Come On In…The Water’s Fine!


This lightning capital of the world is fraught with tourists, steering wheel-beating traffic and an occasional hurricane. Blazing summers are why, in 1944, a pharmacist, trying to keep his bald head from scorching, invented commercial sunscreen. 

Given all that, why do we get 1,000 “new Floridians” every day? And why do an estimated 30% of Florida’s one million snowbirds plan to buy property in the Sunshine State? That’s easy! No snow. No below-zero temps. No state income tax. Just amazingly beautiful beaches and a laid-back, cheeseburger-in-paradise lifestyle not found anywhere else on earth. 

Thinking of relocating or buying a vacation home in our little paradise? Maybe you are a “well-seasoned” Midwestern snowbird who just can’t do the “I-75 drive” one more time. Or, it might be as simple as a more permanent escape from shoveling the white stuff. Trulia, a leading real estate website, reports a 4.4% increase in searches for homes in warm weather climates for every 10-degree temperature drop up north. 

If buying near the water seems “financially intimidating,” don’t abandon your dream so easily. The least expensive waterfront, single-family home sold in a Pinellas beach community last year was a 2-bedroom on a canal in Madeira Beach for $280,000. That’s a far cry from the $7.25 million price tag on the 8,600+ sq. ft., 8BR/8+BA beachfront mansion with an 11-car garage and a 7,200 sq. ft. pool sold in Redington Beach. In terms of condos, a 3BR/3.5BA penthouse in the Sandpearl in Clearwater Beach sold for just under $3.4 million, yet a buyer snapped up a 1BR, 550 sq. ft. condo in a complex situated on Boca Ciega Bay in Treasure Island for only $125,000!

Thanks to an abundance of beach accesses, public boat ramps, community docks, etc., remember that you can still enjoy the waterfront lifestyle even if your address isn’t directly on the Gulf or ICW. Just ask the buyers of the least expensive non-waterfront, single-family—a 788 sq. ft. 2-bedroom “extreme” fixer-upper in Indian Shores, across Gulf Boulevard from the beach, which they snagged for only $200,000!

Before deciding which beach community best suits you, “test drive” each of them. Experience everything from the bustling nightlife of Clearwater Beach and Sand Key’s posh, luxury hi-rises to the Old Florida beach cottages of Indian Rocks Beach and the artsy, historic quaintness of Pass-A-Grille. Attend a local event or a city commission meeting and see the community through the eyes of a local.

Most of us, who call the barrier islands “home,” are from “somewhere else,” so you’ll find us to be a very “welcoming” bunch. Come on in…the water’s fine!

Source: My Florida Regional MLS/Pinellas barrier islands beach community sales (1/1/18-12/31/18)