Orlando, FL – Oct. 20, 2017 (PRNewswire) Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in the Keys on Sept. 10 and continued up the state’s west coast, affected Florida’s housing market data in September, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Fewer sales, pending sales and new listings were reported, though median prices rose as a still-tight inventory of for-sale homes remained the norm in many areas. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 18,030 last month, down 20.4 percent compared to September 2016.
“The impact from Hurricane Irma was wide-ranging across Florida, though the devastation and damage was certainly greater in some areas, such as the Keys and in Naples,” said 2017 Florida Realtors President Maria Wells, broker-owner with Lifestyle Realty Group in Stuart. “But there were other consequences from Irma that disrupted the state’s economy and housing market as people took needed time for hurricane preparations and one of the largest evacuations in Florida’s history. Once Irma passed over the state, it took days or even longer to restore power to many areas, residents had to return from evacuations, and there was still debris cleanup, insurance claims and other issues to handle in the hurricane’s aftermath.
“It’s not surprising that Hurricane Irma had a negative impact on existing home and condominium sales across most local markets in September – but that’s a normal occurrence after a hurricane. To understand their housing market conditions, especially in times like this, consumers should work with a local Realtor, who can guide them through the complicated process of buying or selling a home.”
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $239,900, up 7.6 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in September was $173,000, up 8.1 percent over the year-ago figure. September was the 70th month-in-a-row that statewide median prices for both sectors rose year-over-year. 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 2017 was $255,500, up 5.6 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $237,600. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in August was $565,330; in Massachusetts, it was $398,125; in Maryland, it was $287,816; and in New York, it was $270,000.
Looking at Florida’s townhouse-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 7,404 last month, down 15.9 percent compared to September 2016. Closed sales data reflected fewer short sales and foreclosures last month: Short sales for townhouse-condo properties declined 57 percent and foreclosures fell 62.3 percent year-to-year; short sales for single-family homes dropped 60.8 percent and foreclosures fell 60 percent year-to-year. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
“Perhaps the most important thing to understand about this month’s sales numbers is that these declines in real estate activity are not in any way indicative of a decline in the demand for housing going forward, or any other structural change in Florida’s housing market dynamics, for that matter,” said Florida Realtors® Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “This is the result of a temporary economic decline brought about by Irma before and after it passed through. We should expect to see similar temporary drops in restaurant and retail sales, job hiring and other economic indicators at the local level.”
O’Connor noted that, looking at housing and other data following the 2004 hurricanes in Florida, there is “strong evidence that Florida real estate always has willing buyers as long as the lights are on and infrastructure is back in place. In parts of the state that are already back to business as usual after Irma, we likely will see a similar rebound in the October numbers.”
Inventory remained constrained in September with a 3.8-months’ supply for single-family homes and a 5.5-months’ supply for townhouse-condo properties, according to Florida Realtors.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.81 percent in September 2017; it averaged 3.46 percent during the same month a year earlier.
To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center at http://media.floridarealtors.org/ and look under Latest Releases, or download the September 2017 data report PDFs under Market Data at: http://media.floridarealtors.org/market-data
Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 170,000 members in 54 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.