Buying property on the coast

I live on a semi-tropical island off the coast of Florida in St. Augustine. The island is called Anastasia island. It is tucked safely away in the Florida’s Northeast corner. It is an area that does not get hurricanes, nor major tropical storms. St. Augustine, the oldest city in North America has received one major storm in its history. In contrast NYC has had four.

beach front property

Ocean front where I live

Therefore, you would think it would be a peaceful little island near this 450 year old town, it would be a safe bet to buy real estate on the ocean. Except for one thing. One little thing makes almost all beach real estate a deal breaker.  It is windy. Not the Wizard of Oz type wind, but just gusty.

My argument is it is not a deal breaker because of fear of home destruction or anything like that, rather it is more about lifestyle. Day-to-day lifestyle is more important than any abstract real estate valuation mind you. In theory they are should somehow correlate, but they do not. The unspoken nuisances no one talks about is wind. It makes life on the beach a bitch.

ocean front real estate

I love walking along the beach in the morning

My whole family lives on the coast

My brother and folks live in Jupiter in south Florida. They literally have beach front properties.  My family grew up not on the coast but near. They make the same comment, it is windy.

If you are considering beach front property I highly recommend you think again. The reason is the wind gets so strong that you can not enjoy your back yard.  Sure the ocean view is nice, however, that gets old fast. It would be better to be off the beach and have some protection of trees.  Then you could have lawn chairs and sit in the back. One a daily basis you want to relax in your back yard and read a book, not close yourself in some protected contract to shield from the wind.

Mr. Nautical does not recommend water front real estate

My brother who is Mr. Nautical and had a boat built from scratch based on historical designs sails up and down the eat coast and has a house on Cape cod and south Florida has said the same things. Do not buy beach front real estate. It is too windy to enjoy normal everyday life. He is looking to sell his mistake and move a bit inland. Even a 1/4 mile inland would be enough.

Better is to buy somewhere back from the water, and ride your bike to the beach.

Beach front properties and value

I have always thought beach front property is over priced disproportional for what it is worth.  Now more than ever I see  scores of empty units and homes in Florida now for good reason. They were over-valued and still are.

Beach front homes sell for over a million dollars where I live. Yet in the county not far away,  homes that have some land and reasonable size sell for 150,000 dollars. These are nice homes. People have gardens and play areas for their kids and drive to the beach. You really do not need to pay 1.5 million for a house because it is on the beach.

Some lady I know is selling her home for 1/2 million. I would personally pay 50,000 for it. It has been beaten down by the wind. I simply would not like to live there. Price is subjective. Do not simply take 15% of asking price, but ask yourself, what would you personally pay for this plot of land?

Beaches disappear

My brothers beach has disappeared. I think the Army corps of engineers will eventually rebuild it, or though some controversal funding. But just because you buy some notice water from property does not mean anything. In a few years the water might wash the beach away or be right up on your home or leave you with jagged rocks to trip over. Real estate agents love to sell property on the water but do not be sold.

Now my family has lake front property in New England. This is much more reasonable because it is not the ocean.

home on the ocean

Just because I love the beach does not mean I have to live right on it

Traffic on the ocean and other considerations

The Entire coastline is often a tourist mecca. noisy bikers and drivers not looking where they are going driving up and down. Now I have no regrets about living on an Island but I am glad I am not right up on the ocean but a little further back were we can enjoy a little peace. We were living in Europe at the time and I did extensive research on the web for about six months for the optimal place to live. The best place is near but not on the ocean.

P&C insurance on beach front property

I worked for many years one of the larger P&C insurance companies in Boston. They charge a fortune for the VIP life of ocean front property. You have to factor in inflated insurance costs because of property and casualty home insurance. You have to factor in accelerated depreciation from the air eroding your home and things. Our bikes are new yet covered with rust because of the air. Beach properties are nothing but and expense and in this market a sinking asset.

Even if I was made out of money, which I am not I would not buy it unless I was trying to impress. I am not trying to impress. Life should be about lifestyle on a day-to-day basis and it would be a hard argument to tell me the windy stormy beach is worth the price.

When was beach front property worth it?

Here is an example. In Stonington, CT after WWII many Portuguese fishermen bought homes at cheap prices. In fact, the Portuguese in WASP blue blood New England were a bit of an odd lot. They were not accepted and people did not want to live around them. I grew up in New England and I remember this.

Then something happened. These poor fishermen got rich as the gold coast of NYC expand further out into CT and somewhere between Boston and NYC rich Yankees wanted a home by the sea. Homes bought for under 10,000 were selling for several million dollars. The opportunity cost of the land became too high to use as a fishing community. This was a specific time in this nations development. It was also a premium for a certain generation, but not as much for todays America. This type of opportunity does not exist today. If anything we are in a long-term reverse trend. Again I personally would recommend not buying beach front property, there are better values out there. There are better ideas for appreciation.

Thank you for reading such a long post on buying ocean front property, if you have any questions or comments let me know.