ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Along A1A in South Ponte Vedra Beach and into Vilano Beach, an area hit hard by hurricanes Matthew and Irma, there are several oceanfront properties for sale and even more under construction with seawalls coming up all along the beach.
People who buy and sell in that area of St. Johns County typically understand the risks that come with oceanfront living. Erosion -- from high tides to nor'easters -- is a real concern.
Local real estate experts told News4Jax there was an obvious drop in sales after the hurricanes, but with an upcoming beach re-nourishment project and healthy housing market, what is happening now in the area is actually on par with other similar areas in the market.
Jeffrey Johnstone, who has lived in the South Ponte Vedra Beach area for about nine years, said he has noticed a shift.
"The west side of A1A, you will see a lot more building going on and that, I think, because some of the lots on the other side are empty and now there are views over there," Johnstone said. "Maybe people feel more protected, but there’s definitely a lot of building going on down there."
As of Tuesday, there were 20 oceanfront homes and six vacant lots for sale in South Ponte Vedra Beach, and there were eight homes for sale in Vilano Beach.
According to local real estate experts, those numbers are steady compared to similar areas in the market and sales are back on track.
"In the past three years, I would say that during the hurricane, that hurricane recovery time, nothing was selling. And that makes total sense. People needed to be reassured that their investment was making sense," said Kathleen Floryan, a broker associate with Ponte Vedra Club Realty. "So, I think we are finding that people are having a lot more confidence than they were three years ago."
Johnstone just finished building his beachside home and said he is here to stay.
Other locals told News4Jax they’ve seen a big uptick in people working to protect their properties should another major hurricane come through the area and that’s the same case for many of the people who are trying to get their homes off the market.