This time of year we always want to remind our families, friends and clients how special they are to us. We are thankful for each and every one of you! On behalf of NBI and our entire staff, Jayme and I would like to wish you and your loved ones the best Thanksgiving ever! Enjoy this joyous time with your family and friends, and try out our Pumpkin Cornbread recipe if you have a crowd of hungry ones!

Best wishes,

Craig Barrett, Jayme Nabors and the NBI staff

Pumpkin Cornbread


1 1/4 cups corn meal (any brand)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup of canned pumpkin or pumpkin purée
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 T unsalted butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together corn meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl.

In another bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, buttermilk, and pumpkin until thoroughly combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix well.

Melt butter in a skillet. Pour the batter in the skillet and bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool 10-15 minutes before cutting into slices. Enjoy with butter, honey, or prepare this easy Cinnamon Maple Butter:

2 sticks of butter, softened
2 T good quality maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp brown sugar

To prepare: Beat all ingredients until smooth. Pour butter into a small container and chill 2-3 hours.

Florida’s Net Lease Activity Heats Up

Net lease sales are on the rise in Florida, according to a to 2014 Net Lease Florida Report just released by Calkain and Beshears & Associates. According to managing partner and executive Vice President David Sobeleman, the data is important because it marks the first comprehensive net lease market report focused on the state.

“This report is the first of its kind for Florida net lease assets,” Sobelman said. “We feel that our footprint and success in the State of Florida allowed us the privilege to comment firsthand on the net lease market dynamics for the entire state.”

The report details the reason Florida is one of the most active net lease markets in the nation. For starters, population growth, tourism, and strong consumer spending have propelled demand for retail space and new development projects. Craig Barrett, co-founder of NBI Properties in Fort Walton Beach, said the report’s findings are an accurate reflection of leasing activities on the Emerald Coast.

“Net leases are increasingly popular due to several factors and trends,” he noted. “There’s more demand for retail space, an uptick in consumer spending, no state income tax, more jobs coming to Florida, and construction is noticeably picking up as well. All of these things have resulted in considerably more clients interested in making investments in Florida net leased properties.”

Florida hosts a diverse pool of investors comprised of high net worth individuals from the northeast United States, foreign investors and perennially active local owners. The Calkain report concluded these investors all consider the Florida market as a familiar safe haven for their investment dollars. Additional statistics and facts gleaned from the report include:

Net lease retail cap rates averaged 6.52% for Florida tin 2014, roughly 50 basis points lower than the national average; McDonald’s state wide average is a 4.24% cap rate; Wawa’s state wide average is a 5.49% cap rate; pharmacies lead all sectors with the highest ask and sales price; banks lead all sectors with the lowest ask and sales cap rates.

Analysts Predict Rosy 2015 Real Estate Market

Top real estate analysts and economists are predicting the home-purchase market will strengthen along with the economy in 2015, according to Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for November. Freddie Mac economists have made the following projections in housing for the new year:

Mortgage rates: Interest rates will likely be on the rise next year. In recent weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has dipped below 4 percent. But by next year, Freddie projects mortgage rates to average 4.6 percent and inch up to 5 percent by the end of the year.

Home prices: By the time 2014 wraps up, home appreciation will likely have slowed to 4.5 percent this year from 9.3 percent last year. Appreciation is expected to drop further to an average 3 percent in 2015. “Continued house-price appreciation and rising mortgage rates will dampen affordability for home buyers,” according to Freddie economists. “Historically speaking, that’s moving from ‘very high’ levels of affordability to ‘high’ levels of affordability.”

Housing starts: Homebuilding is expected to ramp up in 2015, projected to rise by 20 percent from this year. That will likely help total home sales to climb by about 5 percent, reaching the best sales pace in eight years.

Single-family originations: Mortgage originations of single-family homes will likely slip by an additional 8 percent, which can be attributed to a steep drop in refinancing volume. Refinancings are expected to make up only 23 percent of originations in 2015; they had been making up more than half in recent years.

Multi-family mortgage originations: Mortgage originations for the multi-family sector have surged about 60 percent between 2011 and 2014. Increases are expected to continue in 2015, projected to rise about 14 percent.

Jayme Nabors, co-founder of NBI Properties in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, said that residents and businesses on the Emerald Coast have been expressing optimism about the economy for the last several months.

“Investors and businesses are more confident overall and very excited about growth and opportunities,” he said. “With the economy on the upswing and better-paying jobs coming to the area, the overall feeling is that 2015 may be the best year for real estate that we’ve seen in a long while.”

Florida CRE Boosted By Foreign Investors

Commercial real estate is heating up in Florida, largely thanks to with foreign investors snapping up multifamily and hospitality properties. Brokers and lenders have their hands full dealing with foreigners from around the globe who are much more comfortable investing here than in their homelands where political unrest is much higher. Although South Florida has long been a favorite repository for cash moved from Latin America and South America, prices have risen so high that foreign investors are venturing north into central Florida and Tampa Bay in search of better values and cap rates. Craig Barrett, co-founder and CRE broker at NBI Properties in Fort Walton Beach, said his office has been working with several clients from other countries to find suitable investments in the area.

“We are frequently contacted by foreign clients, and in many cases it is because of referrals from our existing clients,” Barrett said. “They have heard that not only will we help them find properties, but we will guide them through the process of working with local lenders to obtain financing.”

Barrett noted that while a few investors pay with cash, others are using existing investments and properties as collateral for other deals. He added that foreign investors continue to prefer multifamily and hospitality properties because they are more familiar with the business models, but banks definitely deserve some credit for finally loosening their purse strings.

“Lenders are now much more willing to grant loans than they were in recent years,” Barrett said. “Banks that made it through the recession are finally relaxing stringent loan requirements.”

Lenders are stepping up on loans for industrial and hospitality properties, as they expect demand for warehouse space and hotel rooms to increase with favorable economic activity. They are not as eager to finance retail and office properties due to the perceived threat of Internet shopping overtaking retail and an oversupply of properties to lease. In contrast, the newest lenders working with investors are less concerned about risk and are more inclined to lend money for acquisition, development and refinancing. These lenders are supporting urban infill, smaller retail developments, and re-development.

Wounded Air Force Vet Gets New Home

Here at NBI Properties, we have a tremendous respect for all of the local military families who make sacrifices to serve our nation. Recently our hearts were warmed by a story in the Northwest Florida Daily News about Ret. Air Force Master Sgt. Joe Deslauriers getting a brand new home. Building Homes for Heroes built the home in Destin for Joe, a triple amputee,and his family. Last week they saw it for the first time and it was a dream come true. Joe and his wife, Lisa, moved into the fully-customized home with their son, Cameron, while many volunteers and community members welcomed them.

The house warming ceremony marked three years since Joe and his wife, Lisa, were homeowners. Previously the couple lived in Fort Walton Beach where Joe was an explosive ordinance disposal technician before he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. At the time, Lisa was pregnant with their first child and was due in December. But their dreams were shattered on September 23 when Joe lost both legs and part of an arm in an accident while clearing an area of improvised bombs to get to an injured Marine.

Since the accident, it’s been a long road of recovery for Joe, as he’s been shuffled in and out of hospitals and rehab facilities. and temporary housing. Since he returned home from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the family has been living in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment in Destin. That was before Building Homes for Heroes stepped in to build a new home for the Deslauriers. Board member Kelly Hallman said that the home was built from the ground up by volunteers and the family would not owe dime when they moved in.

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz spoke briefly at the ceremony, noting that no matter what he and state Rep. Matt Gaetz were able to do in the Legislature, they weren’t doing the “heavy lifting.”

“The real heavy lifting was done by Joe Deslauriers and his family and everyone who has worn the uniform and stood in harm’s way,” Don Gaetz said.

The family is grateful and wants to show their appreciation by giving back to the community. Next month, Joe will be speaking with area students on Veterans Day. Through Building Homes for Heroes, he and Lisa have become part of a support network for other wounded service members.

Source: Northwest Florida Daily News

Horses Grow in Popularity on the Emerald Coast

If you’re one of the locals or visitors to the Emerald Coast who think horses are popping up everywhere, you’d be right! From horseback rides at sunset on the area’s sugar white beaches to horse farms, boarding stables, and dressage competitions, the area has seemingly gone wild for horses.

A search for all things horse-related in the area turns up dozens of options. You can easily buy a thoroughbred from a reputable horse dealer, find a stable for boarding your horses or rent horses by the hour from numerous pleasure riding businesses. There are also several equestrian centers where you can learn how to ride horses, train them for competitions, and buy tackle and supplies. Craig Barrett, co-founder of NBI Properties, watched horseback riding grow in popularity on the Emerald Coast for years before finally catching the bug and buying two Tennessee Walkers. He said the area is ideal for horse enthusiasts and owners alike.

” The climate here is ideal for horses because it’s never terribly cold,” he said. ” There are so many recreational spots and scenic areas here, and to be able to experience it all on horseback is a unique experience. Tourists love to add horseback riding to their vacation schedules because it’s a memorable way to enjoy the trails and beaches here.”

Barrett said that his firm is getting more inquiries about horses from investors and residents contemplating a move to the area. He said most people want to know if there are plenty of places designated for riding and if there are numerous options for boarding.

“I think some people are surprised when they see the number of businesses devoted to horses here,” he said. “It’s not just one or two stables, because people here are making horse part of their lifestyle.”

Barrett and his wife board their two prized Tennessee Walkers, Dollar and Denali, at Bayside Stables in Santa Rosa Beach. He said the owner, Judy Ammons, is fantastic, the rates are reasonable, and he’s met several fellow horse lovers there.

“There’s nothing better than visiting these beautiful animals every day, even when there’s no time to ride them,” he said. “I like to go to the horse barn every day after work and take them apples and treats. Any stress of the work day quickly melts away.”

For more information about Bayside Stables, call (850) 585-0728.

Investors Flocking to Office Sector

Commercial real estate reports indicate that things are definitely improving in the office sector: Falling vacancies, rising net absorption, a controlled supply of new office space, and rising rents are all contributing to the upswing and investors report they are seeing higher property incomes on their office property investments. The end result is that the office vacancy rate has dropped to 11.6 percent from 12.1 percent a year ago.

Craig Barrett, co-founder of NBI Properties in Fort Walton Beach, said that leasing activity on the Emerald Coast is strong and the brokerage is seeing steady interest from investors.

“Savvy investors are recognizing this is the best time to invest in the office sector and are making moves before the end of the year,” he said. “Rents are rising and occupancy growth is spiraling upward, so it’s a good time to invest now without assuming much risk.”

Average office rents have risen 3.6 percent year-over-year, a rise from the 2.5 percent increase reported in the third quarter of 2013 from year-over-year. Although energy and technology tenants are driving growth in large markets like San Francisco, Houston, and Boston, medical office and educational facilities are also increasing in demand.

“Even smaller ,arrest and suburban areas are experiencing an uptick in office space leasing now,” said Barrett. “As the economy continues to improve and more jobs are created, this is a trend that could carry over into 2015 and beyond.”

CRE Investors Mulling Over Future of Malls

Plenty of commercial real estate investors are pondering the future of shopping malls since almost half of the 1,100 malls across the U.S. have either closed or have been revamped for other uses. While online sales continue to grow, some investors optimistically feel malls will find a way to stay popular with customers while others believe malls will be almost non-existent by the next decade. Craig Barrett, co-founder of NBI Properties in Fort Walton Beach, says that malls are alive and well on the Emerald Coast, but he is aware of dwindling traffic in other areas of the country.

“We’re aware that lots of malls are closing their doors as the recession forced lots of customers to look for better deals online,” he said. “The competition from online retailers has forced malls to reinvent themselves and take a closer look at how they can continue to attract customers, whether it’s with special events, sales, or other marketing techniques.”

If malls manage to survive another decade, store sizes are expected to dramatically shrink. The current brick and mortar trend leans toward reducing operating costs by reducing expensive square footage in malls. This means that some commercial investors are going to see more vacancies in the future and little need to expand and build new retail space.

“We don’t think consumers are going to stop going to malls any time soon,” noted Barrett. “But retail is changing and the look of malls is also expected to change. We think some extravagant displays will disappear as stores morph into mini-distribution centers. Merchandise will need to be displayed in smaller spaces as all stores downsize and study ways to use smaller areas more efficiently.”

Barrett added that it’s been a good year for retailers at malls and outlet malls all over the Emerald Coast. He said that tourists and residents also frequently flock to mixed-use developments that offer the convenience of shopping for everything in one spot.

“The most popular retail centers here offer grocery stores, gyms, dry cleaning, shopping and more services all in one place,” he said. “Time-pressed consumers want to get everything done in one spot instead of making five or it different trips to get everything done.”

Investors High on Florida’s Business Climate

Florida is open for business, and this time it’s not just politicians making promises. According to a survey of U.S. corporate executives released recently at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference, Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina are viewed as having the best business climates in the United States. The Development Counselors International (DCI) has conducted the survey of corporate executives and site selection consultants every three years since 1996.
The Sunshine State ranked second with 18.1 percent of survey respondents praising the state’s pro-business climate. Georgia and North Carolina tied for third with 17.6 percent of the votes, followed by South Carolina and Tennessee.
Texas has consistently held the No. 1 spot since 1999, and it was the clear-cut favorite among the respondents to the survey: 49.7 percent said the Lone Star state has one of the most favorable business climates in the nation.
When asked why they selected Florida and the other top five states as best for business, the corporate executives frequently cited tax climate, “pro-business environment,” incentives/financial assistance and workforce quality/availability.
NBI Properties co-founder Craig Barrett said he has nothing against Texas, but obviously thinks Florida and the Emerald Coast should be ranked number one.
“Things might be bigger in Texas, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are better!” Barrett joked. “I can’t remember the last time we had an investor trying to decide whether to acquire properties in Texas or Florida. If we did, I’m sure they picked Florida!”
All kidding aside, Barrett said that commercial real estate investors frequently mention they are pleased with Florida’s friendly business environment, tax breaks, and workforce, not to mention the beautiful weather.
“It’s hard to beat what we have to offer in northwest Florida, although we admit we are biased since we’ve lived here for four generations,” Barrett added.
The survey also found that 44 percent of corporate executives said that their firm would make a location decision in the next 24 months – whether it is a move, expansion or consolidation of a manufacturing plant, office, distribution center or other facilities. Forty percent said they would outsource a portion of the site selection process to a real estate broker or site selection consultant.

CRE Investor Sentiment Remains High for Emerald Coast Properties

Although the stock market has been topsy turvy and difficult to predict the last few months, investors are confident about the outlook for commercial real estate and are proving it by investing more capital. Results from a recent survey of investor sentiment by Marcus & Millichap revealed that a whopping 70 percent of respondents said they are planning to increase their commercial real estate investments during the next year. Only 24 percent said they would keep their holdings about the same while 4 percent said they expected their portfolio would decline over the next year.
Craig Barrett, co-founder of NBI Properties in Fort Walton Beach, said interest from investors remains high due to fluctuations in the stock market and many desirable locations and listings on the Emerald Coast. He said the firm has been busy fielding inquiries and offers on a number of prime waterfront properties, raw land, and multi-use buildings.
“There are plenty of opportunities here for investors and we regularly work with them from all over the country and overseas,” Barrett said. “We have been much busier than we were last year at this time with commercial real estate listings, closings and property management.”
The Investor Sentiment Index measured views on fundamentals such as rising property values and plans to increase real estate holdings. Survey findings showed that commercial real estate properties will continue to command higher rents, occupancies, and property values. The conclusion is that sentiment remains high due to attractive yields commercial real estate is delivering compared to other investments. Nearly three-fourths of the respondents said they strongly agreed that commercial real estate offers favorable returns compared to other investment opportunities. Twenty-four percent disagreed with the statement while 2 percent had no comment.
Barrett said that another reason commercial real estate has been on the upswing in Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Crestview and other areas of the Emerald Coast is because investors have capital ready to invest. He said in previous years during the recession, this was definitely not the case.
“Investors are having an easier time getting the capital and the financing they need,” he said. “Because of the steady economic recovery, they are no longer waiting months to get alternative financing or approval on loans. This has resulted in more investors interested in everything from apartment buildings to luxury resorts.”
For more information on commercial real estate offerings on the Emerald Coast, contact NBI Properties at 850-243-0007.