Beaches housing forecast shows blue skies ahead


RE/MAX Specialists

If there is one thing on which everyone has an opinion, it’s the real estate market. A current real estate commercial shows everyone from a hairdresser to a sushi chef offering home sales advice. Experts and lay people alike debate the pros and cons of the market with avid commitment to their beliefs.

The bottom line is no one knows what is going to happen; we can only tell you what has happened and hope that directs us to a predictable trend for the future. For instance, we’ve been warned for months that the interest rates were going to climb, decreasing the home buying power. So far, they have inched up incrementally but not so significantly as to adversely affect a home buying decision. In fact, across the board home sales are rising, days on market are retreating and multiple offers are being issued as buyers take advantage of reasonable rates and enticing incentives. As with anything, there are variances in the trends from area to area and season to season.

Unfortunately, statistics can be almost as confusing as clarifying when viewed in detail, as fluctuations can have little or no explanation and so cannot be appropriately quantified. The broad strokes, however, show us a robust housing market with sellers sitting slightly above buyers in regard to negotiations. The reason is simple: supply and demand.

For the sake of simplicity, the statistics we use will be a direct comparison of April 2016 to April 2017. When we compare the two months, we see a sharp drop in houses for sale across all areas of the Beaches. For example, the number of properties in Ponte Vedra Beach for sale has dropped 15.1 percent and Jacksonville Beach is down 7.4 percent. Neptune Beach is a whopping 30 percent below last year, Atlantic Beach is down a sizeable 23.1 percent and Nocatee saw a 19.1 percent decline.

Fewer choices means sellers usually have the upper hand in negotiations. Some areas, especially the ones with lowered supply, are seeing an increase in Days on Market. Many agents I’ve spoken with, however, claim this is due to multiple offers delaying the final agreement.

The breakdown of Days on Market is: Ponte Vedra down to 92 from 121; Jacksonville Beach is down to 56 days from 90; Neptune Beach increased a bit from 81 to 90, Atlantic Beach was up quite a bit from 61 to 130, and Nocatee also increased significantly from 34 to 118.

List to sale price ratio remained roughly the same in all areas with a few variations. Ponte Vedra increased a bit from 95.4 to 96.6 percent, Jacksonville Beach was even at 97.7 percent, Neptune Beach was up a microscopic amount at 97.4 against 97.2 percent, Atlantic Beach dropped slightly with 95.3 compared to 96.8 percent last year and Nocatee decreased from 99.3 to 98.6 percent.

This all adds up to one thing: Houses are selling well and very close to the asking price; it is just taking a bit longer to get there in some areas.

Home prices, meanwhile, are moving up in almost every area. In Ponte Vedra, the average sale price jumped from $673,883 to $705,251. Jacksonville Beach increased from $378,503 to $421,527, Neptune Beach grew to $413,169 from $407,600 and Atlantic Beach leapt from $476,115 to $560,214. Nocatee, however, was down to $395,146 from $403,157.

So, what does this all mean? Is it the right time to sell? Is it the right time to buy? Yes and yes – if it works for you. That’s really the only thing to consider. There are many markets where across-the-board stats can apply, but Jacksonville is not one of those and most especially the Beaches are not in that category, either. In order to make a good decision about buying or selling, you need to get specific information on a specific property. Don’t trust online estimates. Don’t rely on news stories or what a friend bought or sold their home for. Talk to a professional and have a licensed Realtor help you navigate the real estate market…it’s the safest and surest way to protect a very important part of your financial life.

Source: Northeast Florida MLS Market Summary Reports by Area-Residential April 2016 compared to April 2017. All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Each RE/MAX office is independently owned and operated.