Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WHAT'S AHEAD FOR 2014; the Holidays Are Past and the New Year Begins in Earnest. We Asked Five Leaders in a Variety of Fields to Tell Us What They Expect 2014 to Bring Us. the Good News Is That They Are Optimistic. Fewer Homes for Sale, Driving Prices Higher

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WHAT'S AHEAD FOR 2014; the Holidays Are Past and the New Year Begins in Earnest. We Asked Five Leaders in a Variety of Fields to Tell Us What They Expect 2014 to Bring Us. the Good News Is That They Are Optimistic. Fewer Homes for Sale, Driving Prices Higher

Article excerpt

Byline: Carol Zingone

There are three key factors of the Jacksonville real estate market to be aware of moving into 2014: Number of homes for sale (inventory), affordability and short sales and foreclosures.

INVENTORY

The total number of homes for sale, or inventory, is lower in 2013 than 2012, by 10 percent. This means increased competition for homes for sale, and the continuation of multiple buyers for properly priced, properly presented homes.

New construction is a relief for this scenario. However, it is a delicate balance to ensure we don't upset the recovery we experienced locally in 2013. New construction is driven by land supply, and most of the larger tracts are outside the 295 beltway. There are multiple new-construction opportunities all over Jacksonville: at the Beaches, along the Intracoastal Waterway corridor, Northside, Westside, Orange Park, Southside, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, and Yulee.

Our current homes-for-sale situation is right about 9,000 total homes, which is very close to where we were in January 2006. We are about 5.5 months of total supply. For contrast, in mid 2008, we had over 16 months supply of homes for sale.

Many potential home sellers are finally seeing equity again in their homes: As their confidence rises, we can anticipate more traditional resale homes entering the market, easing the inventory situation.

AFFORDABILITY

Home prices have been rising very quickly, primarily due to pent-up buyer demand, and to decreasing availability of both traditional and distressed properties. This increase in home prices is affecting affordability for many first-time homebuyers. Without new construction and/or an increase in resale homes for sale, we won't see this easing very much.

Home prices locally have risen, and while they do vary depending on location, the year-to-date numbers indicate both median sales price and average sales price are up, respectively 15. …

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