Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Prices Continue To Climb For Florida Houses Ian Left Behind

(This week’s commentary was completed while Hurricane Ian was rolling by Amelia Island and in hopes that my Florida relatives, friends, and neighbors survived it safely with no serious damage to their properties. Also, a huge “Thank you” and shout out to the Nassau County Emergency Management Department and county Public Information Officer Sabrina Robertson for their outstanding professional efforts to keep residents safe and informed and to Florida Power & Light for keeping the lights on.)

A flyer in a box in the yard of a home two doors down from us advertises a monthly rental price of $4,250.

“It’s a very, very, very fine house” as Cosby, Stills and Nash sang in 1970. But at $4,250 per month, it seemed pricey to me. Since our neighborhood doesn’t allow short term leases the tenant must sign a one-year contract totaling $51,000. That doesn’t include utilities.

However, based on what’s currently taking place in the local housing market the monthly rate may be a bargain.

The rental price is an indication of what’s taking place all over Amelia Island and is spreading across Shave Bridge and I-95 to encompass much of Nassau County, pricing many folks out of the market.

High prices and a shortage of desirable real estate is not unique to Nassau County. Many sought-after areas in America are running out of housing and land to build more. Blue state residents fleeing exorbitant taxes, lousy union-run schools and rampant crime in their Democrat governed states are key to generating the escalating prices. Because they are recipients of the mass exodus from Democrat-led states Southern states, particularly Florida,  are coming up short in developable real estate and affordable housing. On Amelia Island there is absolutely nowhere left to spread out unless your house floats.

The rental house down the street from us is currently estimated to have a $938,000 value based on real estate sources I researched. Hypothetically, let’s suppose a buyer negotiated a $900,000 price if it was for sale, and put 20 percent down. The mortgage minus closing costs would be $720,000.

As of September 23, 2022, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.73%. At that rate the buyer would have a $4,660 monthly payment. Add a very low estimate of $1,000 monthly for taxes and insurance and it would come to $5,660, a total of $1,410 more than the asking rental price of $4,250.

Prior to Joe Biden’s inauguration the lowest historical mortgage rates in history for 30-year fixed rate mortgages was in December 2020 with rates at 2.68%, according to Freddie Mac. At that rate the hypothetical purchaser would have a monthly payment of $3,310, which is $940 less than the rental price and almost enough to cover the cost of taxes and insurance.

As long as people keep moving to Republican-governed states such as Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, etc. they are pushing up the prices of properties thereby increasing housing shortages in these fast-growing desirable locations. And the Biden administration’s catastrophic economic policies are forcing the feds to continue to increase interest rates in an attempt to stem the Biden-generated inflation.

The Wall Street Journal says in the South the average price of vacant land per acre doubled in the past two years through the second quarter.

Don’t expect prices to go lower anytime soon. People are continuing to flock to southern cities. Remote work has given Americans more choice and they can settle anywhere they want. And they want to get away from the Democrats that are taxing them into the poor house in communities where crime is running rampant and public schools have become progressive indoctrination centers. In most cases rising real estate prices are lower than the hellholes they’re escaping and even if they weren’t it would be worth it.

Two of the greatest boomtowns in America today are the Tampa and Miami areas. How many out of state license plates have popped up in your Nassau County neighborhood recently?

The New York Post reported that, according to Florida driver’s license registrations 41,885 New Yorkers moved here so far this year. The Census Bureau reported that overall in 2019 that “Florida has the most domestic in-movers from another state within the past year with 566,476 while California had the most domestic out-movers with 661,026.”

Florida’s conservative no-nonsense Governor Ron DeSantis and mayors like Miami’s Francis X. Suarez prove that low taxes, fewer regulations, a commitment to public safety, parent-led school systems, and the encouragement of private enterprise are formulas for success. People want to live in that kind of environment and the new residents from New York, Michigan, California, New Jersey, etc. confirm it.

Since the pandemic began more adjusted gross income has moved into Florida than has ever moved into one state over a similar time in American history, claims Governor DeSantis.

This growth puts pressure on elected Fernandina City and Nassau County officials to focus on the housing needs of all segments. They should ignore and not be intimidated by the unreasonable shrieks of a handful of tree-hugging, anti-development, no-growth extremists and encourage public-private partnerships, rezone underutilized land, and use the free-market system to secure affordable housing for those on fixed incomes, hospitality workers, police and firemen, teachers and others vital to the well-being of the entire community.


Speaking Of New Floridians: High interest rates aren’t discouraging folks from flooding into Florida. If voter registration is an indication those newcomers from NY, CA, NJ, etc. have had enough of high taxes, bad schools, and increasing crime.

The massive influx of new residents has also had a positive impact on Florida’s Republican voter registration rolls and a negative one for Democrats.

Overall, from October 2018 to July 2022  Florida has gone from 13,278,070 overall voters to 14,315,755 voters. Democratic Party enrollment rose from 4,962,064 to 4,944,867 — an increase of a meager 17,197.

In 2018 the Republicans were in second place to the Florida Democratic Party voters with 4,681,598 and now outnumber them by 509,420. The 2022 numbers show the state with 5,191,018 Republicans. That means from the 2018 election until this summer, the Florida GOP increased by 10 percent.

The number of non-affiliated voters rose from 3,549,094 to 3,905,562 — an increase of more than 10 percent.

“The biggest number in Florida Politics that no one is talking about: 17,197. While Florida has added 1,037,685 net new voters since Ron DeSantis’ 2018 victory, the Democrat Party only managed to convince 17,197 of them to register as Democrat,” says the website Florida’s Voice.


Who Is Ray Epps? Ray Epps, whoever he is, was recorded on video yelling for people in Washington, D.C. to “Go into the Capitol” on both January 5 and 6, 2021. The crowd around him began pointing and shouting  “No! Fed, Fed” suspecting he was a federal agent planted in their midst.

The New York Times writes glowing pieces about him, and the January 6 Committee doesn’t appear to have any interest in questioning him about his activities during the alleged “riot”. People who did less than Epps are now in jail. What’s up with that?

Some conservative news outlets speculated this past week that due to Republicans’ increased pressure on the Justice Department for more information about “fake protestor Ray Epps this week, the government psyops teams shifted into hyperdrive, spreading incredible fake rumors about Epps all over the internet, in an attempt to flood the information zone so nobody knows what’s true and what’s false.”

They claim there are hundreds, if not thousands, of sketchy twitter accounts claiming “breaking news” that “public information requests” showed Nancy Pelosi had six phone calls with Ray Epps right before January 6th, and that Epps’ wife used to work for Dominion voting systems.

“But” they say, “it’s government misinformation trying to deflect from the real news about Epps.”

What the heck is the real story about this guy? Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson provides an insight here and suggests there’s much more. I’d like to hear what it is.


Like It? Take It! In Portland, Seattle, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angles, San Francisco, etc., if you see something in a store you like that is out of you price range, no problem. Take it as long as it doesn’t cost more than $1,000. It’s only a misdemeanor. Store owners and employees are afraid of being prosecuted or assaulted if they confront you, so have at it. If you’re actually arrested you’ll be back on the street within hours that same day. No problem. No bail. If you do go to court the judge will utter a ”tsk, tsk” and suggest you try to refrain from repeatedly helping yourself to other people’s stuff, but that’s it. However, it’s not as lucrative as the student loan forgiveness sham, which has a $10,000 cap that your neighbors are on the hook for.


Blutarsky’s Windfall: “Seven years of college down the drain…” sighed John “Bluto” Blutarsky, played by John Balushi in the 1978 film Animal House, could now be rewritten as: “Seven years of college on the house” or at least some of it, thanks to Joe Biden.

Today Blutarsky would be a member of the Democratic voting bloc known as “overeducated and underemployed deadbeats” living on handouts from their neighbors particularly the $10,000 loan forgiveness penalty foisted upon American workers by Biden.

The boondoggle loan handout is a Democrat finger in the eye to all Americans who saved or took out loans to start a small business, earned a trade school diploma, paid off their or their kids’ college loans, or never went to college.

So far the Biden administration represents two years of American government down the drain with two to go…if we can survive his financially irresponsible, corrupt and inept administration that much longer.

Hopefully the Republicans can take both the House and Senate in November and bring a halt to the college loan forgiveness crap among other dangerous and economically damaging programs. The dimwitted Biden will probably hit back with another Blutarsky quote: “Did we give up after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Nothing is over until we decide it is!”, he’ll likely shout.


Remember This? “They said the stock market will boom if I am elected,” President Trump said during a 2020 presidential debate. And it did. Referring to Biden he said: “If he’s elected, the stock market will crash.” And it is. If you have an IRA, a 401K, or any other stock investments you probably vividly recall the former president’s prophecy. Let’s hope those delusional twits that voted for this economic misery remember it this coming November when they peek at their rapidly shrinking portfolios.


“A Penny For Your Thoughts….Oh, Wait, Never Mind: North Carolina resident, author, and freelance writer Bill Shuey provides pithy and punchy weekly commentary with one of his most recent and best being about our sad sack President Joe Biden’s habit of claiming other people’s words, thoughts, and honors as his own.

“Biden has a long history of dependence on other people’s thoughts, perhaps that is why he is so leadable and malleable,” says the North Carolina sage. “At one time or another he has plagiarized speeches by: Robert Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, and quoted Neil Kinnock, leader of the British Labor Party verbatim. While at Syracuse University Law School, he failed a course because he got caught plagiarizing an article from the Fordham Law Review. Recently he even plagiarized Trump!”

Shuey goes on to claim that in addition to using other people’s thoughts, Biden has been caught in several lies. He claimed to have graduated “in the top half of my class.” When Biden eventually graduated from law school, he was ranked 76th in a class of 85. “I suppose math isn’t Biden’s forte either,” Shuey adds. “Biden claims to have started his college career at Delaware State, a black college. The university refutes his claim. Either Biden can’t tell the truth or doesn’t have the ability to recognize truth. One makes him a liar, the other an idiot.” I like Mr. Shuey’s style.


In Case You Missed It: Here’s a photo of Fernandina Beach City Commissioner and current Mayor Mike “Left Coast” Lednovich proudly marching downtown demonstrating his public support for Black Lives Matter (BLM), while at the same time that group was shooting and beating people, rioting, burning, and looting. That didn’t appear to bother the California transplant, who recently advocated banning smoking on the beaches here because he says, “smokers violate my rights.” He has never once mentioned the rights of BLM victims.

In this photo he’s wearing a “Fernandina Police” cap despite not being a Fernandina policeman. He’s also wearing a red clown nose but that’s self-evident.

My choice for Left Coast’s Seat 4 on the Commission is Chiropractor Dr. James Antun, who along with his Chiropractor wife, Jayde, owns and operates a medical clinic in Fernandina Beach and has suffered some of the same trials and tribulations at the hands of the city as other small businesspeople hereabouts. Lednovich has contributed nothing but whiney nonsense, insipid comments, misguided advice, and poor judgement. He’s never run a business here but says he has elsewhere, but I doubt it. He isn’t good at running anything but his mouth.

For the City Commission Seat 5, being vacated by Len Kreger, I’m casting my vote for local Firefighter Darron Ayscue, a life-long no-nonsense resident who understands the needs of the city and all of its residents, not just certain segments.


Electric Irony: An alert reader sent me the below photo he took Wednesday, September 28, of an electric car driver near Main Beach filling up eight jugs with gasoline. Florida Power & Light must have been busy bracing for Hurricane Ian as apparently she was unable to fill them with electricity.

  • Comment (5)
  • For any of you investigative reporters out there, the one mill school tax increase coming up has been supported by spurious information out of the school board. Some of the data is factually inaccurate and some is misleading. The flyer contends that the millage rate has dropped significantly over the last ten years. This is partly true (though not to the numbers or extent quoted) but is misleading. The tax collections have increased over the last six years from $58 million to $78 million due to increases in the value of the property in the school district. That’s almost six percent per year. The proposed millage rate increase will add over $14 million of revenue to the school coffers even if the taxable value stays flat. This is an almost 18% increase. I’m not saying that the school district couldn’t wisely spend an additional $14 million per year. I’m just wondering why they need an 18% increase in tax revenues on top of the increases they’ve already gotten. It would also be interesting to know how much the school board (taxpayers) paid the consultant that has put the plan together for them and prepared the publicity. To see how much this will impact your taxes, look at your TRIM notice near the lower right corner at the taxable value for School. Move the decimal three places to the left. That will be your increase in school taxes due to the passage of the ballot initiative. If someone with more time and knowledge could do some research to flesh this out some more, I’d be grateful.

  • Great article by Salena Zito who travels America’s small towns and writes about the reaction to Biden’s student loan bailout where those who avoided a student loan or paid off their loan now find themselves subsidizing someone else’s education.

    On a different note, hope everyone on and off the Island fared Hurricane Ian well. Glad to see that partial seawall did its important job of protecting parking lots C&D from washing away. What, Front Street still flooded? How did that happen? Guess water still follows the laws of nature and seeks the lowest point which is north of the marina, not south. Guess you gotta start somewhere especially if it is “free” money.

  • As a “Born and Bred Florida
    Cracker” the great population
    shift from Neuw Yawk City to
    Florida means many changes
    are in store for us Suthen Folk.
    1- Real Estate prices go up
    to ridiculously high numbers.
    2- Low cost rentals for hourly
    workers become hard to find
    and harder to afford.
    3- The Deep Red political
    state color will change to
    ugly blue and Democrats
    will be the new majority.
    ( God help us )
    4-Lastly: Instead of the
    the usual Southert Drawl
    of You’all, try Youse Guys
    on for size.

    • Real Estate prices are going up everywhere. But to your point, Amelia Island has seen “ridiculously high” property value increases in just the past three years alone. Me thinks St. Marys is what Fernandina Beach was 30 years ago and Cumberland Harbour could be their Amelia Island Plantation (minus the beaches). The addition of Cumberland Inlet could make the southern tip of Georgia a more attractive and affordable alternative for those priced out of Amelia Island. As for Florida turning from Purple to Blue, the numbers don’t bear you out. Since 2020, Democrats have lost over 270,000 registered voters in Florida. On the flip side, Florida’s Republican voter registration advantage is now over 90,000 voters. So either Florida Democrats are dying at a higher rate than Florida Republicans or more Republicans than Democrats are moving into the state.

  • Dave

    If you recall, Blutarsky future was to be a US Senator as per the the ending of Animal House.
    He parlayed his “overeducated and underemployed deadbeats” status into politics ala Bernie Sanders and brain dead Fetterman


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