Moderation in the housing market shows a shift toward affordability


In most areas of Northeast Florida the August housing market reflected a slight drop in median prices while the number of days homes sat on the market has gradually continued to climb.

Buyers can relish the good news that, for single-family homes, the percent closed-over list price went down 27.7% as did the average list price, 1%, indicating a small tick up in affordability throughout the region.

As far as affordability goes, the market still has a way to go to get back to the point where homes are affordable for people making the median family income. However, there are many indications that it is finally moving in the right direction. For instance, the region’s Home Affordability Index inched up 2.9% to 70 for single-family homes. The index measures housing affordability by measuring whether a typical family earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a typical home, based on current interest rates, median income and median home prices. A higher number means greater affordability.

“Moving into fall 2022 we continue to see the residential real estate market, which includes single-family homes, condos and townhomes, continue to moderate and normalize,” said Mark Rosener, president of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors (NEFAR). “While still an 18% increase year over year, the median price in our six-county market has shown mild fluctuations month to month of between $350,000 and $365,000 since March. This indicates that the dramatic increases that were seen during the pandemic are coming to an end.”

Rosener said that closed and pending sales have leveled off in the 2,300 to 2,500 range over the past several months and are now well below the 3,000 to 3,500 peak a little more than a year ago.

“Median days on the market have continued to increase to 31 days with only 19.1% of homes selling over list price and the sale-to-list price ratio settling into a more normal 98.6%,” he continued. “New listings are hitting the market and active inventory has stabilized, with 3,200 new listings and 6,348 active listings.  The combination of fewer unit sales and our current active inventory has increased the region’s months of supply to 2.7 months, which has been stable over the past couple of months.”

As far as single-family homes go, $393,900 was the median price for the region in August, a scant 1.5% decline. As seen in the combined market of single-family, condos and townhomes, the median days on the market for single-family residences hiked up 34.8%.

Still, inventory remains historically low, with a 2.7-month supply and an active inventory of 5,323 single-family homes.

St. Johns County remains the most expensive area to live with a median single-family home price of $555,000 and a Home Affordability Index number of 49. Yet the August median days on the market for single-family homes leaped up 34.6% to 35 days.

In contrast, Putnam County, which is the most affordable place to live in Northeast Florida compared to its other counties, saw the median price of single-family homes increase 24.1% to $242,000 and its Home Affordability Index drop to 113, a 19.3% decrease from the month before. The median days on the market in August also increased 43.7% to 51.

Putnam County’s Home Affordability Index indicated the county was becoming less affordable when it registered at 113, a 19.3% decrease from July.

As the market levels off into its new normal, sellers and buyers may need to adjust their mindsets, said Rosener.

“Sellers will need to price their homes in line with current comparable sold and active listings,” he said. “The tried-and-true factors of location and condition for a home have become as important as ever and are specific to each neighborhood.”

Meanwhile, for buyers, the additional inventory now on the market is good news, Rosener said.

“It allows for more selection and perhaps a less competitive frenzy of activity for each listing,” he said. “Multiple offers on properties are still a reality in many areas of the market but not as much of a factor as it was at the peak.”

Month-to-month in St. Johns County, closed sales dropped 6.3% to 475, pending sales dropped 3.9% to 394 and new listings dropped 10.3% to 574. Active inventory rose to 1,312 homes, a 1.1% increase, and a 2.8-month supply.

In Duval County, the August median price of single-family housing was $343,995, a nearly 1% drop from June and July. The median days on the market in August was 28, a 33.3% increase over July and a 115.4% increase from the year before. Month-to-month, closed sales dropped 1.5% to 956, pending sales increased 6.6% to 1,018, and new listings dropped 12.9% to 1,365. Active inventory for the county was 2,580 homes, a slight decline from last month and a 2.7-month supply. In August, the home affordability index registered at 79.5, a minuscule increase over July’s index of 79.