PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It's no secret Panama City Beach is growing tremendously.

Pier Park has been built up over the years, and now sports parks are coming to the area along with new condos and hotels.

With all of these things making their way to Panama City Beach, the value of houses and businesses is going up.

Bubba McCants, a local realtor for Counts Real Estate Group, said, "Buyers who are qualified are able to buy, banks are lending money, and interest rates are low."

In other words, if you're planning on buying or selling property in Panama City Beach, now's the time to do so.

Realty experts said over the last two years the housing market has been in an upward swing.

"We were one of the first ones in the recession," said McCants. "So that means we're also going to be one of the first ones out."

Bay County Property Appraiser Dan Sowell said, "Prices had gotten so low that they were just very, very, attractive to individuals and investors and so what you're seeing now is people trying to take advantage of that."

Bay County property values as a whole are on the rise.

Panama City Beach takes the lead with its 2016 preliminary values up more than five percent.

"Condo's are driving a lot of that percentage up," said Sowell. "Because they are up 6.1 percent on their own."

While the market is up, some Gulf-view businesses are cashing in before it's too late.

"There's still a good amount left [locally owned businesses] and they will sell if the price is right," said McCants. "And to someone who wants to come in and develop that land."

Locally owned two parcel Bikini Beach Hotel just sold to an investment company for $7.3 million.

"People pay a premium to walk out of their front door and be on the beach," said Sowell.

Realty experts said when you see new hotels and condominiums going up, it's a good sign.

"When you see a lot of construction around that's how you know the housing market is doing well," said McCants.

"Things are looking up," said Sowell. "You're not going to find a better place to live than Bay County, Florida."

Realty experts said they do not believe spring break has significantly affected the increase in property value, but the efforts of the Tourist Development Council marketing Panama City Beach as a "family destination" can only help moving forward.

WECP TV


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