In spite of falling numbers in other parts of the country, Florida's housing market reported more sales, more new listings and higher median prices in November compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 20,578 last month, up 3 percent compared to November 2017.
"Buyers who have been frustrated by a lack of for-sale homes in their areas may be encouraged by signs that too-tight inventory levels are easing," says 2018 Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen, broker-owner with Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale. "In a year-over-year trend that we've been seeing now for a few months, new listings rose in November: Up 4.1 percent for existing single-family homes and 1.5 percent for condo-townhouse properties.
"At the same time, the median time for a sale to go to contract is getting shorter: For single-family homes, it was 41 days, down 10.9 percent from the same time last year; for condo-townhouse properties, it was 44 days, down 15.4 percent. In today's fast-paced market, buyers and sellers benefit from the advice of a Realtor who can help them stay informed of local real estate trends."
November marked 83 months-in-a-row (more than six and a half years) that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties increased year-over-year. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $255,000, up 6.3 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Last month the statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $185,000, up 5.1 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
For comparison to other states, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in October 2018 was $572,000; in Massachusetts, it was $390,000; in Maryland, it was $279,000; and in New York, it was $260,000.
Looking at Florida's condo-townhouse market in November, statewide closed sales totaled 8,643, up 4.9 percent compared to a year ago. Closed sales data continued to show fewer short sales and foreclosures in November: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties declined 38 percent and foreclosures fell 25.2 percent year-to-year; while short sales for single-family homes dropped 43.3 percent and foreclosures fell 32.1 percent year-to-year. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
"Statewide inventory (active listings) of single-family homes continued to rise in November, with just over 96,000 homes, an increase of nearly 12 percent," says Erica Plemmons, economist and director of housing statistics for Florida Realtors. "We see similar trends on the condo/townhome side of the market, with that inventory level up 6.6 percent to over 56,000 condos and townhomes.
"So as we close out the year, how has 2018 compared to 2017? Median sale price has continued its climb every month in 2018 versus the same month in 2017 – and we anticipate a continued trend in higher year-over-year closed sales as well, once the December numbers are available."
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.87 percent in November 2018, up from the 3.92 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier.