Home prices surge another 4.5% in March

The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors says there are signs the market is stabilizing.

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After a first quarter of increasing home prices and dwindling inventory, the second quarter is showing signs of market stabilization, according to the March Housing Market Report compiled by the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors.

The median price for single-family homes, condos and townhouses was $350,000 in March, up 4.5% from the previous month and 25% more than February 2021.

“The moderate month-over-month increase is in line with the median price trend since November 2021 and is even more evidence that pricing in our market is beginning to return to a more stabilized level,” NEFAR President Mark Rosener said in a news release.

However, it still is a seller’s market.

Low inventory remains a contributing factor to increasing prices. At the end of March there were 2,676 houses on the market, 7.5% fewer than in February.

But throughout the month, that number reached a high of 3,144, which was 14% higher than the month before.

“This is in line with a normal uptick of new listings hitting the market in the spring season,” Rosener said.

“This trend should continue over the next several months, which will make it a little easier for buyers to find a home that meets their needs.”

Sellers still need to start packing when they put out the for-sale sign. Homes are lasting about two weeks on the market, which is 7% longer than a year ago. In March, closed sales were up 22.5% from February and pending sales rose 4.3%.

However, the March 2022 numbers are below the same time last year.

“The first quarter of 2021 was inflated by pent-up demand created by the COVID pandemic. All of these factors continue to point to slow movement toward a more moderate and stabilizing real estate market in Northeast Florida,” Rosener said.

Rising mortgage rates are beginning to add pressure on potential homebuyers. The Home Affordability Index increased by a point to 92 in Northeast Florida in March.

The National Association of Realtors defines the Home Affordability Index as the measurement of whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on price and income data.

The index limits buyers to spending 25% of their annual income on principal and interest on a home purchase. Numbers under 100 represent that homes are less affordable.