Florida Residential Real Estate Update: As Hot as Our Weather

At the 10th Annual Real Estate Forum, Betsy Pepine provided a thorough update of the residential real estate market. The Broker-Owner of Pepine Realty and owner of title, property management and mortgage companies, she pointed out several indicators of a strong Florida market, including:

• Unit sales are up 6%

• Dollar volume is up 8%

• Home prices are up 5%

Pepine notes that while residential real estate is hot, she’s also noticing two distinct Gainesville markets. And these markets are performing quite differently.

“(We have) the market under $300,000 and the market over $300,000. In the market over $300,000, you’ll actually see price depreciation,” Betsy said. “And as the price increases, that differential gets greater.” Indeed, houses priced at over $1 million in Gainesville are on the market for an average of 190 days—with nearly a quarter of them not selling at all.

Under the threshold, it’s a much different story. Betsy explained that these homes sell fast, especially if they’re in planned communities that are zoned for good schools, situated off major roads and have amenities like a pool and gathering spaces.

To make things even more competitive, house hunters are starting searches earlier and are becoming more aggressive when making a purchase. “People that need to move this summer, they’re already starting to look now,” said Betsy. “We’re also seeing people very willing to break a 12-month lease eight months early when they find the house they want.”

This and other factors have resulted in a decrease in housing inventory, with rates down as much as 53% and multiple offer scenarios once again becoming a common occurrence.

When asked about how to handle the lack of supply from a business standpoint, Betsy had plenty of advice. In the under-$300k market, she suggests educating your buyers that a multiple offer situation could happen. These homes will be in high demand, so help them plan for and make attractive offers in anticipation of this possibility.

From a broker’s perspective, “you have to be very diligent about finding sellers,” Betsy said. “Sometimes it’s not those sellers that just raised their hand, but maybe they are the absentee owners that have left this marketplace and don’t realize how much their house is worth now.”

Seek out sellers. Contact for-sale-by-owner sellers or absentee owners (who have left the marketplace) who might not realize how much their house is worth. And network with colleagues at other brokerages. “Everybody knows houses that are coming onto the market, but they’re not technically on the market today.”

Watch our video above for Betsy Pepine’s entire residential real estate update and her insightful comments during Q&A.

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