WaterColor Real Estate Market Prices, Trends and Forecast 2024

WaterColor Real Estate Market Prices, Trends and Forecast 2024

Situated in the heart of Florida's celebrated 30A region in Walton County, the unincorporated, planned community of WaterColor has long been one of the Emerald Coast's favorite destinations. Vacationers, second homeowners, and investors all come to parlay WaterColor's harmonious blend of natural beauty and refined elegance into an enriching coastal experience.

Below, explore what makes this desirable seaside enclave along the Gulf of Mexico such a draw for homeowners and investors and examine WaterColor's real estate market prices, trends, and forecast for 2024.

About WaterColor

While there's hardly an undesirable locale along the Florida Panhandle's vaunted Emerald Coast, several ultra-luxe communities stand above the rest. Among the latter is WaterColor.

The neighborhood

WaterColor's location, between Grayton Beach (and the adjacent Grayton Beach State Park) and Seaside, places the community at the core of one of this region's most desirable areas. Developed across four phases, the expansive footprint extends from the sandy shores of the Gulf of Mexico, then along Western Lake, a coastal dune lake within Grayton Beach State Park, before turning east along the northern edges of the adjacent Seaside. From there, WaterColor's most recent phase straddles County Highway 395, just south of a second commercial development at WaterColor Crossings.

A genuine resort community, WaterColor includes a renowned inn and beach club and a popular town center with numerous options for shopping and dining. Homeowners and their guests have access to a vast range of amenities, including nine community pools, five clay tennis courts, two pickleball courts, a bocce ball court, a basketball court, a soccer field, a playground, five park areas, an outdoor amphitheater, and gardens. Along Western Lake sits the WaterColor Boathouse, where residents can access four piers and a dock.

There are also five miles of hiking and biking trails, which tie into the 19-mile Timpoochee Trail, an incredible amenity that connects all of the Emerald Coast's luxury communities.

The homes

Although WaterColor's charm is deeply rooted in its idyllic surroundings — pristine beaches, rare coastal dune lakes, and lush natural preserves — the real estate is the primary draw. Stroll through any of the highly walkable subdivisions, and it's impossible to ignore the architecture's beauty, sophistication, and grandeur.

There's a uniformity in the exterior aesthetics (each phase offers specific architectural guidelines for new construction or renovation), echoing a distinctive coastal design ethos even as home options range from grand beachfront estates to quaint cottages.

WaterColor interiors feature a lot of variety. Approximately 75% of homes offer four or five bedrooms — the vacation rental sweet spot. About 10% of the single-family inventory includes six or more bedrooms, which can prove lucrative in the rental market, making up for the higher upfront costs. The remaining 15% of WaterColor's single-family homes are three-bedroom homes.

Expansive living spaces and flexible floor plans allow owners to experiment with layouts and living spaces. High-end appliances, upgraded counters and floors, and multiple living and flex spaces, including those outdoors, are the norm.

WaterColor market prices and trends

As of the end of 2022, WaterColor was approximately 95% built-out. When complete, WaterColor's 499 acres will include more than 950 single-family homes and cottages (plus 106 town center-based condo homes) across eight individual districts.

WaterColor real estate market prices for single-family homes list anywhere between $2 million and $7 million. The most recent sales number for WaterColor include:

  • Sales: Home sales have increased by 15% between Q3 2022 and Q3 2023, a departure from earlier in the year when year-over-year closing was off by as much as 50%. Much of the lack of new listings is attributable to current owners less than willing to part with sub-4 % mortgage rates.

  • Sales price: However, those who chose to list in the 3rd quarter this year found it very lucrative. The average sale price was up 17% to $3,915,000 versus $3,344,154 in Q3 2022. Overall, sellers realized 96% of their list price between July and September, compared to 95% during the same period last year.

  • Days on the market: The shakeup and improved sales seemingly came from several homes finally capturing the attention of buyers. Single-family homes sold during the quarter spent an average of 106 days on the market. While that's not wholly unusual for the type of high-end real estate found in WaterColor, it is a departure from the Q3 2022 average of 38 days on the market — a 179% year-over-year increase.

WaterColor Forecast

Since its inception nearly 25 years ago, WaterColor residences have proven to be a hot commodity year after year. Even in less than stellar market conditions, buyers appreciate the 30A lifestyle, the community's strict adherence to seaside coastal aesthetics, and the bespoke livability of the real estate.

Outlook for buyers

Heading into 2024, prospective buyers, particularly those seeking a second home or a lucrative vacation rental investment, can anticipate a market less daunting than the hyper-competitive pandemic era. Prices will remain elevated and inventory low due to current homeowners choosing to retain properties secured with a loan under 4%.

Mortgage rates, while not expected to fall below 6%, are forecasted to moderate and currently stand at 6.587% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan — a considerable difference from the 20-year high of 7.79% from October 2023. Though rate drops should be subtle and methodic, any decrease enhances the investment appeal of WaterColor, where appreciation is expected to continue unabated into 2024 and beyond. Expect some buyers to adopt a buy now, refinance later strategy to quickly secure the community's most attractive properties.

Ultimately, while certain market conditions are better than others, there's never a wrong time to buy in WaterColor. The idyllic location, extensive amenities, limited new construction, and a resort-type atmosphere with plenty of income potential make a home here a solid investment.

Outlook for sellers

For those ready to part ways with a WaterColor home, the outlook remains advantageous, if not highly lucrative. While the frenzied seller's market that materialized during the pandemic may have plateaued, the intrinsic value of a property in WaterColor, along with strong economic growth in Florida and a thriving tourist and second home market locally, keeps the community at the top of buyer and investor lists.

Potential sellers that purchased post-2020 (or those that refinanced) could face a difficult decision to relinquish a highly favorable mortgage. However, given that home values in this region have increased by nearly 95% over the past five years, the potential returns on a sale are both significant and attractive, particularly for those looking to capitalize on their investment in this ultra-luxe market.

Interested in learning more?

Whether you're in the market to purchase a luxury WaterColor home or want to maximize your current property's sales potential, contact The Gardner Group today to start your 30A real estate journey. Our unparalleled experience and expertise will help you navigate Florida's Emerald Coast and ensure your next 30A transaction is highly lucrative and deeply rewarding.

Work With Us

Bringing together a team with the passion, dedication, and resources to help our clients reach their buying and selling goals. With you every step of the way.

Follow Us on Instagram