Orlando home sales slid 5.4 percent in February compared with the same month a year ago as the region’s real estate market continues to cool.
Buyers in Central Florida purchased 2,402 homes and condos during February, the fourth straight month of declining year-over-year sales, according to data released from the Orlando Regional Realtor Association on Friday. The median selling price for single-family homes was up slightly from January to $249,900, but down $10,100 from the peak in June.
Condo sales fell 12.9 percent year-over-year, and foreclosure and short sales were down 26 percent. The report covers Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties.
Real estate agents say the market is turning from one that favored sellers. The supply of homes was down slightly from January, but otherwise was the most in the region since early 2017.
That’s good news for buyers, who have watched prices climb rapidly in recent years, said Tara Moore, a real estate agent based in Winter Garden.
“We’ve been in a seller’s market for so long,” said Moore, owner of Tara Moore Real Estate. “Things seems to be shifting back more towards neutral.”
The trends are not as good for homeowners looking to sell, as prices peaked during the summer and have come down since. There is both a bigger supply of homes for sale than there were a year ago, prices are trending down and higher interest rates are squeezing buyers.
Central Florida’s real estate market is mirroring what is happening nationally, where sales have been declining in recent months. The National Realtors Association forecasts that existing single-family home sales will be down 7.8 percent in the first quarter and sales prices would average about $15,000 less than last summer.
However, the number of homes on the market is still tight compared with the number of buyers.
“I haven’t seen as much business from sellers, but I have a lot of buyers under contract,” Moore said.
Moore said there are a lot of overpriced homes on the market that aren’t selling, making inventory appear higher than it is.
Real estate website Zillow said the number of listings in the Orlando area with price decreases increased in January to 20 percent of all properties on the market.
The Orlando real estate market has faced other challenges in the past six months. Average interest rates on mortgages nearly reached 5 percent late in 2018, although rates on average dipped back to 4.34 percent in February.
New home sales also are increasingly competitive with single-family sales and home building hit its highest levels in Central Florida last year in more than a decade, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
After a slow winter. real estate agents hope buyers and sellers have been waiting for spring.
“March and April typically herald the beginning of our most active period, when a great many prospective buyers begin getting serious about being settled into a home before the new school year,” said a statement from Orlando Regional Realtor Association President Jeffrey M. Fagan, says “Despite a decrease in year-over-year sales, greater inventory combined with moderated prices and interest rates that are at historic lows is expected produce our traditional uptick in springtime homebuying.”
News Source: Orlando Sentinel.