Cayo Costa Realtors Are Getting More Listings

A tiny Florida beach town is rebuilding after a hurricane. Is it becoming a preserve of the rich?

Cayo Costa

If you’ve noticed the names on the road signs along the north coast of Florida as you’ve passed through the small town of Cayo Costa, it might take you a moment to realize that these are the real-estate names from back in the day. It’s Cayo Costa Realtors, who have been running the listings in the area since the 70s.

The real-estate firm, founded in 1959, is headed by Joe Coronado, who claims to be the first Hispanic in the town in its 200-year history.

But as Hurricane Michael hit, Coronado said he was shocked as all the signs — which often featured local celebrities, politicians and musicians — went off the grid.

“We’re the only ones left without real-estate agents or signs out here,” Coronado said of the storm’s impact on the town.

“We’re not even going to be able to get the post offices open,” he added. “I understand they’re being repaired and we’re not.”

Coronado is one of many who have seen a rise in listings in recent years. In June, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that there were 1,060 properties listed in Cayo Costa, a city of 7,000 that, in the last decade alone, has grown from a sleepy town to an area in the cross hairs of real-estate buyers.

And many properties are still out of reach for real-estate investors.

More listings means higher prices, said Bob DeGraaf, director of the Sarasota County Public Real-Estate Association, who is working with Coronado after having worked on local listings for nearly 30 years.

“We have an aging population,” DeGraaf said. “We get a lot of retirees. The average age is 68.”

The combination of higher prices and reduced inventory in Cayo Costa has been driving the rise in real-estate prices the last few years, he said.

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