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Florida home sales up by 8 percent, prices by 4 percent this year over 2018

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By Ivan Cholakov | Shutterstock.com

By John Haughey | The Center Square

“Median sales prices for both existing single-family homes and for condo-townhouse properties rose in Florida during the third quarter – continuing the ongoing trend,” said Florida Realtors President Eric Sain, a Palm Beach Realtor.

Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written. “Pending inventory” is the number of listed properties under contract on Sept. 30, the last day of the third quarter.

According to the market data report, closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 78,759 in the third quarter of 2019, up 8.1 percent from 2018’s third quarter.

Florida Realtors – which represents 187,000 members in a statewide network of 51 real estate boards/associations – fixes the statewide median sales price for existing single-family homes in the third quarter of 2019 at $265,000, up 3.9 percent from the same time a year ago.

“Florida’s business-friendly outlook continues to attract investment and growth, as well as new residents, which provide a strong foundation for the state’s housing market,” Florida Realtors states in the report, which cites state economists and researchers from the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research (OEDR) reports that show Florida’s annual private-sector job growth rate of 2.8 percent continues to outpace the national job growth rate of 1.6 percent.

“Job growth, an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent in September, and a growing population continue to keep Florida’s economy strong,” Florida Realtor states in its report, referring to projections that the state will add 330,000 people a year and top 30 million in population by 2030.

An analysis of Florida’s condo-townhouse market shows statewide sales of 29,539 units sold between July and September, up 2.2 percent compared to the same time frame a year ago.

The statewide median condo-townhouse price during the quarter was $190,000, up 4.1 percent over the year-ago figure, according to Florida Realtors, noting “the median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.”

Inventory was at a 3.6-months’ supply in the third quarter of 2019 for single-family homes and at a 5.3-months’ supply for condo-townhouse properties, according to Florida Realtors.

“Inventory levels – particularly among single-family homes for sale – continued to fall throughout the third quarter,” Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor said. “But so did mortgage interest rates, which provided opportunities for both prospective and current homeowners.”

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.67 percent for the third quarter of 2019, far lower than the 4.57 percent average recorded during the third quarter of 2018.

During the third quarter of 2019, the report documents new pending sales for existing single-family homes rose 4.4 percent while pending inventory was up 1.7 percent.

During the same three months, according to Florida Realtors, condo-townhouse new pending sales rose 0.5 percent while pending inventory increased 0.9 percent.

O’Connor explained that current owners “locked into low mortgage rates from a few years back have been waiting for a chance to buy a bigger or better home at similar rates – and that’s exactly what we saw happen throughout the summer.”

The favorable interest rates encourage existing homeowners to “upgrade,” creating an inventory for first-time homebuyers.

According to an August “State Migration Study” by Lending Tree, the nation’s largest “online lending marketplace,” Florida’s housing and real estate markets are expected to benefit from the state’s status as the nation’s top destination for growing migration of wealthy tax refugees and businesses.

The Lending Tree study cites 2016 IRS data that “shows people who moved to Florida brought a combined adjusted gross income [AGI] of about $30.2 billion to the state. Meanwhile, people who left took roughly $12.5 billion in income with them, leaving Florida to enjoy a net influx of about $17.7 billion in AGI.”

That net flux of $17.7 billion in AGI is more than the next 19 states in AGI growth combined, according to the IRS.

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