For real estate agents in the Orlando market, a recent drop in home sales and prices could be a signal of a shift in market dynamics from sellers to buyers.
According to a recent report by the Orlando Regional Realtor Association (ORRA), a limited supply of properties in April may have presented a hurdle to sales. The group noted there were 3,061 sales in April, which included single family homes and condos. These figures are off 12 percent from the previous month and more than 3 percent from the same period a year ago.
The ORRA study found that the supply of homes for sale dipped to just 2.48 months’ supply in March, a decrease of 19.3 percent from the same period in 2016. By comparison, housing economist consider six months of supply to demonstrate a market that is balanced between buyers and sellers.
While this signals a still-strong position for sellers, there also are some other figures to make these clients smile.
According to recent data by CoreLogic, home prices in the Orlando metro area, including distressed sales, increased by 7.5 percent in March compared with the previous year.
A report by the ORRA noted that median prices stood at $215,000 in April, down less than 1 percent from the previous month.
Despite a dip in sales, the ORRA data showed trends similar to CoreLogic, with prices up 12 percent in April from a year ago.
“Despite the decline in sales compared to last month — March experienced record-setting increase that Realtors anecdotally attribute to market-savvy buyers seeking to get a jump on the traditional spring/summer homebuying season — conditions remain favorable to sellers,” said ORRA President Bruce Elliott, of Regal R.E. Professionals LLC.
Falling interest rates also are pushing buyers to get off the fence. Rates have slid for the past four weeks, according to weekly surveys from Freddie Mac.
Even with this, supply still remains a primary hurdle.
“Inventory remains a challenge for buyers, especially in the under-$300,000 range where choices are minimal and prices are being bid higher by multiple offers,” Elliott said.
Across the Sunshine State, single-family home sales fell 1.2 percent in April. Like Orlando, sales were down in the Tampa metro area. However, sales increased in Jacksonville.
Realtors elsewhere in the state also confirmed that home sales were down as a result of dwindling inventory on the market for clients to select from.
“Low inventory means fewer homes on the market and increased competition for those homes,” opined Florida Realtors President Maria Wells, a broker-owner with Lifestyle Realty Group in Stuart.
According to Florida Realtors Chief Economist Brad O’Connor, the short supply of single-family homes on the market has held back the sales market. However, those homes that have sold are not staying on the market long.
There also are some positive sings in the new construction sector in the Orlando area.
Homebuilders in Orlando are busy as ever, as new home competition was up 6 percent in the metro area when compared to a year ago, according to a new report from John Burns Real Estate Consulting Inc.
While positive, the numbers in Orlando pale in comparison to some other markets in the Sunshine State, like Fort Lauderdale, which is at a 19 percent increase in home completion. West Palm Beach and Jacksonville are at 11 percent and metro Tampa is at 10 percent compared to 2016.