PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – It’s a problem happening all across the country: smaller towns, usually vacation spots, are seeing a change in demographics. Locally, more people are wanting to move to Panama City Beach, driving prices up, and driving locals out.
“Prices are escalating because people are willing to pay for that and that is a market economy. It’s called supply and demand. It affects every product in every commodity everywhere,” American Realty Of Bay County owner Tony Viejo said.
The term “pricing out locals” is an all too familiar saying for people in Panama City Beach.
“We’ve seen prices go up at such a rate that people who have been living here for a long time really can’t keep up,” Counts Real Estate Group realtor Oliver Pettis said.
A rate skyrocketing as more people from out of town look to call the Panhandle their home.
“Coming in from bigger cities, other states like New York, California. They’re moving to areas like this that are a lot more affordable to them, but for areas like this it’s kind of unprecedented,” said Pettis.
Local realtors said it has a lot to do with people buying second homes, or what they dub investment homes.
“They’ll turn around and kick out the tenant and find someone who’s willing to pay double. Or, maybe turn it over to the vacation rental market where they see really good returns,” said Pettis.
And paying double, or even triple is the price of our supply and demand market.
“I’ve sold houses here for $79,000 that are now selling for $379,000. That’s because people are willing to pay for that,” said Viejo.
But it’s a price local workers aren’t willing to pay, forcing them to move to more affordable areas.
“There’s plenty of inventory outside of Panama City Beach where people can live and travel to work in Panama City Beach,” said Viejo.
But even commuting to work on the beach poses other issues.
“With gas prices going up, it’s becoming a lot more challenging. You’re starting to see that even if they do move further out, at what cost? It ends up not really being worth keeping that same job,” said Pettis.
Challenges that locals and out-of-towners alike will have to work through to call the world’s most beautiful beaches their home.
Realtors also tell us their clients are hoping the prices of homes will start to decrease, however, they don’t have any indication that will happen anytime soon.
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