“In markets across the state, the for-sale inventory continues at low levels, and that puts pressure on prices and also impacts closed sales – some buyers may have paused their home search for now,” said 2021 Florida Realtors President Cheryl Lambert, broker-owner with Only Way Realty Citrus in Inverness. “Last month, the median time to a contract was 12 days for single-family homes and 15 days for condo-townhouse properties.” The median time to contract is the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time.
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in October was $358,950, up 17.7% from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $260,000, up 17.6% over October 2020. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
However, closed sales of single-family homes statewide last month totaled 27,628, down 6.8% year-over-year, while existing condo-townhouse sales totaled 11,433, down 5.6% from October 2020. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
“In 2020, Florida’s housing market had perhaps the best second half of any year in recent memory,” said Erica Plemmons, Florida Realtors economist and director of housing statistics. “Part of this was due to the shifting spring buying season: The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed a lot of sales that would have occurred in spring, back into the late summer and fall. But other factors were at play as well, including record-low mortgage rates, changes in consumers’ housing preferences, and the demand pressure from continued movement of millennials into their prime home-buying years.”
Here in the second half of 2021, the Florida housing market still has many of these demand drivers in place. So, while sales were down year-over-year, she explained that “if we compare this October’s home sales to two years ago, before the pandemic, they were up over 18%. Similarly, condo and townhouse sales, while down 5.6% year-over-year, were still up 23% compared to October 2019.”
In a continuing trend over the past few months, the share of closed sales that were cash purchases rose last month compared to the previous year. In October, single-family existing home sales paid in cash increased by 25.4% year-over-year, while cash sales of condo-townhouse units rose by 6.5%.
On the supply side of the market, new listings and inventory (active listings) remained restricted last month.
“Low inventory levels continue to hold back the market,” said Plemmons. “At the end of October, single-family inventory (active listings) was 29.9% lower than it was a year ago, while condo and townhouse inventory was down 54% year-over-year.”
Single-family existing homes were at a low 1.3-months’ supply in October, while condo-townhouse properties were at a 1.6-months’ supply.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.07% last month, up from the 2.83% averaged during October 2020.