What to expect from the Central Florida housing market in 2023
Even as the cost of living remains high in Florida, the state continues to see an influx of new residents looking to buy a home. WMFE's Talia Blake talked with Sean Snaith, Director of the Institute for Economic Forecasting at the University of Central Florida, about what those new residents and local buyers can expect from the housing market this year.
Current State of the Market
Between an influx of new residents and competition from investors, it can be hard for local residents to purchase a new home.
Affordable housing has been an issue for quite some time in Florida.
As for the housing market this year, Sean Snaith of UCF says it's slowly improving.
"The housing market is not as severely tight as it was six or eight months ago, that being said, it's still a very tight housing market."
According to the Florida Realtor's Association, inventory across the state was higher in November 2022 than the year prior for both existing single-family homes and for condo-townhouse units.
But even with more houses becoming available, Snaith says, "they're still below what would be considered a balance housing market."
A problem he says has persisted for a while in Florida.
"It was extremely low inventories for a while. And that's why we were seeing over the past couple of years, 20% year over year price appreciation for single family homes," he says. "And that just sort of trickled down all the way and impacted rents as well, which went up significantly."
Snaith expects home prices to gradually come down this year.
"But, this is not a situation where prices are going to come tumbling down the way they did in 2008/2009."
The average median price for a single family home was $400,000 in November, which is a 10% increase from 2021, according to the Florida Retailors Association.
That paired with mortgage rates above 6% may have some new buyers hesitant to enter the market as higher rates can mean higher monthly payments.
"I think that affordability is 'can I afford this monthly payment? How much of my paycheck is going to go to this mortgage?'" says Snaith. "That's sort of the calculus I think, that people are doing."
Buying on a budget
When looking to buy a house in Central Florida, Snaith says there are a few steps you can take to find an affordable place.
"Of course, the biggest one is have a larger down payment on the home, so you're borrowing less money," he says.
But, with inflation making every day living more expensive, it can be difficult to save for a bigger down payment.
If that's not an option, Snaith says look for a house outside the Orlando metro.
"The further out, you tend to get from the center of the metropolitan economy, prices tend to decline," he says.
In addition to a different location, Snaith says waiting is an option too.
"I think this is happening more frequently is that people are just delaying the purchase and maybe trying to build up that down payment and wait and see what happens," he says. "What's going to happen with mortgage rates? What's going to happen with overall prices?"
Potential Impacts to the Market
Although inventory is slowly on the rise, Snaith says we may not see a lot of new construction.
"Builders are not particularly confident right now. So, they may not be rushing to build," he says. "But we need more supply, because demand doesn't appear to be slowing."
Along with low confidence, there could be coming changes to building codes in Florida after Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on the state in September.
"Additional regulations, additional laws or, uncertainty around those, can slow progress in terms of new developments and new construction as builders and developers have to wade through what ever these new rules and regulations might be," says Snaith.
Like many of us, Snaith says builders are dealing with inflation as raw material costs soar and shortages because of supply chain issues.
"That impacts the supply of housing as well, right. I can't get what I need to finish this home," he says. "And so that whole under normal supply chain circumstances would have been on the market eight months earlier, doesn't get to the market or get to the buyer until eight months later."
Lastly, Snaith says the possibility of a recession could further erode demand as we work our way through that.