5 Reasons to Love/Hate 2010 Spring Break

It’s that wonderful time of year when students from all over the country head south for Panama City’s white sandy beaches, to have a great time with friends and to party, party, party. It is the perfect destination for the breakers. But for locals, Spring Break is the most polarizing event on PCB. Some love it, some hate it; so we decided to put together a list of what we love or hate about the wild and crazy event. So, here goes nothing.

Hate:

Traffic/Scooters

As you know, traffic during spring break is awful. That bad traffic isn’t exclusive to the streets and the zillions of colorful scooters zooming across lanes of traffic. Traffic is in every department store, every gas line, every restaurant and every bathroom on the beach. The depth of annoyance can only be described in the brilliant words of Brandon, a 2009 spring breaker from  Athens, “Man, this sucks” Yes, Brandon, it does indeed. Continue reading “5 Reasons to Love/Hate 2010 Spring Break”

Toll From Montgomery to Panama City to be public road

In the Moulton Advertiser it was reported that the toll road to travel between Montgomery and Panama City may revert to public ownership once the toll fees pay off the cost to construct. The road would be constructed and operated by a non-profit organization.

As reported, Luthor Strange, a Birmingham lawyer is pushing the project in hopes of seeing it come to fruition. He represents Focus 2000 of the Wiregrass, an organization that is made up of potential investors and local officials and businessmen in SE Alabama.

Strange beleives that there is a way to construct the highway by using public and private resources, although there is no federal or state funding available for this project.

Continue reading “Toll From Montgomery to Panama City to be public road”

City Pier at Pier Park is under construction (video)

Both the City Pier and the County Pier are due for an overhaul with construction already underway at the City Pier, across the street from Pier Park. The County Pier is located in between Alf Coleman Road and Lyndell Lane on Front Beach Road.

Check out more pictures and the video by clicking the “more” link.

Continue reading “City Pier at Pier Park is under construction (video)”

Panama City Airport Relocation Update

With the stay lifted, construction is heavy underway again with main runways and taxi-ways to be completed in 2008 and the terminal to be complete in 2009.  The new airport is still slated to open mid 2010.

All sounds good with the exception of another suit being brought against The Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service claiming that the 404 Permit issued for the relocation was not legitimate.

Continue reading “Panama City Airport Relocation Update”

Amendment 1 Q&A with Jimmy Patronis

Now that Amendment 1 was passed, what does it mean for us. Representative Jimmy Patronis sent out an email explaining some of the common questions that keep coming up. Representative Patronis, I appreciate you being proactive in addressing these questions.

Q: When will the changes from Amendment 1 show up on tax bills?

A: For those who are eligible, benefits from portability, the additional homestead exemption and the $25,000 exemption for tangible personal property will start showing up on 2008 tax bills.

Continue reading “Amendment 1 Q&A with Jimmy Patronis”

Airport Relocation on the Radio

Burnie Thompson, a local radio talk show host discussed the airport relocation on Thursday’s show.  I received an email from him on Thursday evening that he would be discussing this topic with various parties involved in the relocation the first part of next week.  He is on Talk Radio 101.1 FM.

I heard little opposition on the show on Thursday from callers, and the opposition I did hear, the arguments were weak at best.

One of the callers mentioned that if we took all the people that drove from Panama City to Tallahassee, Ft. Walton, Pensacola, Dothan, and Montgomery to fly and flew them our of PFN, the existing facility would not be able to handle it.  Another caller mentioned that the non-binding referendum that the opposition touts as overwhelming proof that the public does NOT want the airport to be relocated was held during a Democratic Primary and that overwhelming number was really only 60%.  Can anyone confirm this?

So, anyways.  Burnie keeps all his shows for the past week available on his website and you can hear them by clicking here.

5 Year Home Price Projections – Positive or Negative?

This month in Fortune Magazine there was a great article speaking into the current condition of the real estate market, what happened to start the boom, what happened as the boom became less boomy, and how it is affecting people now.

In a previous post I talked about how in the beginning when money was easy to get and real estate was cheap, there was way more demand for the supply; this started the boom (or more, frenzy). As people saw their friends and neighbors selling property for more and quicker AND after bidding wars, the frenzy grew. “Buy now, buy everything, double the price and sell tomorrow!” Well, everyone I knew in the “biz” agreed that that couldn’t last forever, but had no idea when it would settle down. Just when you thought an unbeatable record was set, it was broken as well.

Fast foward to today. Taxes and insurance is up, interest rates are up from a couple of years ago and the subprime mortgage market has just recently gone through a meltdown. Real estate is not as easy to purchase as it once was, so the demand is down. Develpers couldn’t slow their building train down quick enough so new home inventories are way up. Property owners have mortgages payments they can’t afford because they bought a little too much home with low teaser rates and high hopes that the future appreciation would bring profits to make the risk worth taking.

Fortune Magazine’s Shawn Tully couldn’t have picked a better time for this story. He discusses that through calaboration with Moody’s Economy.com they were able to project the 5 year outcome of our current real estate market conditions based on history of average annual rent increases, annual property value increases and their correlation with each other.

He explains that there has always been a direct correlation between property values and the average rental rate for similar properties. This makes sense, right? Why would you purchase a home when it costs substantially less to rent? The prospect of future appreciation is not reasonable right now. Sure it is nice to own your own home. If you want to move a tree in the front yard, or if you want to update the inside, you don’t have to ask permission. But is it ‘pay twice as much a month’ worth it?

According to their findings, they estimate an average fall in prices nationwide over the next 5 years to be around 28%. Of course, not all markets will see a decrease. Areas like Dallas and Houston (1.3%), Detroit (6.9%), Indianapolis (7.3%) and Cleveland (9.6%) never really got a taste of the boom, nor experienced radical price valuation increases and thus have positive projections. However, cities such as Orlando (-34.2%), Miami (-32.2%), Sacramento (-26.1%), and Las Vegas (-26.3%) experienced such rapid value growth that the 5 year adjustment is negative.

Projections are based on a 15 year history of the property value/rent correlation. For us to get back to reality with regards to the real estate market on a national scale, the gap between property values and market rent rates needs to close.

The entire article: click here.

As you’ve heard me say in the past, real estate is very local and regional in nature. In Panama City Beach, I’ve always thought we were a little ahead of the national market with regards to market conditions. I feel that prices were shooting up here before many of the larger markets, and the correction began sooner here then it did in many of the local markets. Don’t get me wrong, I still think we are going through a correction period, but we’ve come a long way. Not to mention all the future economic development that is slated for our area over the next five years. The Airport relocation can do mounds for our area in putting us on the map and seeding growth and opportunity. It will open this market up to many who just couldn’t rationalize spending the money and going through the effort it takes to get here.

The airport will be great and our area will be awesome in 5 years. The CRA will be done, Pier Park will be very well established and we should have planes coming in from all over the country and hopefully a few big corporations’ headquarters here.