The month of February demonstrated continued, positive trends for the Florida housing market. As the median price and pending sales rose, the inventory of homes dropped in the state of Florida. While existing home sales slipped in the month of February, the number of sales is significantly higher than a year ago. According to Florida Realtors President, Summer Greene, “growing optimism about the economy, gains in the state’s jobs market and continued low mortgage rates are generating interest in Florida real estate,” (Greene). And for good reason. These positive trends are not just isolated economic occurrences. As Greene stated, there are positive signs with Florida’s job market as well.
A stabilizing economy has produce encouraging trends for the Florida housing market. According to Greene, “increased statewide pending sales for both single family existing homes, up 36.1 percent, and for townhouse-condo properties, up 19.8 percent, show that buyers are encouraged by these positive signs.” The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in February 2011 was $124,352. In February 2012, that number increased 7.2% from February 2011 to reach a median sales price of $134,000 (Florida Realtors). To put this in perspective, “the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in January 2012 was $154,400, which is 2.6 percent below the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors” (National Association of Realtors).
Additionally, “statewide sales of existing single-family homes totaled 14,270 in February 2012, down 4.8 percent compared to the year-ago figure. Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhomes/condos, a total of 7,545 units sold statewide last month, down 16 percent from those sold in February 2011. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in January 2012 was $156,600” (National Association of Realtors).
Florida has also seen a decreased inventory in the number of homes available. For February of 2012, the inventory for single-family homes was 6.2 and for condos/townhomes was 6.3 — a decrease from February 2011. Though we are still in what is referred to as a “buyer’s market,” there are multiple signs that housing conditions are improving in Florida and that the market is reaching a point of equilibrium. As home prices continue to rise and the inventory drops, consumers will soon see a more balanced housing market. According to Florida Realtors Chief Economist, Dr. John Tuccillo, “For the past year, median sales prices have been slowly rising; and over a longer period of time, prices have really flattened out – again, signs of an improving housing market” (Tuccillo).
Specific to the trends and statistics that are “close to home,” we must also look at Port Charlotte’s housing market. From December 2011 to February 2012, the median sales price for homes in Port Charlotte, Florida was $75,000, which demonstrates a 4.3% increase from the prior quarter and a 15.4% increase from the prior year. Furthermore, since February 2012, Port Charlotte home inventories are down 6%. Comparatively, total inventory of single-family homes in Port Charlotte, as of March 1, 2012 is down to 751– approximately 32.4% lower than one year ago.
As we continue to move forward into 2012, it seems as if all indications are that Florida’s housing market will continue to stabilize and become more balanced. While we are in a buyer’s market now, it is difficult to say as to how much longer that will last. In relation, according to Freddie Mac, “a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.89 percent in February 2012, down from the 4.95 percent average during the same month a year earlier” (Freddie Mac). Low interest rates and “below market” priced homes confirm that the market is shifted to those looking to buy. However, decreasing inventory, increasing home values, and a rebounding economy will ultimately sway the economic pendulum in the way of sellers. This does not necessarily mean that we will see dramatic shifts from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market over night. It simply means that economic balance and prosperity should once again return to Florida. It means that we should see property values getting back to where they were before this economic recession. It means that Florida’s housing market should once again thrive and that we will reach an economic balance. For now, it is a perfect time for those looking to buy to go out and buy. It’s the perfect time for prospective buyer’s to take advantage of undervalued home prices and extremely low interest rates. Florida’s housing market is on the rise and the great deals that are on the market now will not be there forever.
If you have interest in property on Florida’s Gulf Coast, please click here, Southwest Florida Real Estate For Sale. For more information on a specific property, please contact Jim Mulligan, Suncoasteam Realty at 941-235-7474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.