commissioners say will boost economic development and provide a better hurricane evacuation route. County commissioners want U.S. 331 to be widened to Interstate 10, including widening the Clyde B. Wells Bridge to four lanes. But Speights said it’s not clear if or when funding will be available. The DOT “works off of a five-year work program, and right now construction is not in the five-year work program,” he said. In October, commissioners met with Florida Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Kopelousos to make their case for the project. Speights said he has not heard back on the status of their request

Sunday, November 23, 2008


The Army is coming. The Army is coming. One of the final hurdles is completed and the troops are on their way. Infrastructure is either being planned or all ready being started. This is great news for the Crestview and surrounding area. The below was a story released on Saturday, November 22, 2008.

7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) to have new home west of Duke Field
By MONA MOORE Florida Freedom Newspapers 315-4443

EGLIN AFB — The Air Force signed a Record of Decision on Thursday to bring the Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) to Eglin Air Force Base as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure changes. An area four miles west of Duke Field will be the Army unit’s home. The 500-acre area spans from Duck Pond on the west to Gopher Creek on the east. With easy access to Duke Field for frequent deployments and room for expansion, the locations for the range and base were Eglin’s preferred choices. The 7th Special Forces Group’s base will include operations and maintenance facilities, a dining area and facilities for munitions storage and loading. The base will have dormitories but will not include family housing. The range will be a 10-minute drive or 30-minute walk from the Army base. Noise also played a factor in the decision. The location is outside Duke and Eglin’s 65-decibel average noise level area. That is important because many of the soldiers sleep during the day when air operations at Eglin are at the highest, Kathleen Ferguson, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, said Friday during a teleconference with media. Col. Bruce McClintock, commander of the 96th Air Base Wing, said the Record of Decision for the realignment of the Special Forces Group was the highlight of the day. “It’s just the next step for Eglin to become a premier installation,” he said. Construction of the dorms and compound will start in 2009. The cost will be $382 million. The Army will begin moving 2,200 soldiers and 4,600 family members from Fort Bragg, N.C., to Eglin in late spring. Relocations will continue through 2011.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


They are coming and they are buying homes. Are we ready? Where are they buying? Do we have enough quality homes available in our area? What does the customer want? All great questions. The news is good and I expect it will get better in our area. The key is quality homes available and the demand for those quality built homes. Supply and demand of quality homes. It is that simple. The below is some great news for the future and something we will all be watching closely.

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 18, 2008 – Sales of existing single-family homes in Florida rose 5 percent in third quarter 2008 compared to the same period last year, according to the latest housing statistics from the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR). A total of 33,203 existing homes sold statewide in 3Q 2008; during the same period last year, a total of 31,558 existing homes sold statewide. “Coming on the heels of positive sales activity in September, Florida’s existing home sales are once again above year-ago levels in the third quarter,” says 2008 FAR President Chuck Bonfiglio. “Despite lending restrictions and the difficulties of finding affordable credit, we’re seeing buyers take advantage of homeownership opportunities in the current market – buyers who want to make a long-term investment in their future. And, more than ever, people are turning to Florida Realtors to find the professional expertise, knowledge and friendly guidance they need to make the complex process of buying or selling their home go more easily and smoothly.”The statewide existing-home median sales price was $185,400 in the third quarter; a year ago, it was $233,200 for a decrease of 20 percent. In 2003, the third-quarter statewide median sales price was $163,700, which reflects an increase of about 13.3 percent over the five-year period. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.Twelve of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased sales of existing homes in the third quarter compared to the same three-month-period a year ago, while seven MSAs also showed gains in condo sales. A number of local markets have reported increased sales activity over the past few months, according to FAR.Florida Realtors continued to report positive signs for the state’s housing sector in the third quarter, including an increase in pending home sales (based on contracts signed but not closed) and a slower rate of expansion of inventory levels in some areas.To gain insight into current trends in Florida’s real estate industry, the University of Florida’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies conducts a quarterly survey of industry executives, market research economists, real estate scholars and other experts. According to the third quarter 2008 survey, the investment outlook for various types of properties remains steady. “People who have responded to our surveys have not lost their faith in Florida as a place to be and a place to invest,” said Dr. Wayne Archer, director of UF’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. “We have 40 pages of comments from our respondents, and although the dominant theme is the disruption of financing, perhaps the second theme, as one person put it, is people being on the sidelines with full pads and helmets just waiting to jump back in.”Over the long term, Florida stands to benefit from the migration of new residents, particularly as baby boomers age, Archer said, adding that the Sunshine State’s mild climate and outdoor amenities continue to make it an attractive retirement destination.In the year-to-year quarterly comparison for condo sales, 9,472 units sold statewide for the quarter compared to 9,680 in 3Q 2007 for a 2 percent decrease. The statewide existing-condo median sales price was $160,000 for the three-month period; in 3Q 2007, it was $196,000 for an 18 percent decrease.Continuing low mortgage rates remain another favorable influence on the housing sector. According to Freddie Mac, the national commitment rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.32 percent in third quarter 2008; one year earlier, it averaged 6.55 percent.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Planned Natural Gas Line to Cross Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton Counties

Local municipalities taking the steps to meet the demands of the major growth coming to the Panhandle of Florida. Great job to all concern. I hope this news gets widely disseminated to demonstrate the committment by our local governments to think ahead. But don't stop hear, the word on the street is the folks coming are looking for more, such as, better housing, shopping, medical care, and much more.

Planned natural gas line to cross Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton
When completed, it will bring 820 million more cubic feet of natural gas to Florida
By DUSTY RICKETTS Florida Freedom Newspapers 315-4448
Florida’s portion of a 5,000-mile natural gas pipeline across five states could soon undergo a $2.45 billion expansion. Florida Gas Transmission Co. filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission late last month to add 483 miles of pipe in the state to increase the amount of natural gas that can be provided. The project would include laying an additional pipeline in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties. “The population continues to increase and the need for additional power continues to grow as people have more computers and more televisions, and those things stay on all the time,” said John Barnett, director of external affairs for the Southern Union Co., part owner of Florida Gas Transmission. “About 85 percent of the natural gas that gets consumed in Florida is used to generate electricity. Most of our customers are local utility companies.” Florida Gas Transmission hopes to start construction in early 2010. Barnett said the company hopes the new pipeline is up and running by the spring of 2011. Construction is not expected to interfere with existing pipelines. The pipeline runs from south Texas across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. It delivers 2.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. The proposed extension would would pump an additional 820 million cubic feet of natural gas to Florida daily. Much of the extra gas — 400 million cubic feet — will be used by Florida Power and Light for new power plants, Barnett said. “We do project that Florida will need that amount of gas,” he said. Utility companies already have reserved about 90 percent of the additional fuel. In addition to building the new pipeline in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties, a compressor station in Santa Rosa will be upgraded.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


GO GREEN!!!!!!!! It is the right thing to do.

Study says: 48% of homeowners would spend $2,500 or more to green up for resale

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Nov. 6, 2008 – A Better Homes and Gardens survey conducted at home shows in 15 cities across the country gauging consumer environmental practices suggests that many Americans are going green when it comes to their homes. Despite “cost” being singled out by 36 percent of respondents as the greatest impediment to going green, half of those surveyed have paid more money for an energy efficient product in the past 12 months and one in three homeowners (30 percent) claim they would be willing to spend $5,000 or more on green improvements to increase a home’s appeal to potential buyers.The findings are the result of the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Living Green Consumer Survey, which looked at responses from over 2,300 consumers. The results are being announced as a part of the Better Homes and Gardens and Green Works Living Green Tour finale – the culmination of an eight-month, 15-city tour promoting healthy and environmentally friendly living. Launched in February 2008 by Better Homes and Gardens magazine and Green Works Natural Cleaners, the tour featured a 2,500 square-foot Living Green Home, which showcased how small changes can impact the energy efficiency of everyday homes.“As their environmental awareness grows, American homeowners are beginning to take action on green issues and are willing to spend their money accordingly,” explained Sherry Chris, president and CEO, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “These survey results confirm homeowners are identifying greater value in green and when the time comes to sell their homes, they will look to convert high consumer awareness levels on the green issue into a market differentiator.”Additional survey findings revealed that 82 percent of respondents believe they are informed when it comes to issues pertaining to the environment. When preparing to buy or sell a home, more than half of those surveyed (51 percent) believe in the importance of working with a green certified real estate agent – professionals who can assist in the identification and marketing of homes with high green quotient. This would include knowledge in regards to housing materials and construction, energy efficient appliances and systems, as well as the impact of landscaping on a home’s environmental footprint. In the cities of Hartford, Conn., Greenville, S.C., and San Francisco, two out of three respondents indicated that working with a green agent would be important.Some of the other factors keeping survey respondents from being greener included convenience, 22 percent; lack of knowledge on how to, 18 percent; and lack of time, 17 percent. However, many consumers reported engaging in “eco-friendly’ or “green” acts in the past six months, including recycling, 73 percent; replacing incandescent lights with CFLs, 69 percent; conserving water, 57 percent; adjusting the thermostat, 51 percent; and purchasing energy efficient appliances, 30 percent.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Privatization of Military Housing is at a snail 's pace. But this is not bad for the local building industry. I had the opportunity to have breakfast with the leadership of Eglin AFB this morning and asked the question. What is the status of Privatization of Military Housing at Eglin? The answer was, it is on hold. What does this mean? Well the Air Force continues to demolish housing in preparation of the contract, which means the supply of housing continues to be reduced and the mandatory assignment process has been removed to make way for Privatization of Military Housing Contract. With this being said, new military members will be given their Basic Allowance for Housing and will be looking for a home to live in. If anybody has any questions, just give me a call. NOTE: First preference of the military is to give their servicemembers their housing entitlement and let them make their housing choice.