Red tide is once again sweeping through parts of Gulf coastal Florida. Right now it is mainly in the Central area of Florida’s Gulf Coast including Manatee and Pinellas Counties, but it has been known to reach parts of the Forgotten Coast.
What is Red Tide?
Red Tide is scientifically known as Karenia Brevis, a type of algae that commonly appears in shallow areas of the Gulf of Mexico. Red Tide is naturally occurring and has been around since the early 1900s. There are some things that humans do to increase this algae population and create a rapid algae growth explosion. Nitrogen and other ingredients commonly found in fertilizers are enticing food to algae.
Algae is an aquatic plant, so fertilizer feeds algae much in the same way it feeds landscaping plants. The heavy rains common in Florida summers wash these fertilizers into waterways from both commercial and residential areas. Red Tide is named for its reddish coloration of the water when there is a high concentration of algae. The algae can kill large numbers of sea life including fish and manatees as well as cause respiratory, skin, and eye irritation in humans. In some areas, red tide can bloom in such high concentrations that hundreds of dead fish can wash up on shore making it unpleasant to even take a stroll on the beach. This happened in Mexico Beach on the Forgotten Coast around 2015.
How Can Red Tide Impact Real Estate?
Market analysis has found that in years of really large red tide blooms, coastal communities can experience lowered property values and see a drop in home sales as compared to areas without red tide nearby that showed an increase.
There are many real estate experts that believe the red tide is not the culprit of real estate sales impact, however. For example, the extreme red tide of 2018 that badly hit Sarasota saw an increase in home sales of 2.3% from the previous year. Red Tide, though alarming and seemingly apocalyptic when it is happening, is not a year-round occurrence and really only lasts a few weeks to a few months at most out of the year. From year to year, the high point of concentration can move. The inconsistency and infrequency of red tide can be seen as a small and very short issue as compared to the amount of time a homeowner spends in a home along the coast. In many cases, Florida home buyers see it as comparable to a seasonal condition that is common and expected, but not disastrous. Like heavy snow in Minnesota.
In the grand scheme of things, red tide does not appear to have a huge impact on gulf coastal properties in Florida. It can have a minor and temporary impact on beach properties and properties very near to the beach. If you are considering selling a home that is near to a high red tide concentration, it might be better to wait it out a few months until after the red tide clears up.
For more information on homes for sale in Mexico Beach and other Forgotten Coast real estate please contact us any time.
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