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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jul. 23, 201905:10 AM EST

The Sailer Report: Jacksonville housing market is ‘pretty normal’

Supply of newly built homes is at 2½ months, which means area is “in good shape.”
by: Scott Sailer Staff Writer

“Pretty normal” is how a regional data analyst describes the health of the Jacksonville housing market. 

“When I look at the market here, it is pretty normal. It’s a good thing,” said David Cobb, regional director with Metrostudy.

Cobb presented national and local data about residential real estate June 26 to the Northeast Florida Builders Association.

Jacksonville-area first-quarter housing starts totaled 8,269, about half of the peak in 2007 before the Great Recession.

The number of houses that are newly built but not occupied stands at a normal 2½-month level.

“Three months and higher, that’s bad news. When we value our quarterly surveys, we make note of that special category,” Cobb said. 

Compare that with the first quarter of 2010, when the supply of finished unoccupied homes was almost six months, he said.

“We don’t want that, so we are in good shape here,” Cobb said.

The creation of new lots has grown again since those leftover from the recession have been developed, he said. 

North Florida housing starts by price range in the first quarter of 2019 by county, according to Metrostudy. Prices are in the thousands.

The supply of Jacksonville area vacant lots ready for development is normal at 24 months, he said, which is up 12 percent over the year.

The largest number of future lots is in St. Johns County, he said, “close to 10,000 between equipment and paving. That’s a bunch.”

As for housing starts and closings, Nocatee tops Northeast Florida with 986 annual housing starts and 927 annual closings. 

Cobb said Clay County, “the fastest growing county in the state,” will become a robust housing market because of the First Coast Expressway and the development it attracts.

Cobb reviewed the current transactions in the Jacksonville MSA, saying new homes are selling for a little more than resales.

“But when we factor in the price per square foot, there is only about a $5 per-square-foot difference.” 

He indicated there is some stressed inventory overhang because 8% of the existing home transactions are lenderowned or foreclosures. 

That should “be around 3%, but your new home proportion is 19% and nationally it’s 15%, so builders are taking more market share than the average. It’s good,” Cobb said. 

The prices of new homes in the Jacksonville market generally are between $250,000 to $350,000. “That’s your sweet spot in the market,” Cobb said.

St. Johns County prices top the market at an average $402,742, followed by Nassau at $379,616.

Duval prices average $275,804 because of the “introduction of more affordable product,” he said.

Metrostudy, a Hanley Wood data analysis company, provides research and expertise to support business decisions at the local, regional and national market level of the residential construction real estate and housing market.

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