Following September's trend, mortgage rates continued to increase in October, at one point reaching 4.9% for a conventional 30 year fixed mortgage, according to FreddieMac.com. (Though, remember, for most people rates are now in the 5% - 6% range due to a variety of factors including credit score, loan amount, and type of loan; talk to a mortgage lender for a better idea of what your rate would be). But while higher mortgage rates have led to a decline in home sales this year, that drop has been felt more in the expensive segments versus entry-level and first-time buyer markets, which remain firm. Despite rates going up, monthly mortgage payments still remain affordable and owning is typically less expensive than renting. For many buyers the continued lack of entry-level supply is a larger hurdle than higher mortgage rates because choices are limited and the inventory shortage has caused home prices to rise.
In October 2018, over $1.3 billion of residential real estate was sold throughout Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties (down $106 million since last month but up $185 million since last year). There were 6,893 new homes listed (a 9.6% increase month-over-month). The total number of currently active listings was 15,051, up 700 units year-over-year.
In October, the number of home sales combined in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties was 5,213 - an increase year-over-year of 10% and a month-over-month increase of 11.7%. September is typically the slowest month of the year, so a large month-over-month increase in sales in October is to be expected. The larger-than-normal 10% increase in number of sales year-over-year may be because people have started to move quickly as they see rates continuing to rise. Of the total home sales, Hillsborough county was responsible for 2,234, Pasco had 1,114, and Pinellas had 1,865.
In the tri-county area, the average home price decreased slightly by 1.9% month-over-month and rose year-over-year by 5.5%. As discussed in previous posts, small month-over-month changes are typically not an indication of a substantial change in the real estate market, and the year-over-year difference is a more important statistic. The average sales price was $262,884 in Hillsborough, $211,157 in Pasco, $287,170 in Pinellas, and $253,737 overall. Since April of this year, we have not seen a year-over-year price increase over 6%, and that is a good indicator that the market has started to level out. Those who were waiting to see what happened in the market before moving forward with a sale or purchase should take note that we have seen enough months of balance that now could be a good time to start seriously considering your move.
In October 2018, the median time homes were on the market before going under contract was 26 days, up two days from September and one day since October 2017.
Whether you are thinking of buying or selling, I would love to help guide you through the process. There are a lot of steps to take on either side, and it helps to have a local and knowledgeable Realtor working for you (even if you're buying new construction!).
Remember, real estate is hyper-local and what's happening in your neighborhood could dramatically differ from someone else's. If you'd like a customized analysis of your home's current value or help in deciding whether it's the right time for you personally to buy a home, contact me directly and I'd be happy to provide local, expert advice.
Keller Williams Tampa Properties
5020 W Linebaugh Ave #100
Tampa, FL 33618