ORLANDO, Fla. – Oct. 19, 2018 – Florida's housing market reported more closed sales, higher median prices and more pending sales in September compared to a year ago – when Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, 2017 – according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 21,087 last month, up 17 percent compared to September 2017.
"In September 2017, Florida's housing sector and overall economy were impacted by both pre-hurricane preparations and the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Irma," said 2018 Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen, broker-owner with Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale. "In looking at this year's September data, you have to keep that factor in mind for comparison purposes.
"However, the median time it takes for a home sale to go to contract remained stable in the year-to-year comparison, showing the continued strength of the state's housing market. For single-family homes, it was 38 days, the same as a year ago; for condo-townhouse properties, it was 46 days, down 2.1 percent. Buyers and sellers should turn to a local Realtor for guidance in such a fast-paced market."
September was the 81st month-in-a-row (over 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 $251,610, up 4.9 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Thestatewide median price for condo-townhouse units in September was $182,500, up 5.5 percent 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 August 2018 was $596,410; in Massachusetts, it was $385,000; in Maryland, it was $299,900; and in New York, it was $280,000.
Looking at Florida's condo-townhouse market, statewide closed sales totaled 8,492 last month, up 14.6 percent compared to a year ago. Closed sales data continued to reflect fewer short sales and foreclosures in September: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties dropped 37.1 percent and foreclosures fell 5.2 percent year-to-year; while short sales for single-family homes declined 3.9 percent and foreclosures fell 7.9 percent year-to-year. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
"This September marked the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Irma carving a path of destruction across the entirety of the Florida peninsula," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O'Connor. "With most areas of the state out of commission for a week or more, we saw severely depressed levels of closed sales, new pending sales and new listings last September.For this reason, the year-over-year changes in these three metrics are inflated in this September's data and aren't reflective of current trends.
"Fortunately, the year-over-year changes we reported for most of Florida Realtors' other metrics – like median price – were not as significantly skewed by the impact of Hurricane Irma. In September, end-of-month single-family inventory levels were up for the third consecutive month on a statewide basis, this time by 6.5 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, condo and townhouse inventory rose by a more modest 2.9 percent."
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.63 percent in September 2018, up from the 3.81 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier.