by: Marla Martin
Florida Realtors Communications Manager
Amid increased COVID-19 vaccinations and hopeful signs for the future, Florida’s housing market in February reported more closed sales, higher median prices, more new pending sales and increased pending inventory in February 2021 compared to a year ago, according to Florida Realtors latest housing data. Single-family existing home sales rose 15.7% compared to February 2020.
“Florida’s housing market continued its momentum in February, but higher interest rates could be a factor going forward,” said 2021 Florida Realtors President Cheryl Lambert, broker-owner with Only Way Realty Citrus in Inverness. “While rising rates could potentially slow the pace of home sales, rates remain relatively low by historical standards. Record-low inventory is continuing to put pressure on home prices to rise and creates challenges for buyers. However, new pending sales rose 10.9% for single-family existing homes last month compared to February 2020, while new pending sales for condo-townhouse units increased 35.4% year-over-year.”
Closed sales of single-family homes statewide in February totaled 23,947, up 15.7% year-over-year, while existing condo-townhouse sales totaled 11,379, up 28.7% over February 2020. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $314,900, up 16.6% 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 $233,240, up 16.6% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor noted that Florida’s current housing market is a strong seller’s market, with fewer new listings and a very tight inventory (active listings), particularly for single-family existing homes.
He said, “The statewide inventory of active single-family home listings, which Florida Realtors has been tracking since January 2008, is currently at an all-time low. At the end of February, single-family inventory was down 56.3% compared to a year ago. Most of this decline has been a result of our ultra-high rate of sales.
“However, so far in 2021, new listings of single-family homes have not kept up with their pace of 12 months ago. In February, they were down 4.9% year-over-year, which is an improvement over January, but still represents a move in the wrong direction. There’s a likelihood that much of this decline has been due to some sellers, who in normal times might have listed in January or February, instead listing ahead of 2021 in response to the unusually strong market in the second half of 2020. But there’s also the possibility that a small but increasing number of homeowners, who have been thinking of selling their current home and buying another one, are starting to get turned off by the lack of available inventory and the rising prices that have resulted from it.”
The condo-townhouse category shows a slightly different picture, O’Connor said.
“In February, closed sales in this category rose 28.7% year-over-year, which is consistent with the growth rates we’ve been seeing each month going back to September,” he said. “Some of this growth is likely being fueled by frustrated buyers who had their hearts set on a single-family home finally giving up and settling for an attached unit instead, but we’re also seeing high demand from folks with the typical condo- and townhouse-buyer profile, as well. And while inventory in this category is still high relative to what we’re seeing in the single-family home category, it was down 34.4% compared to a year ago.”
On the supply side of the market, inventory (active listings) remained constrained in February. Single-family existing homes were at a very restricted 1.3-months’ supply while condo-townhouse inventory was at a 3.4-months’ supply.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.81% in February 2021, significantly lower than the 3.47% averaged during the same month a year earlier.
To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Newsroom at http://floridarealtors.org/newsroom and look under Latest Releases or download the February 2021 data report PDFs under Market Data at: https://www.floridarealtors.org/newsroom/market-data