Spring has sprung and the West Volusia and East lake real estate market continues to steam along. Interest rates are bouncing around in an upward fashion per Freddie Mac’s latest report, hitting their highest mark in 2017 on March 9th with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.21 percent with an average of .5 point. Cheap money continues to allow home buyers to buy more home for their dollar. I expect this will change as it is widely anticipated that interest rates, along with the Fed Rate, will rise in 2017 and 2018. The question is how soon and how high will they rise. The answer to this is anyone’s guess as all of us so called “experts” expected rates to rise much higher than they currently are.
We continue to experience a Seller’s Market, this is supported by the continued low housing inventory. In January, West Volusia and East Lake County had just 845 homes on the market, in February that number dropped by about 8 percent to 778 and, at the time of this writing, there are only 704 homes on the market. That’s a 17 percent decline in just the first quarter! Less homes available for purchase drives up competition amongst buyers and home prices have (and should continue) to rise.
With fewer homes on the market, the asking price/selling price ratios continue to be very high. Each month this year have had those ratios well above 98%. In case you are not good with numbers, that simply means that if you are a home buyer, expect to pay very close to the asking price. It is commonplace that buyers are paying above asking price on a regular basis due to multiple offers on homes.
One interesting change from the 2016 is that, despite lower inventory and continued high asking price/listing price ratios, it is taking a bit longer for these homes to sell than they did at year’s end. In January, the median days until contract was 29 days, in February it took 34 days, and thus far in March it is taking Sellers just 24 days to contract! However, when looking at the previous calendar year, these numbers are generally consistent with those of the past 12 months.