In our last market update—Third Quarter 2014—we summarized national and local trends and indicated that there was quiet optimism about the real estate market outlook for Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach. With another quarter behind us we confirm the view that our local market is indeed normalizing with rapid price gains now behind us.
According to the Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service, overall there were only minor changes in key real estate market indicators for the Jacksonville Beaches 2013 versus 2014:
- New listings were up 2% to 1697 in 2014 versus 1664 last year.
- Total sales dropped by 10% from 1278 to 1150, 2013 vs. 2014, respectively.
- However, the months of inventory supply increased only 3.4%, to 4.5 months. We consider six months supply of inventory to reflect a balanced market—and none of our four markets is currently at that level, suggesting we're in what would be considered a sellers market.
- Median sales prices (including all Beaches areas) were virtually unchanged (down 0.6%) from $293,348 to $291,528.
- New home construction continues to be very strong across all our markets, and particularly in the Nocatee area. Nocatee is the third fastest growing residential community in the US—and that growth is evident not only in the number of homes sold, but also in the commercial real estate development that is underway.
Overall economic indicators are strong, particularly when we factor in job openings and job growth. Gains in hiring, waning dismissals and rising confidence underscore a vibrant labor market that in 2014 marked its strongest performance since 1999. (Bloomberg Business, Jan 13, 2015). “Broad-based advances in hiring are helping to lift American’s confidence and spur consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. There are also early indicators that workers are getting closer to a pickup in wages. (Bloomberg Business, Jan 27, 2015).
All of the above is contributing to the general view that we should experience continued, steady expansion in 2015. Residential real estate values at the Beaches are projected to be moderate and distressed sales will continue to drop sharply.