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Housing Experts Predict Slower 2019, But Jacksonville Market Hotter Than Average

house with For Sale sign
Scott Lewis via Flickr
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Housing market trends generally have been positive in recent years as the market recovers from the financial crisis a decade ago.

However, several firms that collect data on the market see signals of a slowdown heading into 2019.

Realtor.com is projecting sales of existing homes to fall by 2 percent nationally next year, as rising mortgage rates and home prices make it especially difficult for younger, first-time buyers to purchase homes.

“Inventory will continue to increase next year, but unless there is a major shift in the economic trajectory, we don’t expect a buyer’s market on the horizon within the next five years,” Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said in a news release.

“Unfortunately for buyers, it’s only going to get more costly to buy, especially the most-demanded entry level real estate,” she said.

The projection for Jacksonville is better than the rest of the country, with Realtor.com forecasting 0.5 percent home sales growth next year.

However, another report from Realtor.com on November sales activity said Jacksonville was one of only eight of the 45 largest metropolitan areas to have declining prices.

The median listing price for Jacksonville was 2 percent lower than it was in November 2017.

Meanwhile, a quarterly report by ATTOM Data Solutions said the number of single-family homes and condominiums “flipped” in the third quarter was 12 percent lower than last year.

ATTOM defines a flip as any arm’s-length sale of a single-family home or condo that was previously involved in an arms-length transaction within the past 12 months.

Flips accounted for only 5 percent of U.S. home sales in the third quarter but the data firm says it is a significant indicator.

“Home flipping acts as a canary in the coal mine for a cooling housing market because the high velocity of transactions provides home flippers with some of the best and most real-time data on how the market is trending,” ATTOM Senior Vice President Daren Blomquist said in a news release.

The flipping market has declined year-over-year for three straight quarters, he said.

Jacksonville pretty much mirrored the national market in flipping. ATTOM reported 392 flipping transactions in the Jacksonville metro area in the third quarter, down 11.9 percent from last year. Flips accounted for 5.6 percent of all home sales.

The gross profit from home flips in the Jacksonville market was $62,500 in the third quarter, compared to $63,000 nationally.

One more report this week from Jacksonville-based Black Knight Inc. showed total “tappable equity,” the amount of equity available for homeowners with mortgages to borrow against, fell by $140 billion in the third quarter. 

“That is the first decline we’ve seen since the housing recovery began, and its cause can be traced directly to softening home prices in some of the nation’s most expensive – and equity-rich – markets,” said Ben Graboske, executive vice president of Black Knight’s Data & Analytics division, in a news release.

The mortgage technology and data firm said tappable equity fell in 60 of the 100 largest U.S. markets, including 12 of the top 15.

Black Knight said the average homeowner in the Jacksonville area with a mortgage had about $72,500 in tappable equity available in the third quarter, about $350 less than in the second quarter.

Graboske said tappable equity remains at a high level despite the drop from the second to the third quarter. The average Jacksonville homeowner still had about $3,300 more in tappable equity available than he or she did a year ago.

“But the fact remains that affordability concerns are beginning to have an impact on home prices, particularly in more expensive markets, and as a result, on homeowner equity as well,” Graboske said.

Photo used under Creative Commons license.