Florida’s housing market started the year off on a positive track, with more closed sales, higher median prices, more pending sales and higher pending inventory in January 2020 compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 18,298 last month, up 17.9% from January 2019.
“Many of the same market conditions we saw over the past few months – like favorable mortgage rates, buyer demand and low inventories – have continued into 2020,” said 2020 Florida Realtors President Barry Grooms, a Realtor and co-owner of Florida Suncoast Real Estate Inc. in Bradenton. “Lack of inventory continues to put pressure on home prices. However, new pending sales increased 12.4% for single-family existing homes last month and new pending sales for condo-townhouse units rose 14.3%.
“Buying or selling a home often is a complex process, but a local Realtor who understands the market area can offer guidance and peace of mind,” he added.
Statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties in January rose year-over-year for 97 consecutive months. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $265,000, up 6% 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 $200,000, up 9.6% 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 December 2019 was $276,900, up 8% from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $255,400. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in December was $615,090; in Massachusetts, it was $412,250; in Maryland, it was $300,000; and in New York, it was $290,000.
Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market in January, statewide closed sales totaled 7,714, up 14.5% from the level a year ago. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
Florida’s housing market in January looked similar to the data trends shown in the previous month, according to Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor.
“Market conditions – particularly interest rates – have been very favorable for home sales over the past several months,” he said. “Remember, however, that part of these January year-over-year increases is due to January 2019 being fairly weak in terms of sales. Back then the stock market had been undergoing some major fluctuations and we were in the midst of a federal government shutdown. Mortgage rates were only really beginning to fall at that point, so they were not yet benefiting buyers who were closing at that time.”
Still, January’s gains in closed sales and median prices in both the single-family homes and condo-townhouse categories continues positive trends for the state’s housing sector, O’Connor said.
“Coupled with the median sale price gains we saw in December, this is some of the hottest price growth we’ve seen in either property type category in quite a while,” he added. “Statewide inventory levels are up a bit from last month, which is normal for January, but they continue to trend downward overall. Single-family inventory at the end of January was down 16.4% year-over-year, while condo and townhouse inventory was down 11.7%.”
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.62% in January 2020, down from the 4.46% averaged during the same month a year earlier.