It’s that fa-la-la-la-la time of year again! Time to break out the recipes, the cookies, the candies, and the party mix you make better than anyone. There are get-togethers with families and friends, parades, and Christmas concerts. We greet one another with cheerful exchanges of thoughtful sentiments like Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Happy Hanukkah, and more. Festive lights adorn homes and here in Florida clever beachgoers build snowmen out of sand. We Floridians welcome not falling snow but rather the falling dew point and humidity. We use our shovels to search for sharks’ teeth and seashells at the beach rather than shovel snow. December brings together so many wonderful traditions, including the annual migration of our snowbirds returning for their winter stay.
So, the snowbirds are coming down, we have humidity coming down, but do we also have real estate prices coming down? That has been the big question all year. I would say the market is plateauing. The inventory is still low, and interest rates are not. Yet we still have customers finding themselves in multiple offer situations. I had the opportunity to hear Barry Habib speak, he is a mortgage expert, entrepreneur, and the founder of MBS Highway. The topic and analysis he shared covered decades of history as well as current data of the real estate market and our economy. One of the data points he discussed reveals that the Federal Reserve adjusts rates to curb inflation and recessions and with those moves the mortgage rates follow. We all know we are currently dealing with inflation (look at the price of eggs –goodness!) and many are saying there is a recession coming. Historically that means the Fed will make moves to help offset inflation which, as Mr. Habib explained, overtime will bring mortgage rates into a bit more palatable range. No one believes the 2% rates are coming back, those are most likely long gone.
How could this impact the real estate market? There are people who put their house buying on hold when rates went up. Many of those will come back into the market when the rates begin to go down simply because they can afford their Florida dream again. This won’t be Santa delivering sweet packages of lower interest rates in one night, the change will take a time throughout 2023. Home prices in Florida are still predicted to increase at a normal pace in most price points (normal is about 5% year over year), but I think we can all agree and say, “Thank goodness the HOT market has cooled”. The important thing is that people are still buying and selling real estate. This is good because when houses are bought and sold many other goods are bought and sold and that is good for the overall economy.
You may hear analysts with their doom and gloom predictions of the real estate market but there are a few things I hope you will remember. As home prices were moving up, a high majority of the sales were cash, those people are not upside down on their mortgages. As far as mortgages go, there are strong safety nets in place to curb a mortgage mess like what happened in 2006-2008. If you are seeing foreclosures, don’t forget that the government implemented a moratorium during covid on foreclosures. Now that the moratorium has been lifted and banks can foreclose, they are just cleaning up old business. Also, keep in mind the sunshine state real estate market is unique and Florida doesn’t always behave like the rest of the country, which is why so many of us love it here. I think during “hap-hap-happiest time of year,” the only bubble we need to concern ourselves with is how much bubbly we might indulge in during all the holiday festivities.
Take a moment to read this mortgage rate lock nail bitter with a happy ending. Said Yes to the Address
Oh did you notice the dolphin Christmas light picture at the beginning? That is a Punta Gorda Isles tradition, the canal homes decorate their backyards and lania’s for the holidays. Folks then go by boat to enjoy the festive lights reflecting off the water. It a wonderful way to look at holiday lights. If you are in the area over the next couple weeks you really should check it out. I took this less than a minute video the tour we took with friends. You can hear Ray exclaim Christmas is here!!
Market Data and Stats...
What does our local market look like this week? The data criteria I used was single family home, 2+ beds, 2+ baths, price point $200,000 to $1,000,000, and the home had to have at least 1200 square feet. Keep in mind this is from December 3rd to December 10th.
New listings: 75 Price Decrease: 138 Sold: 109 Pending: 89
Average List Price: $547,000 Average Sold: $551,000 Precent to List Price: 96%
New listings: 98 Price Decrease: 118 Sold: 77 Pending: 103
Average List Price: $565,000 Average Sold: $543,000 Precent to List Price: 97%
New listings: 65 Price Decrease: 69 Sold: 47 Pending: 67
Average List Price: $441,000 Average Sold: $371,000 Precent to List Price: 98%
For an in-depth look click on the County Market Reports below. And as always if you want a Market Report for a specific town or community in one of these three counties, let us know.
Manatee Market Report
Sarasota Market Report
Charlotte Market Report
Ray and I want to wish each of you a happy & jolly Christmas season!