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Buyers’ Market Shift May be Coming

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April 17, 2024

Home sales have risen across the nation and in Florida and Tampa Bay, giving hope to those in the business that the market may shift from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market.

The National Association of REALTORS reported in March that existing home sales rose 9.5% in February, the second straight month of rising sales and the largest monthly increase since February 2023. The increase represented the second consecutive month of rising sales.

For Florida, there also seems to be good news but not quite as robust. The Florida REALTORS reported a 2.2% year over year increase for single-family home sales in Florida. Locally, however, the numbers are more of a mixed bag. Single family home sales declined 14.8 percent year over year in Hillsborough County according to Greater Tampa REALTORS. However, sales prices compared to the original listing proved to be a more upbeat indicator with single family homes selling at 96.2% of the listing and multi-family homes selling at 96.3 percent.

“Both are up suggesting that homes are doing well and the market is quite strong,” said Elliot Eisenberg, a consultant for Greater Tampa REALTORS.

In Pasco County, single family home sales jumped 6.4% year over year and in Pinellas County, single family home sales are up 4.6%.

On a related note, Rocket Homes has shifted St. Petersburg/Pinellas from sellers’ market to neutral. Neutral means prices tend to be reasonable and homes stay on the market for a typical length of time. The number of homes for sale in Pinellas rose 11.8% from January 2024 to February 2024.

Rocket Homes continues to classify Tampa/Hillsborough as a sellers’ market, but it also noted that the number of homes for sale rose 6.8% from January 2024 to February 2024. It also has Pasco in the sellers’ market category, but the number of homes for sale rose 8.4 percent from January 2024 to February 2024.

Increased inventory appears to be one of the key factors for all the encouraging numbers.

“Additional housing supply is helping to satisfy market demand,” says National Association of REALTORS Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Housing demand has been on a steady rise due to population and job growth, though the actual timing of purchases will be determined by prevailing mortgage rates and wider inventory choices.”

Yun added that high mortgage rates stymied home sales for a time, but buyers are having to adjust to interest rates between 6% and 7% and accept the fact that they won’t reach the record lows that existed before 2022.

“What happened in the past two years when we had a historically low inventory level is that many people who would have moved in normal circumstances just delayed,” Yun told CNN. “They said ‘I have my 3% mortgage rate; I don’t want to give it up.’ So many people simply delayed. But they can no longer delay.”

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