Home sales up double digits in county hardest hit by Michael

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter surveys the damage wrought by Hurricane Michael over Mexico Beach, Florida. October 11, 2018. Photo by James E. Wyatt.

Real estate experts say investors and demand caused by Hurricane Michael's destruction led to a 15.5 percent increase in home sales for the first half of the year in the Florida county hardest hit by the Category 5 storm.

The median sales price for a home in Bay County also is up 1.1 percent year-over-year, according to Florida Realtors.

Karen Smith, who owns a real estate company, tells the Panama City News Herald that the housing demand comes from construction workers who moved to the county to help rebuild and renters who lost their homes.

She says many people who previously rented are now looking to buy a home because of soaring rents and little supply.

Hurricane Michael made landfall last October in the Panhandle county.