The Military Impact on Destin Area Real Estate

Posted on by FletcherSales Realty

Most visitors realize that the US military plays an important place in the life of the Emerald Coast. They drive through the vast areas of Eglin Air Force Base while driving south from Crestview to Niceville….or they see the military installations while landing at Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS). Then they head to the beautiful beach and scarcely give it a thought. The fact is – The US military plays an ENORMOUS role in the life of the Emerald Coast and is an important component in understanding Emerald Coast Real Estate.

Interesting info…

 The major installations in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa & Walton Counties are:

Eglin AFB, AAC established in Okaloosa County in 1934, is responsible for development, acquisition, testing, deployment and sustainment of all air-delivered weapons.
Hurlburt Field  headquarters to AF Special Operations Command.  Its mission is to support training and execution of worldwide special air operations.
Duke Field houses the 919th Special Operations Wing, the only special operations unit in the AF Reserve.
Coast Guard Station Destin  commissioned in November 1977, maintains their primary mission of Search and Rescue extending 30 miles off shore.
NAS Whiting Field located in Santa Rosa County, trains student naval aviators in the primary and intermediate phases of fixed-wing aviation, and in the advanced phases of helicopter training.


Besides the obvious benefits detailed above, the military presence here creates SCARCITY…one of the primary factors that gives real estate it’s value. Eglin’s massive size automatically creates scarcity at the South end of Okaloosa County, consuming 41% of its land. The base creates an island of sorts of Okaloosa Island, Destin, Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach. Unlike Panama City Beach, there is simply not an unlimited area of expansion.

To the north side of the Bay, in places like Niceville, Valparaiso, Shalimar and Fort Walton – and also of the County, in places like Crestview, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) will have an enormous impact. US Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), which will move from Ft. Bragg, NC to Eglin AFB. The influx of personnel will be within April and September 2011.  The location of the new Army post is in the north county area south of I10, west of Duke Field. More housing is needed and the powers that be are trying to decide where to build them as I write this.

The Economic Development council of Okaloosa County website is a great resource for info on this and other issues affecting our area and is where the data and photos came from. Check it out!

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