Highlights of historic Fernandina, the beaches, and coastal nature at Florida-Georgia border.

Florida Housing Market

Florida Homes Sales Trend Upward

Florida housing market data released for the second quarter of 2017 remains solidly positive. Home values continue their upward trend, with a 9.1% increase in the median sales price of a single-family home in the Sunshine State (during 2Q17 compared to same period a year ago).

During 2Q17, the median sales price in Florida of a single-family home was $240K. Median means half the homes sold for more and half for less.  The average sales price of a single-family Florida home was $325K. (See Florida’s home sales data from the state’s Realtor® association below.)

Florida's Single-Family Home Sales Data 2Q17
Florida’s Single-Family Home Sales Data 2Q17

Florida Housing Inventory

A benchmark of the real estate industry is the level of “inventory”, i.e. available housing. According to Florida REALTORS®, a 5.5 month supply is a “balanced” market. But when housing inventory exceeds the equilibrium (or dips below it), then the market is leaning in the favor of either buyers or sellers.

Inventory = Seller’s Market

It’s been a seller’s market in Florida for the past three years (since the second quarter of 2014). For the second quarter ending June 30, 2017, Florida’s single-family home inventory level was at a 3.9 month supply. In a seller’s market, buyers are competing for fewer available homes. When this trend holds, it pushes home prices up and home inventory (listings) decline.

Florida Distressed Sales Decline

Another measure of market conditions is the number of foreclosure sales. Year over year, 2017’s second quarter foreclosure sales of Florida single-family homes were markedly down (-45.7%). Another type of non-traditional sale that became common during the last housing meltdown, “short sales,” are also down (-32%) for the period.

Florida-living-homes-sales-strong
The Florida Lifestyle, Home Sales Strong 2Q 2017

Nassau Market “Very Healthy”

Today, a look at Zillow’s most recent Market Health Index rates the Nassau County, FL housing market at 8.8/10, i.e. “very healthy.” The Index portrays “the current health of a region’s housing market relative to other markets across the country.” This Index uses “up to 10 metrics including those capturing the past and projected evolution of home values, the prevalence of foreclosures, foreclosure re-sales, negative equity and delinquency, as well as whether homes are currently selling faster or slower than in the past,” according to their website.

Fernandina Median Zestimate

For Nassau County, Florida, according to recent Zillow data, the median “Zestimate” valuation (Zillow Home Value Index) is $249K. By comparison, the median for Fernandina Beach zip code 32034 is $325K, or 30% more. Take a closer look at Amelia Island homes for sale under $500K, housing inventory, in related article.

“Pre-Mover Index”

The Jacksonville, Florida area has landed on a list of the “Top Ten Pre-Mover Markets” in the USA, a forward-looking index. “Markets with a healthy mix of access to good jobs and relatively affordable housing attracted the most interest from pre-movers in the second quarter, a harbinger of strong home sales activity in the third quarter 2017,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

According to an August 2017 news release from the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors®  (based on July housing 2017 data):  “Inventory well below normal is a trend that shows no sign of change.  July 2017 ended with 8,119 homes available for sale, a hefty 22.2 percent drop from the 10,436 homes for sale in July 2016… Northeast Florida had only 3.4 months’ supply at the end of July.”   

NEFAR President, Marc Jernigan, noted:

 “Northeast Florida’s real estate market could easily absorb a large influx of properties based on the demand from potential buyers. At this time, it’s still very much a seller’s market.”

Read article about a huge new community that broke ground in Yulee, called “Wildlight,” a sizable “town” of the future, located just east of I-95 off State Road A1A.

Snapshot of FL Markets

Here’s a look at five Florida Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) for comparison of the northeast Florida housing market to other places around the state. This data from Florida Realtors® is for the 2Q2017 (compared to the same quarter a year ago), for single-family homes.

NORTH FLORIDA

  • Jacksonville MSA (Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, Baker, and Clay counties): Closed home sales up 5.2%, median home sales price $232,500, up 8.1%.
  • Gainesville MSA: Closed homes sales up 5.6%, median home sales price $218,000, up 7.4%.

CENTRAL FLORIDA

  • Orlando/Kissimmee/Sanford MSA: Closed homes sales up 4.1%, median home sales price $245,000, up 9.4%.

SOUTH FLORIDA

  • Naples MSA: Closed home sales up 9.0%, median home sales price $435,000 (the highest in the state) declined (-3.2%) from same period last year.
  • Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm MSA: Closed home sales 0.0% change, median home sales price $335,000 (second highest in the state), up 8.1%.

Real Estate Is Cyclical

Here in the Sunshine State, it’s the sixth year of a rising Florida residental real estate market. Some might be wondering if the next market peak is nearing, but only “time will tell,” with certainty.

The Great Recession

For those hurt during the last real estate crash and financial instability of the “Great Recession,” the wounds have been healing. Some able to hold onto homes purchased around the last market peak have reclaimed much of their paper losses, the dollar amount of negative equity (i.e. “under water” mortgages) diminishing. For others, the losses suffered from forced sales, foreclosures, etc., can be difficult to recover from. While the memory of the “Great Recession” meltdown may be fading, it’s a time unlikely to be forgotten.

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