ORLANDO, FL - Florida's housing market reported more closed sales, more new listings and higher median prices in February even as for-sale inventory remained tight, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors.
"Florida's economy continues to grow, with more jobs being created – the state's unemployment rate was 3.9% in January," said 2018 Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen, broker-owner with Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale. "A strong economy is good for Florida's housing market. Statewide sales increased in both the existing single-family homes and the townhouse-condo sectors in February, yet many local markets are still facing a tight supply of available homes at a time when buyer demand is rising. Those factors are putting pressure on home prices and affordability.
"There is some good news for buyers: In February, new listings for single-family homes rose 6 percent year-over-year, while new townhouse-condo listings increased 6.9 percent."
Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 18,620 last month, up 3.3 percent compared to February 2017. Meanwhile, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $246,500, up 9.6 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in January was $179,500, up 7.2 percent over the year-ago figure.
February marked 74 months-in-a-row that the statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and townhouse-condo properties rose year-over-year. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in January 2018 was $241,700, up 5.7 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $231,600. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in January was $527,800; in Massachusetts, it was $369,000; in New York, it was $266,000; and in Maryland, it was $264,016.
Looking at Florida's townhouse-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 8,457 last month, up 6.4 percent compared to February 2017. Closed sales data reflected fewer short sales and foreclosures last month: Short sales for townhouse-condo properties declined 24.4 percent and foreclosures fell 51.8 percent year-to-year; short sales for single-family homes dropped 43.3 percent and foreclosures fell 51.3 percent year-to-year. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
"The latest figures from Florida Realtors show sales of existing homes rose modestly in February, while sale prices continued to climb at a very brisk pace," said Florida Realtors® Chief Economist Dr. Brad O'Connor. "Year-over-year sales growth for single family homes checked in at 3.3 percent in February – the largest such gain we've seen since last June. That said, given the current nationwide shortage of housing at the more affordable end of the pricing spectrum, as well as the specter of rising mortgage rates, we probably shouldn't expect to do much better than this over the next several months, at least on a consistent basis.
"By contrast, year-over-year sales growth in the statewide townhouse-condo category was quite strong in February, at 6.4 percent. However, local trends may differ, as we're seeing a lot of variation in condo and townhouse markets across the state."
February's for-sale inventory remained tight with a 3.9-months' supply for single-family homes and a 6-months' supply for townhouse-condo properties, according to Florida Realtors.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.33 percent in February 2018, up from the 4.17 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier.
To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center.