Fla.’s Housing Market Continues Strong in January 2021

Florida Realtors’ data: Single-family home sales rose 18% year-over-year, median sales price up 15.1%; condo sales up 24.6%, median price up 15%. Chief Economist O’Connor: Closed sales in Jan. were “way, way above our historical average,” which is likely for most, if not all, of 2021.

Florida’s housing market continued to show momentum in January even with the ongoing pandemic, with more closed sales, rising median prices, more new pending sales and increased pending inventory compared to a year ago, according to Florida Realtors® latest housing data. Single-family existing home sales rose 18% compared to a year ago.

“2021 began with the same market conditions we saw over the previous months, such as very low mortgage rates, high buyer demand and a lack of inventory,” said 2021 Florida Realtors President Cheryl Lambert, broker-owner with Only Way Realty Citrus in Inverness. “This shortfall in inventory continues to put pressure on home prices. However, new pending sales increased 16.9% for single-family existing homes last month compared to January 2020, while new pending sales for condo-townhouse units rose 32% year-over-year.

In January, closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 21,587, up 18% year-over-year, while existing condo-townhouse sales totaled 9,608, up 24.6% over January 2020. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $305,000, up 15.1% from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $230,000, up 15% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor noted that Florida’s housing market kicked off 2021 on a strong note.

“Eighteen percent year-over-year growth in single-family sales and 25% growth in condo and townhouse sales is way, way above our historical average – and we will likely remain well above our historical average for most, if not all, of 2021,” he said. “The primary reason is that mortgage rates will likely remain quite low for the duration of the year. The Federal Reserve has repeatedly signaled it intends to pursue a monetary policy agenda that ensures this will be the case.

“That said, economic forecasters have reached something of a consensus that mortgage rates have finally reached a bottom. Interest rates are, of course, notoriously difficult to forecast, so you never really can be sure exactly where they’ll be 12 months from now – then again, it’s a reason to take notice when everyone’s forecasts actually agree on something. However, there is still some mild disagreement among prominent forecasters in terms of how fast rates will rise from here – although no one is currently predicting rates are going to rise too significantly.”

Taking a look at the supply side of the market, last year’s decline in active listings of existing homes for sale continued into January 2021, according to O’Connor.

He added, “To be clear, I’ve pointed out that year-over-year growth in new listings – at least on a statewide basis – was positive over the second half of 2020. It’s just the pace of sales has been so phrenetic that these new listings have not replaced enough of our inventory to reverse the trend. However, in January 2021, new listings of single-family homes were down over 10% year-over-year in what is normally a strong month for new listings. Likewise, new listings of condos and townhouses were down statewide by almost 7%. We’ll need to keep an eye on new listings for the next few months to see if this is really a downshift or just a one-time decline.”

On the supply side of the market, inventory (active listings) continued to be constrained in January. Single-family existing homes were at a very restricted 1.6-months’ supply while condo-townhouse inventory was at a 3.9-months’ supply.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.75% in January 2021, significantly lower than the 3.62% averaged during the same month a year earlier.

 

Fla.’s Housing Market Wraps Up 2020 Strong Despite COVID-19

Florida Realtors’ latest data: Single-family home sales in 2020 up 5.8% year-over-year, median price at $290K up 9.6%. Condo-townhouse sales up 2.5%, median price at $215K, up 12% from 2019. Chief Economist O’Connor: “Sales of Florida homes in the 4Q were very strong.”

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic challenges, Florida’s housing market wrapped up 2020 with more sales, higher median sale prices and more pending inventory compared to the year before, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“For much of 2020, our homes became the hub for our daily lives, with people working remotely, children taking classes online, and many restaurants and entertainment options on lockdown due to the pandemic,” says 2021 Florida Realtors President Cheryl Lambert, broker-owner with Only Way Realty Citrus in Inverness. “It’s a testament to Florida’s resilient housing market and ongoing buyer demand that home sales at the end of the year topped 2019’s totals. And with mortgage rates still historically low, buyer interest remains high into 2021 – but record low for-sale inventory levels continue to put upward pressure on prices and availability.”

4Q 2020

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 86,543 in the fourth quarter of 2020, up 23.6% compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

“Sales of Florida homes in the fourth quarter were very strong compared to a year ago,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “Meanwhile, there’s a constrained supply of inventory (active listings), which we’ve been seeing for some time. That shortage, coupled with the very low mortgage rates that are helping to drive buyer demand, keep pushing home values upward.”

The statewide median sales price for existing single-family homes for 4Q 2020 was $306,000, up 14.6% from 4Q 2019. New pending sales for existing single-family homes for the quarter rose 22.2% compared to a year ago, while new listings were up 3.5% from 4Q 2019.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of condo-townhouses, a total of 35,865 units sold statewide in 4Q 2020, up 29.4% compared to the same period a year earlier. The statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties for the quarter was $226,000, up 15% over the previous year. New pending sales for condo-townhouses for 4Q 2020 increased 30.9% compared to a year ago, while new listings were up 5.9% from the same quarter the previous year.

Year End 2020

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 310,378 at the end of 2020, up 5.8% compared to the 2019 figure, according to Florida Realtors data.

Chief Economist O’Connor noted that by the end of the year, the -off in Florida’s housing market from February into early May – due to COVID-19 – had not only leveled out, but sales outpaced the previous year in both the single-family homes and condo-townhouse categories.

“We’ve seen a substantial increase in the dollar volume of sales in 2020, due to increasing sales, rising prices and a greater share of our sales being among the luxury tiers this year (2020) vs. 2019,” he says. “For all residential property types, we were up 20.3% to over $160 billion (total of $162.3 billion) in dollar volume in sales of existing homes in 2020. Florida totaled $124.6 billion in volume in single-family home sales in 2020, up 22.5% from 2019, while condo-townhouse sales reached $36.2 billion in volume, up 13.7% from the previous year.”

Looking to 2021, O’Connor said he expects the trends from the end of 2020 to continue.

“I think we will continue to have robust sales growth,” he says. “As we get closer to vaccination really making a dent in the threat from COVID-19, we might see more people starting to consider upgrading or changing to a different home to take advantage of interest rates while they remain in the low to mid-3% range – which is what most forecasters currently predict.”

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes at year’s end was $290,000, up 9.6% from the previous year. New pending sales for existing single-family homes rose 9.2% at the end of 2020 compared to the previous year, though new listings for single-family homes ped (-2.8%) from a year ago.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of condo-townhouses, a total of 119,336 units sold statewide in 2020, up 2.5% over 2019. The statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties at the end of the year was $215,000, up 12% from year-end 2019. New pending sales for condo-townhouse units for the end of 2020 increased 6.2% compared to a year ago, while new listings for condo-townhouses rose 1.1% from year-end 2019.

At the end of 2020 and also for 4Q 2020, inventory (active listings) for single-family homes stood at a 1.8-months’ supply, while inventory for condo-townhouse properties was at a 4.2-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors.

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.11% for 2020, down significantly from the previous year’s average of 3.94%, according to Freddie Mac.

 

Fla.’s Housing Market: Strong Gains in Dec. Despite Pandemic

Florida Realtors Dec. data: More closed sales (single-family sales up 21%, condo-townhouse sales up 27.7%), more new pending sales, higher median prices and more new listings year-over-year. Chief Economist O’Connor: Higher pending sales “strongly signal” higher closed sales into 2021.

Despite the ongoing pandemic and a still struggling jobs outlook, Florida’s housing market in December showed more closed sales, more new pending sales, higher median prices and more new listings compared to a year ago, according to Florida Realtors® latest housing data. Single-family existing home sales rose 21% compared to a year ago.

“The strength and resilience of Florida’s housing market in 2020 has been remarkable – even with the challenges caused by the ongoing global pandemic and the resulting economic turmoil, the market in December ended on a high note,” says 2021 Florida Realtors President Cheryl Lambert, broker-owner with Only Way Realty Citrus in Inverness. “Mortgage rates remain historically low and there’s great interest from buyers throughout the state. However, a continued shortage of for-sale inventory is having an impact on prices and attainable, affordable housing.”

In December, closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 30,478, up 21% year-over-year, while existing condo-townhouse sales totaled 12,752, up 27.7% over December 2019. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

The statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties rose year-over-year in December for 108 consecutive months. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $309,000, up 14.4% from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $230,000, up 13.7% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor noted that December’s closed sales for existing single-family homes was the second highest total for any month in 2020.

“Last winter we were on pace to have one of the best years on record in residential real estate,” he said. “The pandemic dashed those dreams in March, of course, but the housing market has since come roaring back – right now a lot of the right factors are in place for us to get off to another really strong start in 2021. New pending sales of single-family homes were up 30.7% year-over-year in December, while new pending condo and townhouse sales were up 42.6%, which strongly signals that we’re going to see this surge in closed sales continue into at least the first couple of months of this year.”

O’Connor added, “For all of 2020, we ended up with almost 6% more closed single-family home sales across the state than in 2019. But our current rate of sales is better exemplified by what took place during the second half of 2020, with single-family home sales marking an 18% year-over-year increase. And December’s strong finish for condo and townhouse sales put its annual total for 2020 ahead of its 2019 total by 2.5%.”

The state’s luxury market led the way throughout the second half of 2020, O’Connor noted, and coupled with the overall increase in home value appreciation across the board during that time, it resulted in a dollar volume of sales in 2020 that was far greater than in 2019.

“The dollar volume of closed single-family home sales rose by 22.5% in 2020 to nearly $125 billion,” he said. “Closed sales in the condo and townhouse category, meanwhile, ended the year with an annual total dollar volume in excess of $36 billion, for an increase of just under 14%.”

New listings statewide increased year-over-year in both property type categories in December, up 10% for single-family existing homes and 11.4% for condo and townhouse units.

On the supply side of the market, inventory (active listings) remained restricted, particularly in the single-family existing home category, which was at a very limited 1.8-months’ supply in December. Condo-townhouse inventory was at a 4.2-months’ supply.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.68% in December 2020, significantly lower than the 3.72% averaged during the same month a year earlier.

 

 
 

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