The spring housing market is strong in south Florida, according to a report in the Sun-Sentinel (see: "South Florida homebuilding off to good start in 2016," by Paul Owers). "Despite facing severe land constraints, Broward County posted a 3 percent increase: 291 starts from 282 in the first quarter of 2015. Broward starts are up 16 percent since 2012," the paper reported, citing Metrostudy figures. "After seeing starts drop in 2015, Miami-Dade County had its best quarter in three years with 792 starts, a 28 percent increase from a year earlier and more than triple the 238 starts from the first quarter of 2012." Still, reports the Sun-Sentinel, "the pace of construction is a fraction of what it was during the peak housing boom years of 2004 and 2005, when builders regularly started 2,000 homes a quarter in each county."
Prices are rising while supplies tighten, reported the Miami Herald (see: "Miami-Dade, Broward home prices continue to rise in April," by Jane Woolridge). "In Miami-Dade, the median sales price for existing single-family homes rose to $285,000 from $260,000 in April 2015, representing a year-to-year increase of 9.5 percent, according to a report by the Miami Association of Realtors... As prices have risen and the number of distressed homes has dropped by more than 46 percent over last year, inventory has gotten tighter. The number of existing single-family transactions dropped 7.6 percent, while existing condo transactions dropped 12.1 percent year over year." Still, pointed out realtor Mark Sade of the Association board, “Miami real estate remains at 2004 pricing levels despite more than four years of increases."
Tampa Bay's housing market is showing similar trends, reported the Tampa Bay Times (see: "Tampa Bay's home prices continue to climb in a seller's market," by Susan Taylor Martin). "With single- family homes still in short supply, the median price jumped nearly 12 percent year-over-year to $190,000," the paper reported. "But sales rose just 3.8 percent. How tight is the supply and how high is the demand? In Pinellas, the median time from listing to contract plunged 30 percent — from 40 days last April to just 28 days this year. That means 'buyers can continue to expect a very competitive market,' David B. Bennett, president of Pinellas Realtor Organization, said in a statement. All four bay area counties showed solid price gains. Hernando led the way at 20 percent, to $138,000, followed by Pinellas, up 11 percent to $200,000; Pasco, up 10.4 percent to $170,000 and Hillsborough, up 6.4 percent to $207,545."
Writing in Fortune magazine, Florida developer David Martin says several factors support stability in the local housing market, and work against the formation of another bubble (see: "Why Residents Now Trump Absentee Buyers In South Florida Real Estate," by David Martin). "The international media has characterized South Florida’s real estate market as being dominated by luxury condos owned by absentee buyers," writes Martin. "In fact, a deeper look reveals that the region’s housing landscape is becoming increasingly diverse as developers meet demand among actual residents, so-called ‘end-users.’ Case in point: In downtown Miami, the epicenter of overbuilding last cycle, 85 percent of the 3,438 condos delivering this year are pre-sold, according to the Miami Downtown Development Authority’s latest market report. The same study found 94% of downtown’s existing units are occupied by full-time residents." Equally important, said Martin, few of today's buyers are over-leveraged: "Because the vast majority of today’s home sales are all-cash," Martin writes, "developers are insulated from the risks associated with insurmountable debt."