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Florida’s Single-family Housing Market Hits Bottom

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:06 pm    Post subject: Florida’s Single-family Housing Market Hits Bottom Reply with quote

Florida’s Single-family Housing Market Hits Bottom

Hopeful homebuyers in Florida should act now: The price is right as the state’s single-family residential housing market bottoms out, according to a University of Florida study released today. “If you’re thinking of buying a house, there’s probably not much to be gained by holding out at this point,” said Wayne Archer, director of UF’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. “It doesn’t look like prices are going to fall anymore.”

The quarterly survey of experts in the real estate industry completed in January shows that the share of respondents observing a drop in single-family housing prices has dipped, while a growing number find prices staying even with inflation, Archer said. “We see that as a benchmark,” he said. “When prices maintain the same level as inflation, then we’re probably in some kind of equilibrium. It indicates the market is stabilizing.” The exception is condominiums, which are overbuilt and prone to speculative and naïve investors, he said.

This is the first time in the UF survey’s five-quarter history that the buyers’ investment outlook for residential development has brightened, Archer said. It declined for the first three surveys and remained flat for the fourth survey at the end of October, starting to rise only in this latest survey, he said. Because of the dominance of single-family housing, the findings have far-reaching and potentially optimistic implications for the state’s real estate industry, Archer said.

The stabilization of the single-family housing market came earlier than anticipated and is not expected to affect all parts of the state equally, Archer said. The quieter markets likely will take longer to rebound than those in Central and South Florida, where growth has been explosive, he said.

Jacksonville typically has been a slower and steadier market than Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Miami and other cities in South Florida, but that is changing, Archer said. Recently, the Jacksonville housing market has picked up momentum, he said. Even with a turnaround, Archer said he does not believe Florida’s real estate market is likely to reach the same level that it did at its peak in 2005-06. “I don’t think any thoughtful person would expect sales to go back to where they were a year or so ago,” he said. “That was probably an overheated condition and it was extraordinary.”

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