Fla.’s Housing Market: Closed and Pending Sales, Median Prices Up in Feb. 2020

Fla.’s Housing Market: Closed and Pending Sales, Median Prices Up in Feb. 2020

Image Credits: Getty Images / Rapeepong Puttakumwong

ORLANDO, Fla., March 20, 2020 – Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, higher median prices, more pending sales and higher pending inventory in February 2020 compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 20,693 last month, up 9.1% from February 2019.

“February was a strong month for Florida’s housing market, continuing the trends we have seen previously, such as historically low mortgage rates and tight for-sale inventory,” said 2020 Florida Realtors President Barry Grooms, a Realtor, and co-owner of Florida Suncoast Real Estate Inc. in Bradenton. “New pending sales for single-family existing homes rose 12.5% last month and new pending sales for condo-townhouse units increased 13.9%.

“Of course, with COVID-19 spreading in Florida and across the globe, all of our lives have been affected. Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a state-of-emergency declaration so that the state could more effectively gather resources and receive federal help to combat the pandemic and offer aid. We don’t yet know how Florida businesses, including the real estate industry, will be impacted. But we do know that Realtors stand with their communities and will continue to do whatever we can to help in these uncertain times. And, as experts in their local markets, Realtors continue to serve as a valued source of information for homebuyers and sellers.”

Statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties in February rose year-over-year for 98 months-in-a-row. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $270,000, up 8% 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 6.7% 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 January 2020 was $268,600, up 6.9% from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $248,100. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in January was $575,160; in Massachusetts, it was $405,000; in Maryland, it was $288,000; and in New York, it was $300,000.

Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market in February, statewide closed sales totaled 8,842, up 10.8% from the level a year ago. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

Data shows that Florida’s housing market experienced another solid month of growth in February, according to Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor.

“Historically low mortgage interest rates continued to serve as the principal driver of growth in the housing market last month,” he said. “Freddie Mac reported all-time lows in February for both 30- and 15-year fixed-rate loans, checking in at 3.47% and 2.97% percent, respectively. These lower rates have helped relieve some of the pent-up demand for affordable homes caused by the housing shortage, and they also aided in a revival of demand in the upper tier of the market. Consequently, price growth has actually accelerated in recent months, including in February.”

He said that while the state’s housing market in February was strong, the biggest question now is what the future holds over the next few months.

“However, that’s impossible to know at this time, given that Florida – and the rest of the world – face the enormous challenge of fighting a global pandemic,” said Chief Economist O’Connor. “The emergence of the coronavirus is a perfect example of what we might call a ‘black swan’ event, which for economists means a very rare, difficult-to-predict event that originates from outside of the economic realm but imposes a massive shock to the economy. Most of our traditional forecasting tools will be rather useless in the near term until there is a better handle on our local, state, and federal governments’ plans to both combat the virus and shield the economy.”

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.47% in February 2020, down from the 4.37% averaged during the same month a year earlier.

February 2020

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to 195,000 members in 51 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

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