People Are Worried About Us Real Estate Agents...

I’ve noticed a pattern – a couple of times a week, whether I’m just out and about our with my friends at the Mid-Bay Rotary Club, something happens. Someone who knows I’m in real estate will come up to me and want to talk about the market.

That’s pretty normal. But, lately, those friends have approached me with a look on their faces that tells me they think that my dog has died or that I’m a Florida State fan who just found out about the college football playoff. By the way, I know nothing about college football and had to ask for help writing this quip. 
After a pat on the shoulder or a ‘how ya doing bud?’ They ask me about the local real estate market – expecting a dismal answer. After all, the prevailing wisdom says that ‘the market is bad right now.’
But, business is good – things are looking up more generally, too. Here’s why:

The Golden Age

Just a couple of years ago, plenty of us refinanced our mortgages for a steal of a deal – somewhere in the two percentage point area. 

So, plenty of my friends bring this up and ask if it’s hurting the market more generally because no one wants to move to keep their rate. 

They are right in the sense there are some people who won’t sell to upgrade or downsize because of their incredibly low rate. 

But, buyers and sellers have stayed around, especially in this military PCS-Driven market. 

Long story short, it’s been slower the last year or so – but not so much that there is an existential crisis for all real estate agents in the area. 

Add in a couple of changes from the fed on the interest rates and some other factors affecting our local market – and house keys have begun to change hands with more frequency than four or five months ago. 

Fifty homes sold in November of this year in Niceville and Valparaiso, while 42 sold over the same period last year. 

That’s a 20% increase in sales. 

Days on the market were about a week apart, and the sales price ratio to list price was 99% in 2023 versus 97% in 2022.

Don't Panic: It's Getting Better For Buyers And Sellers

The average sales price in November of this year was $549,000, up four percent compared to November sales of 2022 and up six percent from last month. 

But, these sales price increases are taking place just as mortgage rates hit their highest level since November of 2000- 23 years ago! 

Last year, sellers adjusted their prices lower by about $12,000 on average. This decrease allowed the realtor to reposition the home on the market and sell it so people could move or get a home that fits their present needs better. 


That $12,000 number is only an average, as many homes made no adjustments. Several homes made price increases. 

This year, the average market adjustment for home prices was about $8,000. None were increases.

Buyers are getting more deals to come to the closing table, in the form of previous owners making more repairs to their homes to make the house a better deal for a prospective buyer. 

With the continuous downward adjustment of interest rates, the home value increase will deter fewer potential homebuyers as if the prices had stayed flat. 

It’s a very rare win-win for buyers and sellers. 

So What Should A Buyer or Seller Do?

The average sales price in November of 2000 was $172,000 – which means if you bought the average house when Furbys were still a thing – you’d have seen a 220% increase in the price of your house, despite the nail holes in the walls and that one cracked piece of crown molding your mother-in-law will point out to you during Christmas Dinner.

During that time, we have experienced record low interest rates and averages, implying that buying in 2000 at peak rates for that time would have yielded you the ability to refinance at a lower rate and potentially experience a 220% gain in the value of your house.

So – If you want to sell a home, you’ve got more potential buyers than in July of this year. You’ll be able to command a good price for it and move to your next home pretty quickly – as homes tend not to stay on the market that long around here. 

If you want to buy – now’s the time. The combination of the lowering interest rates and increasing prices means that you have the chance to find motivated sellers and get a good enough deal to hold on until rates really go down – probably right before election day, 2024. 

More Information

Niceville and Valparaiso continue to show that we live in a wonderful area, and buying or selling benefits both parties. Do you need to sell? Then consider speaking with your agent and discuss the strategy. There are buyers. Are you in the market to buy? There are homes for sale. And with interest rates going down several weeks in a row, it might be time to start viewing the inventory. Your lender can help answer your borrowing questions, and your agent can find you the next house.
Election year is upon us. Will rates drop even further? Will buyers flood the market? We will continue to monitor the data for you and continue to keep you informed.
*All 2023 data is provided by Flex/MLS as provided by Emerald Coast Association of Realtors and is deemed reliable as of October 3, 2023, but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.

About John Sallman

John Sallman is the Broker/Owner of Salt and Light Realty and a regular contributor to In addition to serving others as a realtor in the Niceville and Valparaiso areas, Sallman is a world-class chef with over a decade of experience in the finest restaurants along the Emerald Coast. 

Sallman has experience in all types of real estate transactions. His brokerage specializes in sales and property management. reach out to him today at 

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