Thread: Destin - Pricey Housing in slump
11-02-2007, 10:57 AM #1
Destin - Pricey Housing in slump
Official: Destin housing pricey in face of real estate slump
Fraser Sherman, Florida Freedom Newspapers
Friday November 2nd, 2007
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The slumping real estate market doesn’t mean people who work in Destin can now afford to live here, Community Development Director Jerry Mucci says.
Over the next three to five years, Mucci told the Destin Community Land Trust board this week, housing prices will rise again because of “the desirability of this kind of coastal area, the extremely limited amount of available land, the influx of baby boomer retirees ... housing in Destin will become increasingly unaffordable.”
The board members created the not-for-profit trust this year to oversee an affordable-housing program for Destin’s workforce. Land trusts sell homes to people who qualify but lease them the land, which reduces the size of the mortgage buyers need.
One possible source of funding for the program would be the housing fee ordinance on the City Council’s Monday agenda. Developers’ fees would be based on how many new employees a business or residential project would bring to Destin. The obligation could be paid off either by providing housing for the program or by paying the city a fee that the trust, or any other housing program, could apply to use.
But last month, the city’s Local Planning Agency recommended the council reject the ordinance.
Jim Nissley, a member of both the trust board and the LPA, listed some of the objections he’d heard: Fees would hurt the real estate market; some people prefer to live outside of town where it’s cheaper; there are affordable rentals available in Destin; if the city imposes a fee, developers will build elsewhere; and government shouldn’t get involved in housing.
“(Developer) Jay Odom said this was nothing more than socialism — let the market take care of itself,” Nissley said.
Several board members said the LPA’s job is to evaluate whether ordinances conform to Destin’s growth plan and Land Development Code, not how they affect the real estate market.
Mucci said there’d been objections at the meeting that builders and developers hadn’t had the opportunity to weigh in on the housing fee, but it had been discussed multiple times in both board and council meetings.
“For folks to complain at the eleventh hour that there’s not been enough discussion is a little disingenuous,” he said.
Board member Jim Wood said the first choice under the ordinance is for developers to provide affordable housing themselves, which would work better than paying a fee, given Destin’s limited land: “I don’t want fees. I want units.... land and units help us.”
Nissley said the other LPA members don’t see Destin needing affordable housing and consider commuting from out of town a reasonable alternative. Mucci said that’s partly because the taxes that go to area roads constitute an invisible subsidy that isn’t as obvious an expense as housing.
Board member Craig Tingle said as north Okaloosa and Walton grow, workers will find jobs up there and no longer want to commute. Board Chair Nancy Weidenhamer said she’s talked to a heating/air-conditioning contractor who is moving to Freeport because his employees live up there, and there are enough new homes to provide him with business.
Wood said, however, that nothing the city or the board could do would make housing affordable to salesclerks and other service personnel, even though the tourist industry depends on them.
Nissley said the board might find more support if it targets its programs toward “entry-level professionals” such as Destin Elementary School teachers, who have good paychecks but still can’t find a place they can afford in Destin.
Tingle, who’s opening Pat O’Brien’s on Destin harbor, said he had to provide homes for his executive chef and general manager.
“They couldn’t come here and buy houses in these markets at the salary one would ordinarily pay,” Tingle said in an interview later. “These are folks I really want involved in the community.”~~~~~~~~_/)~~~~~~~~
11-02-2007, 11:25 AM #2
Re: Destin - Pricey Housing in slumpTingle, who’s opening Pat O’Brien’s on Destin harbor, said he had to provide homes for his executive chef and general manager.
I wonder how good they'll be at doing dishes and waiting tables?
.But hey...Top Ramen tastes a whole lot better when you eat it off of a Granite Countertop. (Mr & Mrs Too Much Homebuyer)
11-02-2007, 02:36 PM #3
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
- All over the place
Re: Destin - Pricey Housing in slump
On the other hand, my neighbor's boss has his Destin place up for sale at $3.6 meg so he can buy another at a reputed $6.8 meg?
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