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We're Sizzlin' Along Alabama's Gulf Coast!

(Published on - 9/18/2017 11:16:17 PM)

We’re Sizzlin’ Along Alabama’s Gulf Coast!

By all accounts, it’s been a sizzlin’ summer along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Although tourism statistics for summer visitors have yet to be released, it’s not unrealistic to predict that tourism records may be broken yet again! We do have numbers for real estate, and they’re hot, hot, hot!

In July alone, condo sales in Baldwin County were up 39% while prices rose by a whopping 59% versus July 2016. Taking a broader view, when comparing sales activity in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach between January and July 2017 versus the same period last year, the number of condos sold rose by 16% to 1024 units while the average sales price rose by nearly 15% to $351,785. The number of single family homes sold rose by 17% to 498 units while the average sales price rose by 7% to $377,506.

What’s driving the growth?

The news of our beautiful beaches continues to spread. In May and June, for example, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach were highlighted in Reader’s Digest, USA Today, Travel and Leisure, and Bon Appetit. In addition, the opening of the OWA - Amusement and Entertainment Destination gave our area added media coverage and interest.

The number of entertainment, recreation, dining and lodging options continues to grow. For example, The Big Beach Brewing Company has proven to be THE place for locals and tourists alike to enjoy home-brewed libations in an al fresco, friendly environment. The Diner right next door serves up a mean BBQ shrimp & grits and to-die-for strawberry bread pudding. A Comfort Inn is going up on Beach Boulevard just east of The Hangout, and the sophisticated Hotel Indigo is open for business in Orange Beach.

Adding to our already-stunning surroundings, the beautiful Gulf State Park continues to expand its biking/ walking trails and pedestrians will soon be able to walk or bike safely from the park directly to the beach on one of two bridges over Beach Boulevard. And, If you haven’t already, you need to check out the new beach boardwalk and green space as part of the Gulf Place Revitalization project in Gulf Shores (see photo!).

Although some would say we’ve hit the big time, we’ve been able to keep our small-town feel. Just turn off of 59 south of the bridge and you’ll feel like you’ve returned to Gulf Shores of years ago. The quaint streets, parks, tall southern pines and tucked-away homes give you a chance to catch your breath and reflect on how beautiful our community is - from its many different angles. The sister-city of Orange Beach offers similar areas of beauty, respite and old-town charm.

Let me know if I can help you find your dream vacation or retirement home along our beautiful coast. Whether you want a quiet getaway or a place in the middle of all the fun, we have it all! I can also help you sell your place! I have no doubt things will continue to sizzle!

Christine Slaughter - (251) 942-3141


2017 is buzzing right along!

(Published on - 5/18/2017 3:08:24 PM)

Historically, the month of May has been one of recuperation after spring-breakers return home and preparation for soon-to-arrive summer visitors by the millions. Yes, millions. In 2016 alone, more than 6 million people took a vacation along Alabama’s Gulf Coast and spent a total of $4.2 billion!

Although May and other “shoulder” months have provided a brief respite in the past, they are quickly becoming popular for visitors. The Hangout Festival, the NCAA Beach Volleyball championship and a host of other springtime events continue to draw an ever larger group of people to our shores. The energy is non-stop! For those seeking peace and quiet, no need to fear. A May morning on the beach remains tranquil and glorious.

Much like tourism, the energy in the local real estate market continues to buzz. According to the Alabama Center for Real Estate at the University of Alabama, condo sales in Baldwin County during the 1st quarter of this year are up 35.4% versus the same period in 2016 while the average sales price of a condo is up 13.7% at $320,013 versus an average sales price of $281,386 in 2016. The pace of home-buying has pushed condo inventory down by 19.6% versus last year and 26.3% versus five years ago! Demand is certainly pushing prices up. If you want to buy, you have to act quickly; the average number of days a condo sits on the market is down by 14.7% versus a year ago. And, if you’ve been contemplating putting your place on the market, now is the time! You can access the full report by clicking here.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, a number of new condo developments continue to rise over our landscape. In Orange Beach, the 36-story Ascension and the 35-story Grace (both pictured above) at the corner of Beach Boulevard and Highway 161 are under construction. According to the developer, they will be the second and fourth (respectively) tallest buildings in the entire state of Alabama. Ascension will consist of 200 Gulf-front units (140 four-bedroom units and 60 five-bedroom units). Size will range from 2,700 square to 3,700 square feet. Grace will consist of 76 Gulf-front condos (18 three-bedroom units, 56 four-bedroom units and  2 five-bedroom penthouses). Give me a call if you’re interested in learning more!

In Gulf Shores, the beautiful, state-of-the-art 78-unit Abaco development (above) is soon to get underway at 903 West Beach Boulevard. The only gated condo development in the city, Abaco will rise 24 stories and offer 3 bedroom & 3.5 bath units, with only 4 units per floor. Club Level units on floors 5 and 17-23 are offered with added benefits, such as preferred parking, private coded floor access (on the 5th floor), and upgraded luxury interior. Penthouses enjoy the same benefits. Prices of available units range from $750,000 to $775,000  with potential annual rental income of more than $70,000 based on similar properties. Again, give me a call as units are pre-selling quickly!

Although overall inventory is low right now, some good deals on some beautiful properties exist. Give me a call if you are interested in buying in the area or just want to get your feet wet exploring what’s available. I would be happy to show you around! In the meantime, feel free to check out my current listings at ChristineSlaughter.com. And, if you want to sell your place, now is the time! There are more buyers than available properties. Don’t let this opportunity to sell when the market is ripe pass you by!

I hope you have a terrific Spring and Summer!

Christine Slaughter

(251) 942-3141


Feel the energy in 2017!

(Published on - 3/2/2017 9:41:41 PM)

 

If you haven’t been to the Alabama Gulf Coast in a while (even a few months), you'll be surprised by all the changes since your last visit! It seems every time I drive through Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, something new appears. And, right up the road in Foley, things are booming. Everywhere you look, long-time empty commercial and residential lots are giving way to new businesses and homes. The area continues to welcome a record number of visitors, many of whom are jumping into the local real estate market. Here are just some of the highlights:

The City of Gulf Shores is not wasting any time! Workers continue to pour a new 8-foot wide sidewalk along Highway 59 from the beach north to the Intracoastal Waterway. In conjunction with the new sidewalk, phase one of a new pedestrian bridge on the east side of Highway 59 near Bayou Village (across the street from The Original Oyster House) is scheduled to open this summer. All of these upgrades are part of Gulf Shore’s master plan to provide a safer and more  pleasant walking and bicycling environment.

Along the beach, the city’s $15 million Gulf Place revitalization project (above) is well underway just west of the 59 and Beach Boulevard intersection. As part of the first phase to be completed by May 1, new beachfront boardwalks, parking and landscaping are now visible. Long-known as the Gulf Beach District, this revitalized area will provide ample green-space for families to enjoy the city’s biggest asset! Visit gulfshoresal.gov for more information.

As a sure sign of housing demand, Gulf Shores just approved a site plan for Marbella (or “beautiful sea”), a three-story, 96 unit apartment complex at 1901 E. 1st. Street. The project will include a pool and clubhouse and will be located behind Uptown Plaza on E. 20th Avenue. For you investors, rental property is needed!

It’s impossible to miss the Gulf State Park restoration project on the beach as you head east  toward Orange Beach. Expected to be completed in 2018, The Lodge at Gulf State Park (above) will replace the lodge destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The lodge is part of a 20-year franchise agreement with Hilton Hotels and will include a conference center, education center, interpretive center, five miles of new trails and dune restoration. A pedestrian bridge over the beach road connecting the north side of our beautiful state park to the planned interpretive center just west of the existing Saltwater Pavilion is also in the works. Visit mygulfstatepark.com for more information.

As you head into Orange Beach, you’ll see quite a bit of activity,  including road upgrades at the corner of Beach Boulevard and Highway 161 to improve traffic flow. At that intersection, two luxury condo developments (the tallest along the Gulf Coast!) with 600 feet of beach frontage are now in the pre-construction phase (above). The 36-story Ascension will have four- and five-bedroom units while the 35-story Grace will have three-and four bedroom unit. In total, 278 units will be available for purchase. Interested? Give me a call!

Not to be overlooked, the soon-to-open, 520-acre mega entertainment district OWA (above) on the Foley Beach Expressway is fueling lots of excitement and anticipation. As part of phase one, an amusement park will open this summer with 21 rides, a hotel and retail shops. The second phase will have additional hotels, a waterpark, condos and an RV park, and more. Viewed as an affordable alternative to Disney or Universal Studies, the $500 million OWA (or “big water”) venue will generate approximately 3,500 construction and onsite jobs (think potential homeowners and renters) and millions in tax revenue.

Last year, I encouraged my clients to “Catch the Wave” in real estate. Tight inventory helped sellers move their homes while rising prices, low interest rates and readily-available mortgage loans meant buyers had to act quickly. 2017 is no different.

Wikipedia defines a wave as an “oscillation accompanied by a transfer of energy.” Well, the real estate wave continues to build, and the positive energy moving through the local economy shows few signs of ebbing. Simply put, people want to live or have a second home here. If you want to sell, buy or invest in real estate to take advantage of this energy, now is the time.

Come, feel the energy in 2017!

Christine Slaughter

(251) 942-3141

 

Photos courtesy of City of Gulf Shores, Gulf State Park, GCOF & OWA.


Summer has passed but real estate remains hot! Time to list your home?

(Published on - 10/7/2016 12:38:36 AM)



Summer has passed but real estate remains hot!

Time to List your Home?

This time of year is one of my favorites. The summer heat is beginning to give way to some cooler air, the roads are a bit quieter and the water is as beautiful as ever. Many businesses are now gearing up for the soon-to-arrive snowbird season while taking a collective deep breath after an amazing summer - thankful for a strong and growing local economy. 

In the case of real estate, things are equally bright. According to the Alabama Center for Real Estate at the University of Alabama, condo sales in Baldwin County jumped a whopping 21.2 percent in August 2016 versus August 2015. In total, 143 condos sold versus 118 during the same month last year. The average sales price of a condo was $346,201, a 27.5 percent increase from August 2015's average sales price of $271,621. At the same time, the number of condos for sale dropped by nearly 15 percent compared to August 2015 as buyers swooped in to pick up their piece of paradise.

Single-family home sales across Baldwin County show similar signs of rising demand and prices. Sales in August 2016 were up 19.86% versus August 2015 and up 3.38% year-to-date versus 2016. The average sales price rose 18 percent to $289,075 in August 2016 versus $244,902 for the same month last year.

With demand showing no signs of letting up, now is the time to list your condo or home for sale. If you’ve been contemplating putting your home on the market, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Buyers are waiting! Although the summer has passed, real estate remains hot! If you would like assistance in prepping your home and listing it, please give me a call at (251) 942-3141.  


July 2016 Real Estate Update (Plus some great upcoming events!)

(Published on - 9/7/2016 2:30:50 PM)

July 2016 Real Estate Update
(Plus some great upcoming events!)

Summer is winding down along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Many visitors have headed home after Labor Day as another school year gets underway. It’s been a great summer here in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. According to the Alabama Tourism Department, the number of visitors (including international travelers) to the state is on track for a fifth record year. Our beautiful beaches are one of the main attractions!

Sightly more than 6 million visitors put their toes in our soft sparkling sand in 2015, up from 5.7 million in 2014, and spent an estimated $3.9 billion (versus $3.5 billion in 2014). Although overall tourism figures are not yet out for 2016, hotel occupancy rates during the summer months are trending upwards over last year. This growth continues to drive our local real estate market. 

According to the Alabama Center for Real Estate at the University of Alabama, condo sales in Baldwin County this July were up 2.8 percent versus July 2015. Conversely, condo inventory dropped by 8 percent. The average sales price of a condo rose to $327,809 from $291,926, an increase of 12.3 percent. Overall, 823 condos sold through the second quarter of 2016, outpacing forecasted sales by nearly 4 percent. Condo sales in Baldwin County parallel the overall demand for real estate in Alabama, which saw home sales through July grow by 6 percent versus last year.

While we anticipate a slowdown in activity as the fall season approaches, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have lots of great events on tap to attract visitors (and potential home buyers!).

Here is just a sampling of what’s in store:

September 10: Brett Robinson Alabama Coastal Triathlon, Gulf Shores

The Hangout in Gulf Shores will host for the 8th year in-a-row this swim, bike and race event. You can choose to do the Intermediate Triathlon (1.5K Swim/40K Bike/10K Run) or its smaller version, the Coastal Tri-It-On (300yd Swim/10mi Bike/2 mi Run). Or, just come on down to the end of 59 to cheer on the athletes! To learn more, visit team-magic.com.

September 15-17: Wharf Uncorked Food & Wine Festival, Orange Beach

In support of Make-A-Wish Alabama, this premier event gives you the opportunity to sample dishes from well-known chefs as well as 150+ fine wines! Chefs include some of our very own, including Chef Brody Olive from the Perdido Beach Beach Resort and Chef Chris Sherrill from the Flora Bama Yacht Club as well as two-time Chopped champion, James Brisione. Visit thewharfuncorked.com.

September 17: The 28th Annual Alabama Coast Cleanup

Help clean our coastlines by becoming a cleanup volunteer! Cleanup runs from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Visit alabamacoastalcleanup.com.

September 22-25: 2016 Alabama Tri Level Tennis State Championship, Gulf Shores

Tri Level Champion teams from the twelve local leagues will be invited to compete in the championship. More than 650 players are expected. In addition, two more tournaments (including the Mayors Cup) will take place in October and November. If you are interested in advertising your business during all three tournaments, give me a call at 251-942-3141. (Besides real estate, tennis is my other passion!)

October 8: 5th Annual Alabama Festival of Flavor 2016, Foley

Sponsored by Riviera Utilities, this popular event will showcase local and regional foods from food trucks and renowned chefs in the heart of historic downtown Foley. Buy your sampling tickets online today to get a discount! Visit alabamafestivalofflavor.com.

October 13-16: 45th Annual National Shrimp Festival, Gulf Shores

The big daddy of them all! This four-day event offers up a wide array of terrific shrimp delights plus live music and activities for the kids! Come find out why this is one of the top-rated events in the South! Visit myshrimpfest.com.

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Christine Slaughter is an associate real estate broker with Realty Executives of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Originally from Australia (she moved to Alabama’s stunning coast nearly 30 years ago), her love of the sand, sun and seafood are deeply-rooted in her soul. 

If you are looking to buy or sell along the Alabama coast (or Florida), you can reach Christine directly at (251) 942-3141 or email her at Christine@ChristineSlaughter.com. 

Be sure to follow Christine online at ChristineSlaughter.com,on Twitter@ChristinesCoast or Facebook at ChristineSlaughterRealtor. 

Click here to read what clients are saying about Christine!

 

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