Florida's housing market in April reflects impact of coronavirus and economic turmoil.
Press release provided by Florida Realtors
In April, economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic, resulting business shutdowns and subsequent rising unemployment rates impacted Florida’s housing market. The latest housing data from Florida Realtors reported lower levels of closed sales, pending sales, new listings and other metrics compared to a year ago – except for median sale price, which rose compared to April 2019.
“The impact of COVID-19 on Florida, the U.S. and throughout the world was fully realized in April,” said 2020 Florida Realtors President Barry Grooms, a Realtor and co-owner of Florida Suncoast Real Estate Inc. in Bradenton. “Job losses rose and unemployment claims overtaxed the state’s system. It’s no surprise that many buyers and sellers put their plans on hold for now, because of the pandemic and the current economy.
Last month’s closed sales of single-family homes statewide dropped 20.7% year-over-year, while condo-townhouse sales declined 36.5%. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
Home prices increase
In April, the statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties rose year-over-year for the 100th month in a row. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $275,000, up 6% 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 $209,000, up 7.7% over the year-ago figure.
“Looking ahead to May, all indications are that we will continue to see stable prices but will see a further decline in closed sales,” O’Connor said. “New pending sales for April were down over 35.1% in the single-family category year-over-year, and they were down 56.6% in the condo and townhouse category."
Signs of rebound in sales?
O'Connor also noted that most of the drop was in the first two weeks of April. He saw a "silver lining" in the last half of the month.
"In each week of the second half of the April, we saw drastic improvement in the number of homes going under contract," he said. “The trajectory of this improvement has been strong enough, that preliminary data points to the possibility that we could see positive year-over-year growth in new pending sales in several markets across the state in May – particularly for single-family homes. What’s more, there’s a lot of current housing market data across the U.S. that points toward this being a national trend.”
For example, over the past four weeks, the Mortgage Bankers Association has been reporting robust increases in the number of loan applications submitted for U.S. home purchases, the chief economist noted.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.31% in April 2020, down from the 4.14% averaged 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 April 2020 data report PDFs under Market Data at: http://media.floridarealtors.org/market-data.