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Jax Daily Record Sunday, Feb. 28, 202105:20 AM EST

Real estate executive expects strong sales, low inventory for 2021

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty CEO Christy Budnick says the company had its best year in 2020.
by: Katie Garwood Staff Writer

Coming off a record year with $1.44 billion in closed volume, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty CEO Christy Budnick said she expects an even stronger year in 2021.

“We’re starting off with a red-hot year,” Budnick said. “We expect we will see anywhere from a 10 to 20% lift in units over last year.”

Last year’s strong performance can be attributed to several factors in the market, she said. 

Pent-up demand following pandemic closures boosted sales in the middle of the year. Low interest rates encouraged people to buy. Newcomers from more expensive areas of the country came to Jacksonville to work remotely and live in a less expensive but often larger home, Budnick said. 

Despite the low-inventory market that is expected to continue throughout the year, Budnick said the year will still be a strong one for Realtors.

“This time last year we had four months of inventory and right now we’re sitting at 1.4 months of inventory,” she said. “That’s a big difference.”

According to the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors, there were 4,296 homes for sale in the region in January, a 51.6% decrease over the same time last year. 

In January 2020, there was a 3.3-month supply of homes for sale.

On average, homes sold in 53 days, according to the January 2021 report. Homes were selling in 74 days in January 2020. 

Some buyers are getting into bidding wars with as many as 20 others on a home. Typically, Budnick said a bidding war consists of two or three offers. And for people who want to sell their homes, it has been difficult for them to find another home to move into, which is contributing to the low inventory, she said. 

Budnick said Berkshire Hathaway typically focuses on luxury products, or midprice-point homes between $250,000 and $600,000. She said in 2020, the agency sold twice as many homes worth more than $1 million than it did in 2019. 

Last year, Berkshire Hathaway says it held the highest market share in closed sales, new listings, pending sales and active listings of homes priced at $750,000 or higher, with market shares between 10% and 13.4% in each category. 

The company’s affiliation with the Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett helps buyers see it as a leading luxury brand, Budnick said. Her office also offers mortgage, property management, relocation and builder services.

“That is really important,” she said. “Today’s consumer really wants one-stop shopping. They want it all under one roof where it is easy and most cost-effective for them.”

 

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