The small Santa Rosa County island has had 134 single-family dwellings built there since 2012, reported Santa Rosa County.

NAVARRE BEACH — For nearly 50 years, Phil Babiak has been involved in the Navarre Beach real estate market.

The co-owner and broker of Century 21, Babiak remembers the day he sold his first lot on the Gulf front for $6,000 as a 25-year-old.

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Now at age 75, property on the 4-mile stretch of barrier island sells for about $1 million, he said.

“It was a little bit different when I started,” said Babiak, chuckling. “I thought someday the top prices would be $50,000. It has exceeded that by a large number as well.”

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The small Santa Rosa County island has had 134 single-family dwellings built there since 2012, reported Santa Rosa County. Navarre Beach has 1,153 non-homestead residents and 409 homestead or local residents. That’s a total of 1,562 homes with a total property value of $695 million, according to the Santa Rosa County property appraiser office.

In the past eight years, the highest number of homes built was 25 in 2018 and 2015. The fewest, four, were built in 2012.

Babiak said people treasure Navarre Beach because it has some of the most pristine and low density property between Panama City and Gulf Shores, Alabama.

He also pointed out that completion of the widening of State Road 87 to four lanes this summer makes Navarre Beach easier to access and more attractive.

Chanda Ryan, the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, said some of the homes are being replaced after Hurricane Ivan destroyed them.

She added that people have liked that Windjammers and SpringHill Suites offer unique local shops, shying away from big retail chain stores commonly found elsewhere on the Gulf Coast.

“The fact that Navarre Beach has opened local retail shops makes Navarre Beach that much more special,” Ryan said. “What we have is unique to Navarre Beach and showcases a lot more local artists.”