Wakulla County is experiencing some dramatic growth and we've been looking into what's fueling it. Average home prices in Leon County now run from a high of over $200,000 in the northeast to less than $100,000 in the southwest. Homes in Wakulla average $150,000, but more than money is at issue.
It's a bit of a building boom in the Wakulla County subdivision the farms. New homeowners like John and Jean Joubert are in the middle of it.
"We looked all over Tallahassee for a month. Yes, we did. We know Tallahassee very well because we went everywhere."
They moved from Missouri to be closer to family but didn't like what they found in Leon County. Realtor Penny Herman took us for a ride to show us part of the problem. A few quarter-million dollar lots on Thomasville Road were gone in just days.
She searched the local realtor's database for Leon County lots under $50,000. She found fewer than 100.
"Because of the cost now to build and find property in the urban core, it's drive people outside of it to other counties. And that's urban sprawl of the worst kind," Penny Herman says.
Leon planner Rick Fausone admits it's tough to look at a map and tell what land is likely to be develop. Tougher still to make urban planning changes.
Take the 7,000-acre Welaunee plantation. Portions will be developed eventually, but this land counts as what's available now.
"It's just shocking how expensive a house is now in Leon County. Everybody talks about all of these available lots in the urban services area. Where are they? I think we're going to find they're held by 1 or 2 plantation owners," says Tony Grippa.
The Jouberts say for them, money wasn't really the issue, but for others, money really matters. And the bottom line on housing is driving some people out of Leon County. For some younger families, Wakulla's school system is also a draw to the county. We'll take a look at that and other reasons people are moving Friday night.