“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once.” – Paulo Coelho
It has been said that time is nature’s way of preventing everything from happening all at once. If this is true then time has been on our side as it relates to real estate on the Gulf Coast. As we reflect back on 2016, we saw another year of sound expansion across the board putting us in an enviable position. Since our nation began to rise from the ashes caused by the Great Recession, we have witnessed different markets recuperate at diverse paces. Some of the bigger metropolitan areas enjoyed accelerated recoveries that have resulted in values never seen before, but our market could once again be described as the little engine that could. Although it doesn’t typically steal the headlines, slow and steady does have its benefits over the long run.
As we sit today, over eight years into a recovery, many markets have either lost their momentum or see the writing on the wall that a slowdown looms over the horizon. Coastal Alabama on the other hand has yet to fully hit its stride. We have significantly more runway than other parts of the country given all of the positive things taking place in our area, whether it be sizeable real estate developments across all asset classes, meaningful job creators, record tourism numbers or the macro trend of the baby boomer generation aggressively pursuing retirement locations in the south that offer a high quality of life at a low cost of living. As a testament to our appeal to the outside world, of the 213 homes sold by Truland Homes last year, 29.11% were from out of state and another 13.15% were from beyond Baldwin or Mobile County. There were 7,536 permits issued in 2016 across the entire Gulf Coast, which is comprised of the eight counties spanning from Mobile County, Alabama east to Gulf County, Florida. In order to offer some perspective, 16,215 were pulled in 2005, and the average from 1997 to 2004 was 11,113 annually. This statistic alone bolsters the argument that this cycle should extend longer than in prior instances.
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