Homebuying heats up in Northeast Florida

Published on March 11, 2024 at 11:38 am

The housing market in Northeast Florida is heating up faster than expected.

More homes sold in February than the month before; the median price was higher; and buyers had more houses to choose from, according to data released Monday by the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors.

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The data shows:

  • A total of 1,491 sales closed in February, 31.5% more than the month before.
  • The median price of a single-family home rose 2.8% to $385,000.
  • Homes sold more quickly. Houses remained on the market for a median of 35 days, which was down 31% from Janaury and 38.4% from the year before.
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  • More homes were available. The number of single-family homes for sale totaled 6,204 in February, an increase of 22.2% from January and 50.9% higher than the year before.

“When it comes to the Northeast Florida housing market, February’s market statistics looked more like the spring buying season than winter,” the Realtors group said in a news release.

The stats indicate that the market is rebounding, said Realtors association President Rory Dubin.

“Northeast Florida remains an attractive destination for families, retirees, investors and corporate relocations as well as commercial properties,” Dubin said.

Adam Rigel, chief financial officer of JWB Real Estate Capital, said the supply of newly built homes increased in 2023 as national builders returned to the market. Those companies had pulled back after the market crashed in 2008.

“It really has just taken that long for these builders to build up the amount of supply that they were doing prior to 2008,” Rigel told Jacksonville Today. “Specifically, in 2023 you had the pandemic ending; you had a bunch of built up permits and things like that; and there was this buildup of supply that was happening, and it finally got pushed out through 2023.”

Now the big national builders are pulling back again as they assess whether higher interest rates will discourage buyers, Rigel said.

The Realtors assocation data shows that houses in Northeast Florida grew slightly less affordable for many people in February, partly because prices increased. The region’s Home Affordability Index — a measure of whether the typical family can afford the typical home — dropped 2.9% in February.

Homes were 9.3% less affordable than a year earlier, the Realtors group said.

Rigel said buyers have been forced to scale back their desires.

“What it’s done is it’s created an affordability problem where individuals that wanted to buy a half-million-dollar house, now interest rates are higher, so they have to buy a $400,000 home,” Rigel said.

“What we’re also noticing is, a lot of what we do is focused on your first-time homebuyers, your affordable neighborhoods, affordable housing,” he said. “We see that market as having the highest demand, or the most people in that marketplace looking to own a home and move from rentership to owning a home. So the demand is still very high.”

Jacksonville Today reporter Will Brown contributed to this report.

author image Senior News Editor

Randy comes to Jacksonville from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where as metro editor, he led investigative coverage of the Parkland school shooting that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for public service. He has spent more than 40 years in reporting and editing positions in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Florida. 

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