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Millions of homeowners have put their mortgage payments on pause amid the coronavirus crisis. "A lot of people are in distress," says Michael Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association. Image via AP.

Jax

Northeast Florida housing inventory again plummets

Houses under $200K are hard to find while average prices held steady last month.

Average home prices finally flattened along the First Coast in September after a robust and record-breaking summer, according Northeast Florida Association of Realtors data released this week.

Home inventor in Northeast Florida continues to be sparse. There were 5,869 homes for sale on the First Coast in September. That’s down 534 properties from August and represents a 40% plunge from September 2019 when 9,665 homes were on the market.

The lack of inventory has persisted through 2020 in Northeast Florida driving up home prices through the summer. The area reached its record-high average price per home in July when the average asking price was $325,665.

That average price cooled slightly in August to about $318,398. That figure ticked up slightly in September to $319,618 on the First Coast. That average price is still 17.6% higher than a year ago.

“With five- to six-months of inventory being considered, a market that is balanced between buyers and sellers, and September closing with only two months of inventory, it is readily apparent that this is still very much a seller’s market in Northeast Florida,” said NEFAR President Ron Harris.

NEFAR officials have conceded the onset of the coronavirus pandemic has provided a boost for the real estate market in Northeast Florida, one of the few industries that has not only thrived, but grown stronger since the outbreak.

Many people who live in northern states who have long wanted to live in Florida are now seeing their dreams come true thanks to the home office, remote working situation brought on by the pandemic. Many are moving to Florida while still holding their jobs that are based at companies in the North.

But that demand has created a highly competitive seller’s market in Northeast Florida as homes are often selling for more than asking prices. In turn, the inventory is decreasing rapidly.

Homes in the affordable range for first-time homebuyers are the most scarce, NEFAR reports. Of all the homes on the market in September, only 1,459 were being sold for less than $200,000. There were 1,556 homes for sale between $200,000 and $300,000 and another 1,617 were for sale between $300,000 and $500,000. The remaining homes were going for more than $500,000.

Written By

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at drewdixonwriting@gmail.com.

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