young homebuyers vanishing

Faced with higher property prices and piles of student debt, Americans are getting older and older before they buy a home leading to young homebuyers vanishing from the real estate market.

 The median age of first-time or young homebuyers has increased to 33, the oldest in records dating back to 1981, according to a National Association of Realtors report released Friday. The median age of all buyers also hit a fresh record, 47, increasing for a third straight year — and well above the median age of 31 in 1981. Leading to young home buyers vanishing from the real estate market.

While the median age of first-time home buyers only rose by one year, the increase reflects a variety of factors facing Americans searching for a home. Still this trend reflects  young homebuyers vanishing from the real estate market.

A nationwide shortage of affordable housing, coupled with lower mortgage rates, has stoked prices in cities from the coasts to the heartland. At the same time, student loans and other debts make it harder for Americans to save tens of thousands of dollars for a down payment, while tight lending standards can make getting a bank loan difficult for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit scores.

“Housing affordability is so difficult today, especially when coupled with rising rents and student loan debt, that they’re finding different ways to enter home ownership,” said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at the Realtors group in Washington.

The characteristics of home buyers have changed in recent years. The share of married couples has declined as unmarried couples and those purchasing as roommates has risen.

As buyers’ ages have increased, so have their incomes. The typical income of purchasers rose to $93,200 in 2018 as a lack of affordable options squeezed lower-income potential buyers out of the market.

Higher prices of homes have also changed how first-time buyers are entering the market. Nearly a third of first-time home buyers said they used a gift from a relative or friend to fund their down payment.

Builders have cited a shortage of affordable lots and labor as reasons to build fewer or bigger single-family homes, leaving America’s growing population to consider more of the existing housing stock. New homes as a proportion of all purchases fell to a low of 13% in records dating back to 1981.

The report reflects survey responses from 5,870 people who purchased a primary residence in the period between July 2018 and June 2019.

Gladys Brown Park








Thanks to the Walton County Commissioners a new family recreational park named the Gladys Brown Park is now open and easily accessible to the residents of Freeport .  The park is located just north of the bridge across the Choctawhatchee Bay  and lies directly on the bay. The location allows the park to have free boat launches, a man made beach, together with an area for swimming, and fishing in the bay. The park has also been landscaped to provide a lovely area for picnicking complete with gas grills and park benches for cooking and eating outdoors. This is an important addition to family life amenities in Walton County.  Plus on the south side of  and underneath the bridge is another park made just for fishing in the bay with slips for docking your boat and a foot bridge for walking  out under the bridge.

A chill on RE sales

The weather in my area of the Florida panhandle has been so cold that  there seems to be a chill on RE sales.  However, this is only a temporary setback and things will be heating up soon. Be among the first of your friends to take advantage of this financial anomaly by buying that new residence or vacation home now before the big thaw. ?
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minimum wage rise 1/1/20


The Florida Minimum Wage Act, which applies to all employees in Florida covered by the federal minimum wage, requires the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity to calculate a new minimum wage rate each year on September 30.

Florida’s minimum wage is currently $8.46 per hour. According to state government officials, beginning January 1, 2020, a minimum wage rise is scheduled for Florida to $8.56 per hour, which is a $0.10, or 1.12% increase, due to the change in the CPI.

Windswept Estates, a golf community

Windswept Estates is a subdivision located about 7 miles east of Freeport, Florida, on HWY 20.  If you want to live on the golf course and also be within 20 minutes  the beach, this may be the place for you.  The lots are larger than the  average .31 acre size lot found in some other subdivisions and while the amenities may be smaller or fewer, it does have a pool, a clubhouse, tennis courts, a basket ball court, and a golf course and the  HOA fees are lower.
windswept enrtance


Check out Windswept Estates on the internet for more complete information as part of your plans to move to the Florida panhandle in retirement. It may not be heaven but it is probably closer to it than where you are.



Hammock Bay Amenities


clubhouse store

Hammock Bay is an island all its own located north of the bridge across Chocktawhatchee Bay in Freeport, FLorida. The amenities provided by the HOA rival those of any subdivision in the panhandle including a magnificent clubhouse with theater room, kitchen, media room, surrounded by three pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, tennis courts, pickle ball courts, and a complete workout gym and classrooms for instructional classes. There are miles of walking trails, a frizbee course, a dog park, and picnic areas beside small lakes for the outdoor lovers. Did I mention the on-premises general store?

The homes in Hammock Bay run the gamut from a mac-mansion to three bedroom homes and all in between and apartments are now being built to expand the available housing for this area. After you decide to locate to the panhandle be sure to check this out on the internet before making your final decision.



The library is the heart and soul of the community.

An announcement was recently made that there are plans in the works to add an additional 5,000 square feet to the existing 8,500 square feet of the Freeport, Florida, public library. The additional space will be used for STEM programs and its related equipment, along with more area for the arts and additional area for kids.

As in any community, the library is the heart and soul of the community and this additional area will bring the Freeport library into compliance with the standards for public libraries for small communities in Florida. A library is one of the most important public services the local government can provide for its citizens and Freeport will be at the forefront in this regard.

Lookin for a great place to live?

The City of Freeport, Florida, continues its rapid growth in size as it is one of the fastest growing cities in Florida. Meanwhile it is contributing to the social scene and making wise use of its natural resources by event like the following which will be held this October:

The ribbon cutting and grand opening of the beautiful new Grady Brown Park located under the oaks on the north shore of the Choctawhatchee Bay at the intersection of 331 south and south Bay Grove Road. Ribbon cutting by Walton County officials will take place on Wednesday October 23rd at 10:00 a.m.

This is proof that Freeport is an excellent choice for a place where you can join in the community and raise a family.

Housing shortage?

Just when you thought the housing market was slowing down, this news snippet in Florida Realtors about the demand for new apartment space comes in:

“TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A growing number of Florida residents are turning to renting instead of homeownership, spurring a shortage of apartments. Data from the Florida Apartment Association indicates that the state would need to add more than 600,000 new apartments by 2030 to keep up with both the increase in population and demand.
“We have over 900 people moving here every single day, and if we don’t have housing for them, at some point, those individuals and their companies and their economic opportunity will go to another state,” says Amanda Gill, the association’s government affairs director.

The report estimates that builders would have to construct 47,814 new apartment homes annually to address the state’s needs over the next decade. However, Florida is projected to add only 33,688 apartments in 2019.”

Bad news about student loans.

While politicians posture about forgiving all student loans you ought to know the magnitude of the debt they are attempting to forgive and it amounts to bad news about student loans. In an article published in Florida Realtors, the following are the results of a survey done by which should distress every taxpayer in Florida and in this nation.
“SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Total student debt could buy every U.S. house on the market 1.9 times over, according to a study from With the rising costs in education, students borrow more and more money, which has led to delayed homeownership. The average student loan borrower owes $34,500 – $8,500 more than the typical down payment of $26,000.
“In Florida, the numbers are similar. Total student debt in the state is $75.9 billion, according to, with 2,197,000 borrowers. If these Floridians want to make a 10% down payment on a home, their down payment vs. debt ratio is 72.4%.
“Student debt has ballooned to an all-time high as the price of education continues to outpace wage growth, and this is holding back many potential buyers from being able to purchase a home,” says’s Senior Economist, George Ratiu. “Student debt is already impacting borrowers’ ability to buy a home and education debt is expected to hamper consumers’ financial decisions for many years down the road.”
“Nationally, the median sale price of a U.S. home is $260,000. With a typical down payment of 10%, that would come out to $26,000, which is $8,500 less than the average student debt of $34,500.
Additionally, the total value of U.S. homes on the market is $780 billion – 1.9 times less than the total outstanding student debt of $1.5 trillion shouldered by 42.8 million borrowers.”

Looking for a great place to live?

The  City of Freeport, Florida, continues its rapid growth in size as it is one of the fastest growing cities in Florida.  Meanwhile it is contributing to the social scene and making wise use of its natural resources by events like the following which will be held this October:

The annual Mayors Charity Ball will take place on October 19th from 7:00 to 10:00 at the Hammock Bay Lake Club!   Tickets are $30 each or $50 for couples and are available at city hall!

The ribbon cutting and grand opening of the beautiful new Grady Brown Park located under the oaks on the north shore of the Choctawhatchee Bay at the intersection of 331 south and south Bay Grove Road. Ribbon cutting by Walton County officials will take place on Wednesday October 23rd at 10:00 a.m.

This is proof that Freeport is an excellent choice for a place where you can join in the community and raise a family.

Proposal for New School in Freeport

At a Town Hall Meeting  Thursday night, Superintendent Hughes presented an outline of the need  and a proposal for new school in Freeport.  A decision has to be made whether it will be a new high school, junior high or an elementary school and whether it should be built on property that has been donated to the school system by Jay Odom which is within Hammock Bay or elsewhere. The majority of attendees were from the Hammock Bay subdivision.  From the information presented the elementary school is at full capacity and there is still some room for growth in the high school and in the junior high school.  However, it further appeared from the comments that the junior high facilities are drastically out of date, the building having been built in 1940. It appeared the most likely course of action will be to build a junior high school in Hammock Bay perhaps with the idea in mind that more students could walk or ride their bikes to school thereby relieving the transit problems with busing of students and the lack of bus drivers.  This approach seems reasonable since a large percentage of these students live in Hammock Bay and more families with children continue to flood into the subdivision.

Walton County Schools

Last week I attended the Walton County Chamber of Commerce meeting in DeFuniak Springs and heard a program given by Walton School District Superintendent Russell Hughes regarding the Walton County schools. It was informative and exciting to learn how much our schools have improved in just the past three years.  Unless I am mistaken, all of the junior high and high schools in Walton County are now rated A+ schools. If I should be mistaken about this statistic, I am sure that was Superintendent Hughes goal and if it was not achieved this year, it will be next year.

What does this mean to you if you live outside Walton County and are considering moving your children into the Walton County schools? Well, if you are considering a move and you want to live in an area where you can be confident that the public school system is being run in an organized and forward thinking manner with only the best educational interests of the students in mind and no other agenda, you should consider moving and raising your family here. The weather is very agreeable for most of the year, and the beaches are only minutes away from any point in Walton County in case you want to avoid the high price of living on the beach.


present mortgage rates

Did you know that even with the economic uncertainty the 30-year long term mortgage rate is still only 3.65% and the 15-year rate is at 3.14%? This could still be a good time to buy that new home or vacation property.

Tax Savings on Home Sale

Below is an article from Florida Realtors concerning the sale of your home that may prove beneficial to you come April 15, 2020.


5 Sweet Tax Deductions When Selling a Home

The new tax code can be confusing but check for tax deductions or exemptions – like legal fees, escrow fees or other costs directly tied to the sale of your home.

LAWTON, Okla. – You may be wondering if there are tax deductions when selling a home. And the answer is: You bet!

But there’s also a new tax code – aka the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – causing quite a bit of confusion this filing season. Rest assured that if you sold your home last year (or are planning to in the future), the tax deductions may amount to sizable savings when you file with the IRS.

You’ll want to know all the tax deductions (as well as tax exemptions or other write-offs) at your disposal. So here’s a rundown.

1. Selling costs

Good news! These deductions are still allowed under the new tax law as long as they are directly tied to the sale of the home and a married couple – or a single taxpayer – lived in the home for at least two out of the five years preceding the sale. Another caveat: The home must be a principal residence and not an investment property.

“You can deduct any costs associated with selling the home-including legal fees, escrow fees, advertising costs, and real estate agent commissions,” says Joshua Zimmelman, president of Westwood Tax and Consulting in Rockville Center, N.Y.

remodeling projects with biggest return
Considering making some upgrades to your house? Here’s a look at the home improvement investments that have the biggest return.

This could also include home staging fees, according to Thomas J. Williams, a tax accountant who operates Your Small Biz Accountant in Kissimmee, Fla.

Just remember that you can’t deduct these costs in the same way as, say, mortgage interest. Instead, you subtract them from the sales price of your home, which in turn positively affects your capital gains tax.

2. Home improvements and repairs

Score again. The new tax law left this deduction as well. If you renovated a few rooms to make your home more marketable (and so you can fetch a higher sales price), now you can deduct those upgrade costs as well. This includes painting the house or repairing the roof or water heater.

But there’s a catch, and it all boils down to timing.

“If you needed to make home improvements in order to sell your home, you can deduct those expenses as selling costs as long as they were made within 90 days of the closing,” says Zimmelman.

3. Property taxes

This deduction is still allowed, but your total deductions are capped at $10,000, Zimmelman says.

If you were dutifully paying your property taxes up to the point when you sold your home, you can deduct the amount you paid in property taxes this year up to $10,000.

4. Mortgage interest

As with property taxes, you can deduct the interest on your mortgage for the portion of the year you owned your home. However, the rules have changed slightly from last year.

Just remember that under the new tax code, new homeowners (and home sellers) can deduct the interest on up to only $750,000 of mortgage debt, though homeowners who got their mortgage before Dec. 15, 2017, can continue deducting up to the original amount up to $1 million, according to Zimmelman.

Note that the mortgage interest and property taxes are itemized deductions. This means that for it to work in your favor, all of your itemized deductions need to be greater than the new standard deduction, which the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubled to $12,200 for individuals, $18,350 for heads of household, and $24,400 for married couples filing jointly (for comparison, it used to be $12,700 for married couples filing jointly).

5. But what’s up with capital gains tax for sellers?

Lawmakers tried to change the capital gains rule, but it managed to survive – so it’s still one home sellers can use. It isn’t technically a deduction (it’s an exclusion), but you’re still going to like it.

As a reminder, capital gains are your profits from selling your home – whatever cash is left after paying off your expenses, plus any outstanding mortgage debt. And yes, these profits are taxed as income. But here’s the good news:

You can exclude up to $250,000 of the capital gains from the sale if you’re single, and $500,000 if married. The only big catch is you must have lived in your home at least two of the past five years.

However, look for the rules of this exemption to possibly change in a future tax bill.

Ralph DiBugnara, president of Home Qualified and vice president at Residential Home Funding, says lawmakers might push to change this so that homeowners would have to live in the property for five of the past eight years, instead of two out of five.

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