TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Over the third quarter of 2022, Florida’s housing market saw nearly 70,000 single-family homes sell.

While prices rose 15.4%, the number of sales was down by over 22%. Nowhere in Florida had sales increase in the past quarter.

Tampa, however, was once again the largest market for home sales in the state. Despite the higher proportion of sales compared to the rest of the state, its drop in sales numbers was higher than Florida overall. Overall, Tampa home sales made up 15.4% of all sales in Florida.

The Tampa market, which includes Clearwater and St. Petersburg as well as nearby counties Hernando and Pasco, had 10,633 homes sell from July to September. While prices in the metropolitan area increased 18.8% to a median of $405,050, sales were down 26.7%.

Zooming out slightly onto the larger Tampa Bay area, the North Port-Sarasota market area had higher prices and larger sales drops. The median price for a home in the Sarasota and Manatee counties’ region was $513,690, marking a 24% increase. However, sales in the area were down 27%.

Analyzing the updated market data, Florida Realtors’ Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor said part of the housing market’s changes happened thanks to expected impacts from Hurricane Ian, starting a week before the storm made landfall.

“As a result, the data shows a pronounced slowdown in real estate activity, even in areas deemed unlikely to be threatened by the worst impacts of the hurricane, with a drop in both new listings and new pending sales ahead of it,” O’Connor said. “Many closings appear to have been delayed, as well. Taking into account weekends and the Labor Day holiday, roughly a quarter of September’s business days were seriously disrupted by Ian, and as a result, we were left with some lackluster market statistics for September.”

At the same time, national mortgage rates have risen above 7% for the first time since 2002. Freddie Mac, the federally backed mortgage company, reported interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 7.08%, marking a 20-year high since April 2002.

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage broke seven percent for the first time since April 2002, leading to greater stagnation in the housing market,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said. “As inflation endures, consumers are seeing higher costs at every turn, causing further declines in consumer confidence this month.”

He said potential homebuyers are choosing to wait before buying, while they watch where the housing market ends up, pushing demand and prices down.

In September alone, Florida’s housing market experienced 20,099 home sales, a 29% drop compared to September 2021. Likewise, the number of condominium and townhome sales also dropped 29%, which Florida Realtors said was due to a combination of a “slow time for closed sales” compared to what O’Connor called the pandemic years.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, O’Connor said home buying didn’t slow down during the usual slow season. Now with the nation moving past the virus, sales are returning to their pre-pandemic trends.

Statewide inventory was higher in September 2022 than the year before, for both single-family homes and for condo and townhouse units, according to the Florida Realtors data. Single-family home inventory was up 74.9% while condos and townhouse inventory rose 18%. O’Connor said the increases were despite some active listings being “pulled off-market temporarily due to the hurricane.”

The organization also reported an increase in time to contract for home purchases, though Florida homes “still go under contract quickly.”

“In time, more availability of supply will hopefully ease some of the challenges buyers currently face, such as rising interest rates and rising prices. The median time to contract for single-family existing homes in September was 22 days compared to 10 days during the same month a year ago,” 2022 Florida Realtors President Christina Pappas said. “The median time to contract for existing condo-townhouse units was 21 days compared to 14 days in September 2021.”

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