Fla.’s April Housing Market Shows Gains: 2020 Data Reflects COVID Impact
ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida’s housing market remained strong in April, with more closed sales, higher median prices, more new pending sales and increased pending inventory compared to a year ago, according to Florida Realtors® latest housing data. However, note that the April data is being compared to April 2020 – and the first statewide lockdown due to COVID-19 took effect April 1, 2020.
“Florida’s housing data for April showed robust and fast-paced market conditions,” said 2021 Florida Realtors President Cheryl Lambert, broker-owner with Only Way Realty Citrus in Inverness. “Keep in mind that the comparison data comes from April 2020, when Florida was experiencing the full impact of the pandemic. In our current market, a severe shortage of homes for sale coupled with intense buyer demand continues to push home prices higher. Hopefully, as we see more positive signs the pandemic is easing and our economy is improving, sellers who have been on the fence will be ready to list their homes for sale.”
Closed sales of single-family homes statewide in April totaled 33,264, up 55.4% year-over-year, while existing condo-townhouse sales totaled 17,330, up 130.9% over April 2020. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $336,525, up 22.4% 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 $250,000, up 19.6% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
For a couple of months, year-over-year figures for closed sales and a few other market metrics that were adversely impacted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago will show those effects in a very high, positive percentage change, according to Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. However, he explained that the abnormally high year-over-year growth figures should shrink significantly in June, because June of last year was the beginning of the recovery in sales.
“One way we can get a better sense of the longer-term trend of sales growth is to instead compare this April’s sales figure to April 2019, which was a relatively typical year for the housing market,” O’Connor said. “If you calculate the percent change of sales from April 2019 to 2021, you’ll find there was a two-year percentage increase of over 23%. That’s a little below the two-year percent change in sales of over 31% that we saw in March of this year (compared to March 2019), so this suggests that the longer-term rate of sales growth actually slowed down a little bit in April.
“That’s not really surprising, since most financed home sales that closed in April went under contract at a time when interest rates had risen compared to when March’s closed sales were going under contract. So, this puts us on track for what most housing market forecasts indicate will be a long, gradual slowdown in the rate of sales.”
O’Connor added, “Our data shows Florida’s strong housing market is above the normal rate of sales growth, however, so this isn’t anything to be concerned about. In fact, in many ways, this is better for the long-term health and stability of the housing market.”
On the supply side of the market, inventory (active listings) tightened even more in April. Single-family existing homes were at a very low 1.1-months’ supply while condo-townhouse inventory was at a 2.3-months’ supply.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.06% in April 2021, significantly lower than the 3.31% averaged during the same month a year earlier.
Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research, and legislative representation to about 200,000 members in 51 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Newsroom website is available at floridarealtors.org/newsroom