Construction is up but demand is higher

Real estate sales and prices rose in Flagler County last year, responding to a growing demand. But figures show construction is not keeping up with demand, which may lead to a housing shortage causing prices to increase even more.

About 1,000 units were constructed in Flagler County in 2017. (A unit is a single family house or one side of a duplex.) There were 770 in 2016.

“That’s the most growth since 2006,” said Jason DeLorenzo, government affairs director at Flagler Home Builders Association. He predicts the same amount of increase next year.

Recently announced new construction includes Sawmill, planned for 2,000 homes off U.S. 1 north of Matanzas Parkway. Construction could start in the third quarter by investor/developer Southeast Georgia Acquisitions

Toby Tobin, local realtor, cautions that even more construction is needed, saying housing is not keeping up with the predicted population growth.

SOURCE: Palm Coast Observer

U.S. Census estimates show a net gain of 3,122 new residents in Flagler County from July 2015 to July 2016, with 2,376 of those in Palm Coast. Using a standard calculation of 2.33 residents per dwelling, about 1,400 dwelling units would needed for one year of growth in the county, much more than the 1,000 units built this year.

“If we do not achieve a demand/supply balance, prices ‘to buy’ and ‘to rent’ will continue to rise beyond the rise in the consumer price index,” Tobin said.

DeLoranzo said builders could construct more houses but there is a labor shortage in the county.

Jeff Douglas, of Douglas Property and Development Inc., currently marketing Palm Coast Town Center as well as Grand Landings, said there is a need for more training for construction jobs. He said more educational opportunities and internships need to be available to provide an adequate labor force in the county.

The data shows the demand for housing. Through November, the number of sales through the Multiple Listing Service was up 2.14% over the same period in 2016, according to data provided by Tobin. He predicts sales will increase in 2018 by about the same amount.

Demand also drives up prices. The median price January through November, 2016, was $197,264; and the median price January through November, 2017, was $215,000.

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