WUFT News

Booming Home Sales in Northeast Florida

By on February 1st, 2014
Real estate in Northeast Florida is showing signs of improvement.

Rachel Kurland/WUFT News

Real estate in Northeast Florida is showing signs of improvement.

Last year there was an increase in home sales in Northeast Florida compared to previous years on the market.

The region as a whole improved, according to the annual report by the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors. About 4,000 more homes were sold in 2013 than in 2012 — a 21.7 percent increase.

The median sales price increased in 2013 by 15.3 percent, totaling $153,400.  Homes also spent less time on the market, selling at a rate of 23 days faster than in 2012.

Judy Siler, a realtor in Palatka, said Putnam is one of the poorest counties in Florida, but it is catching up to the high home demand of its surrounding counties in Northeast Florida.

In 2013, there were 635 homes sold in Putnam County, she said, which is 154 more than the 481 sold in 2012. Of those 635 homes, 289 were under $49,999, showing to be the most marketable. There were 168 homes between $50,000 and $99,999; 84 were between $100,000 and $149,999; and 47 were between $150,000 and $199,999. The numbers were lower in home sales above $200,000 with 47 homes sold at that price or higher.

Linda Merritt, an official from the Dixie Gilchrist Levy Counties Board of Realtors, said residential sales in Dixie and Levy totaled 206 in 2012 and 258 in 2013.

Among the counties in this region, Putnam County west saw a 44.3 percent increase in home sales last year, the third-largest increase among other counties. The highest change in home sales was 53.3 percent in Baker County, and the lowest was about negative 9 percent in Ponte Vedra Beach north. The median percentage increase in home sales was 22.1 percent in the Fleming Island area.

More populated counties saw increases as well. Mary Petrucci, an official from the Realtors Association of Citrus County, said home sales also increased between 2012 and 2013 in Citrus from 2,053 to 2,440. The Gainesville-Alachua County Association of Realtors showed an increase from 1,824 home sales to 2,511.

Palatka realtor Siler said, “Everything goes in cycles in real estate. It’s been really exciting that we’ve had so much opportunity here because the market back in 2010 and 2011 was really slow.”

According to the Florida Realtors, home sales increased to 227,411 single-family closed home sales in 2013, compared to 203,426 in 2012.

Siler said the increase relates to the decrease in the unemployment rate and people finding better opportunities.

“People decided to start jumping on the wagon before prices went up too much,” Siler said.

Siler said in the current market, buying a home is cheaper than renting it, so cash buyers, first-time homebuyers and investors are taking advantage of that. With a lack of rentals available due to high mortgages or foreclosures, investors are buying more homes to convert into rentals.

John Tuccillo, a chief economist for Florida Realtors, also said an increasing employment rate makes for a strong housing market. Other external factors, such as the constant migration of people to Florida, expand the home sales market.

Overall, Tuccillo said buying a home in the current market gives buyers better choices in the long run.

“What we’re looking at is a window of opportunity, in respect to interest rates and prices,” he said.

Ben Bates, the owner and president of Coldwell Banker in Palatka, said the economy has become more stable over the years.

According to Coldwell Banker statistics provided by Bates, the average amount of time a home was on the market in Putnam was faster in 2013 than in 2012 by 21 days. The average sales price in Putnam also increased by $2,603. Overall sales saw a 3-percent increase for the year.

Bates said in 2003, the average sales price for residential properties was $80,614. The market peaked in 2006 at $142,995 but decreased significantly in 2011 at $70,206. However, the prices stabilized in 2012 at $83,748 and then $86,351 in 2013.

“Our market has finally leveled out and recorrected itself,” he said.


This entry was posted in Business, Florida and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • JoJo

    The majority of homes sales are bank-owned and short sales, although the inventory is low in these two types of properties at this time, February 8, 2014. Over 50% were purchased by investor/flippers, so the average couple with two kids did not participate in this “mini-boom”.

 

More Stories in Business

Personal liaison Daniel Araque delivers groceries to a Gainesville resident. Lazy Delivery offers delivery from any brick and mortar stores in the area within two hours.

Three Unlikely Business Owners Expand Gainesville Company To Tallahassee

Manuel Zelaya, his brother Daniel and their longtime friend Marc Charbel are in their mid-twenties and co-founders of Lazy Delivery, a business that delivers groceries and other items from physical stores to area residents. They are expanding their business to Tallahassee later this month.


Wendy Newman, co-owner of The Talented Cookie Company, ices an order of cookies decorated to look like limes. The Talented Cookie Company is moving into The Corner next month.

Local Entrepreneurs Unite To Create High Springs Hangout

Two couples combine four businesses to make one large hangout for High Springs. The opening of The Corner is scheduled for next month.


Luke Kemper, the owner of Swamp Head Brewery, shares a laugh over a beer with tactical manager Brandon Nappy. The brewery creates many seasonable beers but has found success from the first original five beers, which are available year round.

Swamp Head Becomes First Solar-Powered Brewery In Florida

Swamp Head Brewery has moved to a new location and installed solar panels, becoming the first solar-powered brewery in Florida. Their goal has always been to become more sustainable, and they have taken other initiatives such as buying land for preservation and aiding in conservation efforts to do so.


IMG_0546

Downtown Development Anchors Palatka Revitalization

The city of Palatka is revitalizing its downtown through several development projects. At its center is the restoration of four vacant buildings that will contain commercial, residential and retail spaces.


Customers shop in the produce section of Lucky's Market.

Lucky’s Market Adds To Continued Restoration of Northwest 13th Street

Lucky’s Market is part of a growing trend of businesses opening along NW 13th Street, showing a push toward commercial restoration of the area. Other companies, retailers and small businesses may follow as a result of a more stable local economy.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments