Sept. 20, 2018 – Florida’s housing market reported more sales, more new listings and higher median prices in August compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 26,273 last month, up 4.2 percent compared to August 2017.
“August marked the second month in row that Florida’s housing market experienced a rise in new listings, which is a good sign for potential homebuyers,” said 2018 Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen, broker-owner with Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale. “New listings for existing single-family homes rose 6.6 percent compared to a year ago and new listings for condo-townhouse properties increased 4.1 percent from last August.
“At the same time, the median time for a sale to go to contract is getting shorter: For single-family homes, it was 36 days, down 2.7 percent; for condo-townhouse properties, it was 46 days, down 6.1 percent. With such a quick turnaround time to contract, a Realtor with local expertise can help buyers and sellers navigate the market.”
August marked the 80th consecutive month (over six and a half years) that the statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties rose year-over-year. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $254,290, up 6.0 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 condo-townhouse units in August was $185,000, up 8.8 percent over the year-ago figure. 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 July 2018 was $272,300, up 4.6 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $248,100. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in July was $591,460; in Massachusetts, it was $423,250; in Maryland, it was $299,900; and in New York, it was $285,000.
Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market, statewide closed sales totaled 10,365 last month, up 6.6 percent compared to a year ago. Closed sales data continued to reflect fewer short sales and foreclosures in August: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties dropped 18.8 percent and foreclosures fell 28.9 percent year-to-year; while short sales for single-family homes declined 34.2 percent and foreclosures fell 30.1 percent year-to-year. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
“The dominant story across Florida’s housing markets over the past couple of years has been the shortage of single-family homes for sale, but in the July numbers, instead of the usual year-over-year decline, we saw that inventory was virtually unchanged from the level we reported for July of 2017,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “So the question is, is this the beginning of a trend? According to the newly released August data from Florida Realtors, it very well could be.
“As of August 31, we found that the statewide inventory of single-family homes was up 4.5 percent compared to the same point in time last year, marking the first tangible year-over-year increase we’ve seen in end-of-month inventory in over three-and-a-half years. Should single-family inventory levels continue to rise, especially in the price tiers where demand is the greatest, we can probably expect some acceleration in sales growth and more modest rates of price growth.”
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.55 percent in August 2018, up from the 3.88 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier.