Florida REALTORS Optimistic about 2018

By:Kelly McCabe - January 30, 2018

Florida’s housing market showed no signs of a seasonal slump at the close of 2017, and that isn’t likely to change as 2018 ticks on, according to a new forecast from Florida Realtors. Unveiled at its mid-winter business meeting, the 2018 Florida Real Estate Trends forecast expects growth in the state’s employment and population, which will drive home sales.

As a global city that attracts investors and buyers from around the world, Florida’s economy is driven locally by the state’s business climate, which includes real estate; the national economy and financial markets; and the global economy.

“In fact, Florida is growing faster in terms of employment growth than the rest of the U.S., which is good for Florida real estate,” Dr. Tony Villamil, founder and principal advisor of the Washington Economics Group, said at the event.

And while some may worry that destruction from Hurricane Irma will have a long-term impact on the state’s market, Florida Realtors research shows the market should stay strong. The organization reviewed real estate sales data from 2004 and 2005, when the state was reeling from the effects of several hurricanes: Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Ivan, Dennis and Wilma. The findings showed that while it’s natural for markets to suffer immediate setbacks, they rebound fairly quickly.

“Sales in areas where most homes did not experience severe structural damage rebounded within a month or two of landfall,” said Florida Realtors chief economist Brad O’Connor. “These temporary slowdowns were due to business activity halting ahead of the storm and power outages, regulations and additional required inspections afterwards. Sale prices don’t seem to care much about hurricanes. Plenty of buyers are happy to line up to buy the real estate as long as it’s not completely annihilated.”

Florida Realtors notes that this year, much like the rest of the country, the market’s major obstacle will be lack of inventory.

“It’s really inventory constraints that’s bringing sales down,” O’Connor said. “Not only aren’t enough homes being built, but people who own their homes aren’t moving. They used to stay in a home on average about seven years, and that median has moved up to 11 years now.”