Home sales decline from December


The housing market in the six counties of Northeast Florida is improving for prospective buyers, according to statistics from January released this week by the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors.

But single-family home prices remain high, especially in St. Johns County, where the median price was $519,000 — still, a reduction of 6.8% from December.

Indicators show promise. The region’s median price actually decreased by 2.2% to $375,000 and the median number of days on the market increased by 24.4% to 56. Other data supports this trend. The active inventory rose by 22.1% to 5,638 homes, which represents a 5.2-month supply. Also, new listings were up by 53.6% to 2,853 homes.

Typically, January is a sluggish month for real estate, so this data is not surprising.

Association President Rory Dubin noted that there were 1,081 closed sales, a decrease of 30.6%, and there were 1,284 pending sales, a 7.3% decrease.

Figures for this month, if they follow tradition, will see a change.

“February is customarily a strong month for Northeast Florida and results this month will indicate if we are seeing normal seasonality or a greater overall shift in the marketplace,” Dubin stated.

In St. Johns County, the median days on the market increased 25.6% to 76, with closed sales decreasing by 37.5% to 277 and pending sales decreasing by 4.7% to 344. Meanwhile, new listings shot up 78.6% to 784.

At the same time, the active inventory of single-family homes rose by 20% to 1,640, which is a 5.9-month supply.

Duval County followed the same general trend. The median price for a single-family home in January was $324,945, a decrease from December of 2.5%. The median days on the market rose to 50, a 35.1% increase.

Closed sales decreased by 21.4% to 574, and pending sales fell 11.9% to 632. At the same time, the active inventory rose by 24.1% to 2,627 homes, which is a 4.6-month supply.

For buyers, the best indicator may be the Home Affordability Index, which measures whether a typical family earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a typical home — based on current interest rates, the median income and median house prices — assuming the buyers make a 20% downpayment.

A score of 100 indicates that this family would have precisely the income needed to qualify. A higher number indicates that the family has more than enough. A score lower than 100 means that the family would not qualify.

Across Northeast Florida, the index is 70, an increase of 3.7%. In Duval, the index is 81, and increase of 4.5%. In St. Johns, the index is just 51, though still an increase of 10.9%.