The housing market nationwide continues to struggle in the U.S. and in Florida with another month of double-digit declines in sales.
A pair of reports released Tuesday illustrate the bleakness in the real estate market though in little ways they offer a glimmer of hope and the possibility for some muted optimism.
The first report was released at about 10 a.m. by the National Association of Realtors. A little more than an hour later, Florida Realtors released its findings.
Nationally, sales of existing homes fell 22.6% in February from a year ago but rose 14.5% when compared with January. That's the largest jump in two years and the first time that sales have risen in 12 months. Along with the rise in sales came a 0.2% drop in the median sales price to $363,000.
Helping push the national market, says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, is that buyers are jumping on some slight declines in interest rates and that “we’re seeing stronger sales gains in areas where home prices are decreasing and the local economies are adding jobs.”
In Florida, closed sales of single-family homes fell 21.3% from February 2022 to 18,627, while the sale of existing condo and town houses fell 30.2% to 7,665. When compared to January, however, single-family homes sales were up 26.14%, and existing condo and town house sales were up 26.11%.
Meanwhile, the median price for single-family existing homes was up 3.5% from a year ago to $395,000. The median price for condo and town house units was up 8.6% to $315,000.
|Change in Sales||Change in Median Price||Median Sales Price|
|Cape Coral-Fort Myers||-21.3%||9.1%||$447,500|
|Source: Florida Realtors|
If basic economic principles hold up — which anyone who's been paying attention to real estate the past couple years knows is no guarantee — prices in Florida could begin to ease soon. That’s because, according to the report, inventory is higher than it was a year ago, with the number of available existing single-family homes up 131.4% and condos and town houses up 106%.
This despite the report also showing that new listings for single-family homes were down 12.6% from a year ago and down 7% for condos and town houses. According to Florida Realtors “the last time there were this few new listings in the month of February was in 2013.”
Overall, the association reports there was a 2.7-month supply of single-family existing homes in February and a 3.2-month supply in while existing condo/town house properties.
“The supply of for-sale homes is slowly building, which is easing inventory constraints in many markets across the state,” says G. Mike McGraw, Florida Realtors’ president and a broker-associate with RE/MAX Central Realty in Apopka. “As more inventory becomes available, it will begin to ease some of the pressure on home prices — and that helps buyers dealing with higher interest rates and affordability challenges.”
Nationally, existing homes inventory was unchanged from January with a 2.6-month supply.