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Home sales slow in Northeast Florida in January

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While homes sales in January might have been down across the region, activity in St. Johns County was still strong.

A report from the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors showed that in the six-county area there were 1,590 sales, which was a 2.9% drop from 1,638 sales in January 2018.

The report noted that January is typically a sluggish month for home sales. However, St. Johns County showed an increase of 1.6% in sales. The median price was $305,000. NEFAR stats do not cover the entirety of St. Johns County.

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“January saw the smallest number of home sales in Northeast Florida in more than a year,” NEFAR President Jeanne Denton-Scheck said in a release. “After a record-breaking 2018 with nearly 30,000 sales, the slower pace is not particularly surprising.”

Another sign of strength in this county is the permitting total. In January, the county building department reported 393 single-family permits were issued, about 50 more than last year.

It’s a significant number because things had started to slow at the end of 2018. Both the total for November (273) and December (269) were lower than the previous year. However, October 2018 was one of the busiest months the building department has ever seen with 493 permits.

Interestingly, the commercial building sector also rebounded after a very slow finish to 2018. After 58 commercial permits in December, there were 102 in January.

The overall valuation of commercial building is way ahead of last year’s pace, though. Four months into the fiscal year, the commercial valuation is nearly double that of the same point in the 2018 fiscal year at $143 million.

As for the regional home sales, NEFAR said the median price of $206,000 was just 0.5% more than a year ago. The average sales price was $240,463; a 1.3% drop from a year ago.

Overall inventory ended the month at 8,798, up 7.2% from a year ago. The result on months’ supply of homes for sale notched up only slightly, however, from 3.4 months a year ago to 3.5 months on hand this January.

The NEFAR reports notes: “While the home affordability topic will continue to set the tone for the 2019 housing market, early signs point to an improving inventory situation, including in several markets that are beginning to show regular year-over-year percentage increases.

“If home price appreciation falls more in line with wage growth, and rates can hold firm, consumer confidence and affordability are likely to improve.”

Tribune Content Agency

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