Property values in Panama City Beach, Florida are primarily driven by vacation rental income. PCB had just posted a record vacation season in 2018 and home prices were moving up. Many in our industry had predicted another record vacation season for 2019. The economy was strong, consumer confidence was up and it looked like nothing could hold us back. Then out of the blue mother nature threw us a curve ball. The hurricane of all hurricanes, and he had his eye locked on Panama City Beach and every home in his path. Fortunately a few hours before impact he shifted direction toward the east and Panama City Beach was spared.
So how does this impact our Real Estate values here in Panama City Beach going forward? There's one simple answer to that question and it's Vacation Rental Income. If you look back at our 2018 record season where PCB was busting at the seems. Then you factor in the devastation to our sister beaches just to the east of us where vacationers will be displaced for many years, and there's only one possible outcome. That's demand unlike we've ever seen before. Yes, our beach will be in high demand and that demand will drive higher rental rates, and those higher rates will drive up Real Estate values.
Remember our economy is still strong, unemployment is super low and consumer confidence is at a record high. This is a great indicator that vacation demands will be high for 2019. Panama City Beach demands will be exceptionally high because we will now accommodate much more than our regular vacationers. We also have displaced homeowners from PC and the workers who will be here for years to clean up the areas east of us. Now add in the displaced vacationers from Mexico Beach, St Joe Beach and the other coastal towns impacted by the hurricane. That all will create a significant demand on both long term and vacation rentals and all the supporting services in PCB unlike ever before.
Demand for PCB in 2019 will have a huge impact that will increase home values.