Low interest rates and an influx of residents from the Northeast and California have helped several Ponte Vedra real estate agents make 2020 the best year of their careers.
Agents who sold the area’s most expensive homes in 2020 said they are seeing more new buyers in the area than ever before. Many are from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, DC, and California.
“People are moving from urban areas to smaller communities because of COVID concerns,” said Elizabeth Hudgins, a realtor at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Atlantic Beach.
“We have no state income taxes. Now that you can live anywhere, why not live in a warm climate? That attracts a lot of people. “
Hudgins sold the second tallest house of 2020 by price at 1193 Ponte Vedra Blvd. for $ 7.6 million and the fourth highest sale of the year on the street at 1197 Ponte Vedra Blvd. for $ 7.25 million. She has been a real estate agent in Northeast Florida for more than 30 years.
Hudgins said Ponte Vedra and the beaches, especially oceanfront properties, were in high demand.
Justin Lott, team leader for the Justin Lott Home Selling Team, said the pandemic caused people to want more square feet for uses like a home office, home school room or gym.
“At the beginning of 2020 there were a lot of people who were quarantined and found they didn’t like their home and didn’t like their belongings,” Lott said. “They really wanted to improve their property or their lifestyle.”
Lott represented the buyer at the sixth highest home sale of 2020 at 465 Beach Ave. in Atlantic Beach for $ 6.7 million, Duval County’s only top 10 property.
Ponte Vedra buyers were also looking for properties by the sea, a lower-density neighborhood with fun outdoor spaces. Pools are high on the list of potential buyers, Lott said.
Low interest rates and Florida’s lack of income tax made moving to the region even more attractive.
“The beaches were a huge benefactor of it,” Lott said.
Prior to the pandemic, the Ponte Vedra location in the St. Johns County’s school district was one of the most appealing options. Now people are interested in the lifestyle the area offers, said Jonathan Young, the owner of Blackstone Real Estate.
Young said his 2020 sales were 26% higher than 2019. He sold 1217 Ponte Vedra Blvd. the top home sale of the year for $ 7.67 million.
With a low inventory of homes for sale, Young said, offers are hard to come by for both realtors and buyers.
To some extent, Ponte Vedra is always a low-stock market because there are only so many high-end homes. This was only compounded by the increased interest in the region.
“It’s certainly more competitive to get the deals,” said Young. “If you represent a buyer, it is difficult to get him the property just listed.”
That could change in a few months as more people get vaccinated and life returns to normal, Hudgins said.
“As the year progresses, people will be more comfortable getting their homes on the market,” she said.
Because of low inventory levels, high-end homes, which typically could take more than a year to sell, move faster, said Tricia Bowers of Marsh Landing Country Club Realty. Your sale at 733 Ponte Vedra Blvd. sold for $ 7.395 million in six months. It was the third highest sale of the year.
“The market just picked up there,” she said. “There was a lot that was sold during that period.”
Spring and summer are usually the busiest real estate agents in northeast Florida. While sales were slower in 2020, there were lots of sales in the winter.
“We were inundated with business over the holidays, while we saw some slowdown in 2019, 2018 and 2017,” Lott said. “Real estate agents can take a little vacation. Not in 2020. We had Christmas off and then went back to work. I think it will stay that way until 2021. “