According to the Florida Realtors, Florida's housing market had more sales, higher median prices, more pending sales and more new listings in 3Q 2018. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 72,843 in 3Q 2018, up 7.5 percent from the 3Q 2017 figure.
"Florida's economy and jobs sector continued to grow during the third quarter of 2018," said 2018 Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen, broker-owner with Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale. "In September, the state's unemployment rate was 3.5 percent while the U.S. unemployment rate was 3.7 percent. Florida's homeownership rate for the third quarter was 64.4 percent.
"New listings for single-family homes and for condo-townhouse properties over the quarter rose 14.9 percent year-over-year, despite tight inventory in many local housing markets. Hopefully, that trend will continue, which would encourage homebuyers who have been waiting on the sidelines and help ease the pressure on rising median prices."
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 3Q 2018 was $255,000, up 6.3 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 $182,500, up 6.1 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 28,894 during 3Q 2018, up 9.5 percent compared to 3Q 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 29.1 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 30.2 percent. Meanwhile, traditional sales for condo-townhouse units rose 10.9 percent and traditional sales for single-family homes increased 9.6 percent year-over-year. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
"Hurricane Irma put a damper on closings late in the third quarter of 2017, so take the 7.5 percent year-over-year increase in single-family home sales with a big hunk of salt," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O'Connor. "Compared to the third quarters of 2016 and 2015, sales this third quarter were only higher by 1.6 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. What we continue to see is relatively slow growth in home sales, and the main culprit continues to be a lack of supply. By all accounts, the demand is definitely still there - especially at the entry-level."
The state's employment growth remains strong, he added, and while rising, mortgage rates are still quite low.
O'Connor said, "The calculus for current homeowners who are on the fence about selling and upgrading to a better home, however, is getting more complicated in the face of these rising rates, as many of them are locked into historically low rates on their current loans."
Inventory was at a 3.9-months' supply in the third quarter for single-family homes and at a 5.3-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 4.57 percent for 3Q 2018, up from the 3.89 percent recorded during the same quarter a year earlier.