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Fla.’s Home Sales and Prices Up, Inventory Tight in March

Florida Realtors’ data: Single-family home sales rose 23.3% year-over-year, median sales price up 18.9%; condo sales up 52.6%, median price up 15.2%. The coronavirus was first detected in Fla. on March 1, 2020; therefore, last March’s data was the first to reflect the pandemic’s impact.

Florida’s housing market continues its momentum in March, with more closed sales, higher median prices, more new pending sales and increased pending inventory compared to a year ago, according to Florida Realtors® latest housing data. The coronavirus was first detected in Florida on March 1, 2020.

“Even as we continue to deal with the pandemic and the real impact that COVID-19 has had on our lives, this spring is very different from what we saw last year,” said 2021 Florida Realtors President Cheryl Lambert, broker-owner with Only Way Realty Citrus in Inverness. “Intense buyer demand, combined with the high level of home sales sparked by very low interest rates, continue to reduce inventory levels, which is challenging for potential homebuyers. Due in part to this extreme shortfall of homes for sale relative to high demand, home prices keep rising, which also impacts the availability and affordability of housing options, especially for first-time buyers.”

Closed sales of single-family homes statewide in March totaled 32,819, up 23.3% year-over-year, while existing condo-townhouse sales totaled 16,518, up 52.6% over March 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 $327,000 up 18.9% 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 $242,000, up 15.2% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Florida’s housing market is off to a strong start for this year’s spring buying season, according to Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. However, he explained that the rate of sales growth in the condo-townhouse category continues to “steal the show” – its year-over-year sales growth (up 52.6% this March) has outpaced single-family home sales since last August, even though condo and townhouse sales were hit particularly hard early in the pandemic.

Why are condo and townhouse sales increasing so much relative to single-family home sales?

“For one thing, there is just so little single-family inventory available, especially in more affordable price ranges,” O’Connor said. “We have a very large population group, the millennials, who have moved into their prime home-buying years. However, in recent years, builders have not been building the classic single-family detached starter homes that young American families have long dreamed of one day owning – therefore, there aren’t enough of these homes available for resale to meet the overwhelming level of demand. Any that are listed frequently have bidding wars that price out many young prospective buyers.

“Increasingly, these buyers are giving up on single-family homes and are turning to attached condo and townhouse units instead. Even though these buyers might have had their hearts set on a single-family home, they’re realizing mortgage rates aren’t going to remain this low forever, and they don’t want to wait until they’re well into their 40s or 50s to start building up home equity. More and more, they’re seeing that condos and townhouses are the properties that give them the best opportunity to do that right now.”

In looking at March’s eye-popping positive numbers for new pending sales – up 48.2% for single-family homes and 126.4% for condos and townhouses – Chief Economist O’Connor noted that new pending sales were the first statistic to feel the brunt of the pandemic last year, and so were considerably down last March.

“That’s the reason these year-over-year numbers are so huge,” he said. “It might be more useful, then, to compare this March’s new pending sales to those from two years ago, in March 2019. And when we do that, we find that new pending sales were up by a very satisfying 14% for single-family homes and 47% for condo-townhouse properties.”

On the supply side of the market, inventory (active listings) remained constrained in February. Single-family existing homes were at a very low 1.2-months’ supply while condo-townhouse inventory was at a 2.8-months’ supply.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.08% in March 2021, significantly lower than the 3.45% averaged during the same month a year earlier.

 

 

Fla.’s Housing Market: More Sales, Higher Median Prices in Feb. 2021

Florida Realtors’ data: Single-family home sales rose 15.7% year-over-year, median sales price up 16.6%; condo sales up 28.7%, median price up 16.6%. Chief Economist O’Connor: Fewer new listings and a tight inventory means a strong seller’s market.

Amid increased COVID-19 vaccinations and hopeful signs for the future, Florida’s housing market in February reported more closed sales, higher median prices, more new pending sales and increased pending inventory in February 2021 compared to a year ago, according to Florida Realtors® latest housing data. Single-family existing home sales rose 15.7 % compared to February 2020.

“Florida’s housing market continued its momentum in February, but higher interest rates could be a factor going forward,” says 2021 Florida Realtors President Cheryl Lambert, broker-owner with Only Way Realty Citrus in Inverness“While rising rates could potentially slow the pace of home sales, rates remain relatively low by historical standards. Record-low inventory is continuing to put pressure on home prices to rise and creates challenges for buyers. However, new pending sales rose 10.9% for single-family existing homes last month compared to February 2020, while new pending sales for condo-townhouse units increased 35.4% year-over-year.

Closed sales of single-family homes statewide in February totaled 23,947, up 15.7% year-over-year, while existing condo-townhouse sales totaled 11,379, up 28.7% over February 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 $314,900, up 16.6% 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 $233,240, up 16.6% 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 notes that Florida’s current housing market is a strong seller’s market, with fewer new listings and a very tight inventory (active listings), particularly for single-family existing homes.

He says, “The statewide inventory of active single-family home listings, which Florida Realtors has been tracking since January 2008, is currently at an all-time low. At the end of February, single-family inventory was down 56.3% compared to a year ago. Most of this decline has been a result of our ultra-high rate of sales.

“However, so far in 2021, new listings of single-family homes have not kept up with their pace of 12 months ago. In February, they were down 4.9% year-over-year, which is an improvement over January, but still represents a move in the wrong direction. There’s a likelihood that much of this decline has been due to some sellers, who in normal times might have listed in January or February, instead listing ahead of 2021 in response to the unusually strong market in the second half of 2020. But there’s also the possibility that a small but increasing number of homeowners, who have been thinking of selling their current home and buying another one, are starting to get turned off by the lack of available inventory and the rising prices that have resulted from it.”

The condo-townhouse category shows a slightly different picture, O’Connor says.

“In February, closed sales in this category rose 28.7% year-over-year, which is consistent with the growth rates we’ve been seeing each month going back to September,” he says. “Some of this growth is likely being fueled by frustrated buyers who had their hearts set on a single-family home finally giving up and settling for an attached unit instead, but we’re also seeing high demand from folks with the typical condo- and townhouse-buyer profile, as well. And while inventory in this category is still high relative to what we’re seeing in the single-family home category, it was down 34.4% compared to a year ago.”

On the supply side of the market, inventory (active listings) remained constrained in February. Single-family existing homes were at a very restricted 1.3-months’ supply while condo-townhouse inventory was at a 3.4-months’ supply.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.81% in February 2021, significantly lower than the 3.47% 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.

 
 

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