By Stuart Korfhage
Posted Jun 12, 2018 at 6:21 PM
Updated Jun 13, 2018 at 6:11 AM
Read Full Article: There were slightly fewer homes sold in the area this May compared to 2017, but prices and new construction have continued to climb in St. Johns County.
That’s according to reports from the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors (NEFAR) and the St. Johns County Building Department.
NEFAR reported that sales activity for the region in May were down 6.1 percent compared to last year — although year-to-date sales were about flat, down just 1.1 percent.
The NEFAR report says the total number of sales would likely be higher if there were simply more homes available.
According to the report: “Although home sales may actually drop in year-over-year comparisons over the next few months, that has more to do with low inventory than a lack of buyer interest. As lower days on market and higher prices persist year after year, one might rationally expect a change in the outlook for residential real estate, yet the current situation has proven to be remarkably sustainable likely due to stronger fundamentals in home loan approvals than were in place a decade ago.”
In St. Johns County, the NEFAR report showed sales in May were down 1.8 percent from May 2017. However, year-to-date sales were up 8.7 percent. Not all sales in the county are covered by NEFAR.
The median sales price in May was $334,900, and the year-to-date median sales price was $320,000. That was 4.8 percent higher than the pace last year at this point.
For the entire region, the median sales price was $225,000, a 5.8-percent year-over-year increase. The average sales price was significantly higher, coming in at $273,448 for an 8.1-percent increase since a year ago.
A release from NEFAR said increasing prices are especially affecting availability of homes in the lower price ranges. Here’s the breakdown of May’s homes for sale by price range: 1,324 are listed for $149,999 or less; 795 are in the $150,000 to $199,999 range; 2,114 fall in the $200,000 to $299,999 category; 2,452 are within the $300,000 to $499,999 slot; 1,259 are listed for $500,000 to $999,999, and 454 homes are on the market for $1 million or more.
“We continue to experience trends that include an inventory that can’t keep pace with a hot market in terms of quantity and speed of sales, along with pricing that is robust and beneficial for sellers,” NEFAR President Ben Bates said in the release.
Meanwhile, inventory is still low in this county. NEFAR said St. Johns County had 4.5 months’ worth of inventory.
Helping to correct that is the construction industry.
It’s no secret that home building has been robust in recent years in this county. In April, there was a record 522 residential permits issued. In May, the number dropped to a more typical 370. Still, that’s the busiest month since October 2017, and there have been just five busier months in the last decade.
For the year, there have been 1,902 residential permits issued in the county, and the summer months of June, July and August tend to be the months with the highest volume of building activity. Last year, there were 1,710 permits issued through May as the total for the year ended at 4,074.
According to a permit activity report from the Northeast Florida Builders Association, the activity in St. Johns County was about equal to that in Duval County, which had 376 residential permits in May. But that was an abnormally large number for Duval. In fact, it was the highest total for a month in Jacksonville since 2008.