ORLANDO, FL - Florida's housing market reported slightly more new listings and higher median prices during the first quarter of 2018, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors. A shortfall of for-sale inventory continued to impact sales even as the number of owners listing their properties for sale inched up over the quarter; closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 60,204 in 1Q 2018, down slightly, 0.9 percent, from the 1Q 2017 figure.
"During the first three months of 2018, median sales prices for both existing single-family homes and for condo-townhouse properties rose in Florida, continuing a trend that we've been seeing for quite a while," said 2018 Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen, broker-owner with Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale. "Despite tight inventory levels, new listings for single-family homes over the three-month-period rose 1.1 percent year-over-year, while new condo-townhouse listings rose 2.9 percent.
"The state's population continues to increase, our jobs outlook is strong and the economy is growing. In fact, Florida continues to be ranked as the second-best state in the U.S. to do business, according to the 2018 survey of CEOs from Chief Executive magazine."
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 1Q 2018 was $248,000, up 9.7 percent from the same time a year ago, according to data from Florida Realtors Research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties during the quarter was $180,000, up 7.8 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
Looking at Florida's condo-townhouse market, statewide closed sales totaled 27,088 during 1Q 2018, up 2.8 percent compared to 1Q 2017. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales – and rising traditional sales – over the three-month period: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties declined 37.8 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 46.3 percent. Meanwhile, traditional sales for condo-townhouse units rose 5.6 percent and traditional sales for single-family homes increased 3.8 percent year-over-year. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
"At the more affordable end of the pricing spectrum, Florida's strong employment growth and the long-awaited emergence of the millennial buyer have increasingly driven demand – but there also remains a sizeable contingent of investors in this segment who are looking to capitalize on high rents," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O'Connor. "It's the lack of both existing and new inventory in these price ranges that is really limiting this segment's potential and keeping sales growth down. In many cities around the state, we're starting to see pretty strong evidence that buyers who would have preferred single-family homes are giving up and opting to buy condos or townhouses instead.
"Buyers in the market for mid- to upper-tier single-family homes are having a much easier time of it, as they're facing less competition, and there's a relative abundance of both new construction and resale inventory available."
In 1Q 2018, the median time to a contract (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time) was 45 days for single-family homes and 48 days for condo-townhouse properties.
Inventory was at a 3.8-months' supply in the first quarter for single-family homes and at a 5.9-months' supply for condo-townhouse properties, according to Florida Realtors.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.27 percent for 1Q 2017, up from the 4.17 percent average recorded during the same quarter a year earlier.