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Real Estate Gone Wild! Humble homes selling for huge sums in St. Augustine

Extreme fixer-uppers rival homes in cities like Boston and Seattle when it comes to price-per-square-foot.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — (The video above is from a previous report)

Housing prices have been red-hot for a while, but the market in St. Augustine is redefining real estate thermodynamics. 

A 448 sq. ft., one bedroom, one bath home in the historic Lincolnville neighborhood is listed on Zillow at $349,000. That's $780 per square foot -- compared to the Florida average of about $250 (itself a 30 percent jump over last year). 

That's about twice the state average, and rivals pricing in cities like Boston and Seattle.

The neighborhood is a historically Black community for decades, formed by St. Augustine’s freed slave population after the Civil War, and thriving community in the city's pre-segregation era. But the community suffered economically during the '80s and '90s, and is currently undergoing rapid gentrification. New modern homes loom over shotgun style homes, and Airbnb's dominate once residential areas. 

Which brings us to the 'historic cottage' from the 1910s, listed for sale amidst ritzy bed-and breakfasts and award-winning restaurants.

"Walking distance to historical monuments, restaurants, and St. George Street where you can shop or grab a cup of coffee with friends," the listing reads. "What a cool short term rental property this could be when fixed up! Bring your creativity! Hurry this property will go fast!"

Credit: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/112-Moore-St-Saint-Augustine-FL-32084/47777206_zpid/?
112 Moore St, Saint Augustine

The property isn't the only one in the area going for more than what some may reasonably guess.

 A 656 sq. ft. studio on 112 Carrie Johnson Way is listed for $299,000 on Realtor.com. The accompanying photograph shows the roof has partially collapsed.

"Amazing location located in the Lincolnville section close to King St. in downtown St. Augustine," the listing reads. "Walk to a variety of shopping and restaurants... major fixer-upper or build your dream home in this highly desirable location"

Credit: www.realtor.com
112 Carrie Johnson Way, Saint Augustine, FL 32084

The single-story, moss covered houses in the sprawling historic district stand in stark contrast to the million dollar residences on the next street over.

What does that mean for you? Well, if you are planning to buy a home in Saint Johns County, you expect to pay more than asking price. 

More than 40% of homes here sold above asking price last month, according to Rockethomes.

The median sale price for a single family home in St. Johns County has gone up almost 22% year-over-year, according to data provided by Redfin. If that weren't enough to shock you, the median sale price for a townhouse has gone up almost 42.2%.

Credit: Realtor.com
141 Washington St, Saint Augustine. Listed at $1,250,000.

Real estate experts believe prices will only continue to rise, which presents a challenge for potential first time home-buyers and renters in the area, some of whom have been there for decades.

Dr. Irvin Cohen is the executive director of LISC Jacksonville. He previously spoke to First Coast News about the impact of rising housing costs for residents who live in previously "challenged neighborhoods." 

He speculates the housing market will affect people of color, especially women.

RELATED: Through the Roof: Price of houses are widening the gap of racial inequities in housing

"Salaries are not increasing at the rate of 25%," Cohen said. "I think we have to look at now, how do we help people maintain their sheltering in place?"

Dr. Cohen suggested city officials work on creating policies that address the ongoing struggle in the housing market.

RELATED: Inflated rent in Jacksonville attracts national attention with 60 Minutes report

RELATED: Through the Roof: Renter facing nearly $400 increase in Jacksonville

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