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For the first time this year, the inventory of homes for sale in Central Florida has dropped, leaving fewer homes for first-time buyers and others.
The 2% fall in inventory is a result of steady home sales, bolstered in part by falling interest rates encouraging people to buy and rising home prices encouraging people to sell.
“What that really means is homes are being purchased,” said Sarah Mikhitarian, senior economist for Zillow, a real estate website. “People are starting to eating up some of that inventory.”
A little more than 2,600 single-family homes sold in August, 2.7% more than August 2018, with the bulk of sales in Osceola County, according to the latest housing report from the Orlando Regional Realtor Association.
That left a 2.3-month supply of homes in August, ORRA reports.
Mikhitarian said the changes in inventory could also be a result of more purchases in the summertime, usually peak season for home buying, before school and the holidays start.
Low-interest rates have also spurred sales, with Orlando homebuyers on average paying a 3.72% fixed interest rate, down from previous years when interest rates topped 4%.
Home prices also continue to go up, with the median price for a home in the Orlando market at $250,000 — nearly 9% more than this time last year when the median price was $230,000.
“It’s a favorable environment to buy or sell,” said Jeffrey Fagan, ORRA president and a Watson Realty Corp. agent.
But shrinking inventory could mean fewer affordable homes and more competition for them. Of the houses currently on the market in Orlando, only 19% are priced under $196,800, 33% between $196,800 and $302,750, and almost half are priced above $302,750, according to Zillow.
The declining inventory is a stark contrast from the years following the recession when buyers had their pick of houses from short sales and foreclosures. Short sales and foreclosures made up less than 3% of sales last month.
“What I’m seeing is there is not a lot of homes for sale” in well-priced, popular areas, said Linda Jokbengboon, an agent with Remax Town Centre. “Those will hit the market, and in a day or two be gone with multiple offers.”
Homes that closed in August on average sat on the market for a little over a month.
“You’ve got to be able to act quickly,” Jokbengboon said. “You shouldn’t take too long to figure that out if that’s the house you want because it will be gone. The good ones will get gobbled up.”
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