Florida Real Estate Enjoyed a Strong September With Sales and Prices on the Rise

In September, Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, more new pending sales, rising median prices and more new listings compared to a year ago despite the ongoing pandemic, according to the latest housing data from Florida Realtors.

Single-family existing-home sales rose 22 percent compared to September 2019.

“Florida’s housing sector continues to be a bright spot for the state’s economy amid the ongoing pandemic,” said Florida Realtors President Barry Grooms, a realtor and the co-owner of Florida Suncoast Real Estate in Bradenton. “September’s market data shows that there are motivated buyers, but the lack of for-sale inventory is affecting their search for their Florida dream home. Statewide inventory for single-family existing homes last month was at the record low of a 2.2-months’ supply. That imbalance of supply and demand could impact the market in the long-term as housing shortages continue to put pressure on prices and affordability.”

Last month’s closed sales of single-family homes statewide rose 22 percent year-over-year, totaling 28,675, while existing condo-townhouse sales increased 25.3 percent over September 2019 and totaled 11,290. 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 September for 105 consecutive months. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $300,000, up 13.2 percent 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 $217,500, up 12.7 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

According to Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor, the September data reported a significant milestone for 2020: the year-to-date total of closed existing single-family home sales now exceeds the total from the first nine months of 2019.

“Given all that’s occurred this year, it’s hard to believe we’re already in positive territory again, but here we are,” he said. “And all indications are that we will continue to see strong sales this fall as mortgage interest rates will almost certainly remain at or near record lows. New pending sales of single-family homes were very strong in September, rising by 31.4 percent year-over-year, while new pending sales of condos and townhouses were up a dramatic 43 percent.”

The national inventory shortage is the biggest constraint to the housing market right now, O’Connor said.

“Builder confidence, as measured by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, hit an all-time high in September,” he said. “However, the construction industry continues to face challenges such as low labor productivity and skilled labor shortages, high prices on materials, land constraints and the usual mix of regulatory impediments that can make it difficult to produce the types of homes that are in greatest demand – particularly single-family starter homes. In the short- to medium-term, we’re really going to have to rely on new listings of existing homes for more inventory – but even then, since sellers are usually buyers, too, this can only help so much.”

Statewide, new listings rose year-over-year in both property type categories in September, up by 12.1 percent for single-family existing homes and 21.1 percent for condo and townhouse units.

On the supply side of the market, inventory (active listings) continues to be tight, especially for single-family existing homes, which were at a 2.2-months’ supply in September. Condo-townhouse inventory was at a 5.1-months’ supply.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.89 perceny in September 2020, down from the 3.61 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier.

 

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