Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic, Statewide Stay-at-Home Began in March
In the first quarter of 2020, Florida’s housing market reported higher median prices and more closed sales compared to a year ago, though the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the state’s economy and real estate markets began to emerge in mid-March, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.
Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 65,602 in 1Q 2020, up 10.2% from the 1Q 2019 level.
“Real estate remains a keystone industry in Florida’s economy – real estate is a long-term investment, not a short-term one,” said 2020 Florida Realtors President Barry Grooms, a Realtor and co-owner of Florida Suncoast Real Estate Inc. in Bradenton. “Prior to the pandemic, the fundamentals of Florida’s real estate industry were very strong. Demand for housing was high across all of our major markets, including different price points and asset types. Price growth continued to rise month after month as a current housing shortage persisted.
“Of course, with the necessary steps taken to help safeguard people’s health due to COVID-19, including the business shutdowns, we expect to see a temporary decline in homebuyer interest combined with a decline in listings that will reduce the number of statewide transactions in the next few months’ housing data.”
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 1Q 2020 was $270,000, up 6.7% from the same time a year ago, according to data from Florida Realtors Research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties during the quarter was $205,000, up 10.5% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market, statewide closed sales totaled 27,379 during 1Q 2020, up 9.3% compared to 1Q 2019. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
“Compared to the same quarter last year, total residential sales were up in the first quarter of 2020 across all 22 Florida metro areas,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “Remember, going into the first quarter last year, the stock market was somewhat in flux and we had just entered the longest-ever shutdown of the federal government. So, home sale activity was a bit slow to start off. By March, though, falling mortgage rates came to the rescue and sales started taking off. Mortgage interest rates are currently lower than they were even back then, though, so it’s no wonder our first quarter sales numbers for 2020 were so strong.
“Obviously, we are not expecting a repeat performance in Q2 due to the coronavirus outbreak. While we expect prices to remain stable through Q2, we will certainly see a reduced number of completed transactions.”
In 1Q 2020, the median time to a contract (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time) was 43 days for single-family homes and 51 days for condo-townhouse properties.
Inventory was at a 3.4-months’ supply in the first quarter for single-family homes and at a 5.5-months’ supply for condo-townhouse properties, according to Florida Realtors.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.51% for 1Q 2020, down from the 4.37% average recorded during the same quarter a year earlier.
To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center at media.floridarealtors.org and look under Latest Releases, or download the 1Q 2020 data report PDFs under Market Data at: 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 195,000 members in 51 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at media.floridarealtors.org.