- Florida ranks 4th in the nation in homeowner equity wealth, according to one recent study
- Despite a sales decline versus an unusually high 2021, Florida Realtors say 2022 was a good sales year versus most years
- Florida home prices, meanwhile, continued to climb in 2022, up more than 15 percent
- Florida ranks third in housing starts nationally, another indicator of market strength
A trio of reports released over the last week show the Florida real estate market is still in a strong position, despite national economic headwinds that are acting as a drag on home sales overall. Compared with the block-busting sales figures set in 2021, single-family home sales in the Sunshine State totaled 287,352, down 18% compared to 2021 year-end, according a Florida Realtors’ year-end report released last week. But the report also said despite the comparison with 2021, last year’s market actually looked competitive with other “normal” years.
In 2021, Florida’s housing market was “on a sugar high,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “Overall, closed sales in 2022 were pretty good when you look at the more ‘traditional’ housing market years of 2018 and 2019.”
And there’s more good news, at least for Florida homeowners.
According to a report compiled by Portland, Oregon-based Matin Real Estate, Florida ranks 4th in the nation in “equity-rich homeowners,” that is, homeowners with home equity equal to or greater than the mortgage balance remaining on their home. In the Sunshine State, there are 2,709,062 households who are considered “equity-rich,” according to data supplied by ATTOM, a real-estate data analytics company, which Matin Real Estate used to compile their rankings. Only Arizona, Idaho, and Vermont ranked higher.
Part of the surge in equity wealth in Florida comes from rising home values. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes at year’s end was $402,500, up 15.7% from the previous year, the Florida Realtors’ report said.
The report also showed that active listings for single-family homes stood at a 2.7-months’ supply, while inventory for condo-townhouse properties was at a 2.8-months’ supply.
“The good news is, we have a lot more inventory than what we had over the pandemic years,” O’Connor said. “Active listings of single-family existing homes more than doubled from a 1-month supply at the end of 2021 to a 2.7-months’ supply at the end of 2022. If we get a little relief in mortgage rates, then all the other factors are still there that make Florida appealing and a strong draw for buyer demand.”
Looking ahead in 2023, O’Connor said mortgage rates – and the Federal Reserve’s action on interest rates as it continues to fight inflation – will influence ongoing market conditions.
“Over the next six months, if mortgage rates don’t rise and return to 7%, that would help encourage buyers – and I think we’ll see mortgage rates stay just above 6% for a while. If we keep seeing more good news on the economic front, then I think we’ll see the housing market respond. Buyer demand is there, perhaps waiting on easing home prices, more supply and other factors.”
One other indicator that Florida’s real estate outlook remained strong: housing starts. The state ranks 3rd in the nation in new home construction, with 9.8 per 1,000 residents. That data, also compiled my Matis, comes from market research firm Statista.