The Thirty-A Review July 2020

r e a l e s t a t e

The Beach Group B y J e s s i c a H o l t h a u s B a d o u r

In fact, it was so busy for Memorial Day weekend, The Beach Group had people calling in desperation for a rental property (which they don’t work with). Romano guesses the region was at 100 percent occupancy for the unofficial start of summer. “People have short memories; coming to 30-A, everyone gets into that vacation mindset,” Romano explains. “Families are spending time together and some of the rules [during the quarantine] just don’t apply anymore.” Plus, 30-A offers the relaxation and quality of life we all want a slice of. State taxes are low, home prices are reasonable, and there’s a stimulus going—all things that point to an increase of primary home- owners who want to live year-round on the beach. “These past several months have been the opposite of what people feared would happen here,” Romano says. “We don’t have enough deals to the meet the demand. Primary neighborhoods are booming, along with some of the older neighborhoods—even the very high-dollar properties. The demand is up all around.” But don’t worry, because a supply of homes continues to be built. If you’re a tradesman, you’re in luck; there’s no shortage of jobs along 30-A, where new construction continues. In fact, Romano says they can’t build fast enough.

Primary neighborhoods are booming, along with some of the older neighborhoods—even the very high-dollar properties. The demand is up all around.

Ron Romano

H ere on the beaches of 30-A the sun rises and sets, and the tides go in and out along the shorelines of the Emerald Coast. Some things never change. During a summer where many things have changed for all of us and the future is uncertain at best, it turns out the desire for beach real estate also hasn’t changed. If anything, the demand has only increased as 2020 continues. And if you ask veteran 30-A’er Ron Romano what the “new normal” looks like, he will tell you it’s busier than ever and not much has slowed down for businesses like The Beach Group. “People have realized they don’t have to be in the office as much, if at all, anymore,” Romano says. “And if you’re going to be stuck somewhere, where would you rather be: In an apartment in the city or down here on the beach?” Romano and Andy Wiggins are co-owners of The Beach Group Real Estate. The local boutique business is non-franchised with about 20 agents specializing in all kinds of clientele and properties, from families to discreet celebrities and high net worth individuals to real estate investment funds. The Beach Group has been around now for 20 years, and in that time, Romano has seen 30-A through a lot of changes. “We’ve been through oil spills and hurricanes and plenty of unexpected things that have shut down everything,” Romano describes. “After the BP oil spill, people said ‘things will never be the same.’ For a period of time, that was true.” In other words, the current COVID-19 landscape will hopefully be a period we one day (soon?) leave

“When crazy, unexpected things happen, you realize that life is short. When you evaluate what’s important to you, quality of life is always at the top of the list,” Romano says. “This past spring, the first people allowed to travel in were the homeowners– and everyone else without a house realized they want one.” Romano knows everyone here on 30-A is ready to put the past several months in the rearview mirror. “Right now, people are still taking precautions, and that’s a good thing,” he says. “But everything is open for business here on 30-A. Just BYOTP.” That’s ‘Bring Your Own Toilet Paper’. Ron Romano is co-owner of The Beach Group with Andy Wiggins. Romano and Wiggins have been Real Estate Brokers for nearly 30 years. The Beach Group is located next to WaterColor on Scenic 395. Learn more at or reach out to Romano at

Photo by Little Miss Creative Fantasia Lyons

behind. In the meantime, we are all living our lives differently, to varying degrees. “People right now are traveling less, working less, and can now work from anywhere in many cases,” he says. “In the fall, who knows? There might be another wave. But for now, it’s been crazier here than I’ve ever seen it.” Simply put, the real estate remains constant, with a “seller’s market” still the trend for the foreseeable future. Homes on the market here in the Panhandle are primarily secondary houses to begin with, so most properties are unoccupied (meaning showings and tours can happen as normal). For everyone else with a second home on 30-A? Well, they’re already here at the beach (and have been since many people stopped going into work in the early spring).

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