Many people have asked me with the war going on in Ukraine, inflation and interest rates on the rise when do I see the market crashing or at the very least bursting.
While no one has a crystal ball, we have several things going for us that I feel will enable Florida and our area specifically to do better than most. Yes, the higher cost of living does affect the discretionary income for many, while higher interest rates will impact those when it comes to financing a home. However, Florida remains very attractive for its climate, its cost of living when compared to many northern states, and for the tax benefits to be enjoyed. In other words “weather, water, way of life!”
As I’ve mentioned many times before, ever since the onset of Covid, those moving from the north found they could work remotely and sold their homes at a much higher price than the homes they were purchasing in Florida. Most paid cash, while others only borrowed 50-60%. There were no sub-prime mortgages and over leveraging granted to buyers who, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t qualify for the loans they were seeking. From a lending point of view the banks were in much better position to sustain a real estate slow down knowing those that were approved for loans were well qualified and weren’t a great risk.
Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda specifically were considered the fastest growing areas in the country and compared to our surrounding counties, we were the “bargain” that attracted the growth. However, with that growth and low inventory levels sellers started taking full advantage of the “captive market” and property prices started to soar. Unfortunately, when prices start to take meteoric rises on properties that shouldn’t be rising to that level, that is when you can start to see some pull back. I base this more on buyer feedback than any prediction of a crash.
While Covid may still be a presence, I think more people feel they can cope with it better now than at the panic levels we have experienced the past few years. While the real estate market has become a 365 day a year business, we are starting to see some of our winter visitors heading back home to be with family for Easter. These may ease the “frenzy” a bit when it comes to bidding wars, but keep in mind a well-priced property doesn’t require a buyer to be present to submit an offer on a home, so I would still expect to see multiple offers on those properties.
So what do I see? I feel prices will remain high, but for those properties that are perceived as excessively priced, there will be price reductions as buyers are keeping an eye on those market rates and inflation. The result is they will hedge themselves a bit from going out on a limb and submitting an offer for a property that is perceived to be well over market value. Coupled with material costs to build or remodel, I feel the market will remain strong, but buyers will exhibit a bit more caution and make offers more in line for what they feel their total investment will be in a home, and not be as influenced by emotion as what we may have been experiencing.
Very few can argue that Florida affords one an incredible lifestyle, and that bodes well for our community. By comparison we are better poised for continued growth and with developers and national home builders still attracted to our area I think pricing, especially in the $250,000-600,000 will remain very competitive.