The Jacksonville Beaches real estate market was again strong throughout 2015. Across the board indicators were positive for Jacksonville, Neptune, Atlantic and the Ponte Vedra Beaches. Here are some important numbers:
- New listings climbed 9.7%, while closed sales rose 15.5%. As a result the inventory of homes for sale continued to shrink as did the monthly supply of inventory.
- As previously forecasted, median sales prices rose 5% across these four markets, from $291,000 to $306,000. Two markets, Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach, saw year-over-year increases of 12.5% or greater, while Jacksonville Beach was up 2.7% and Ponte Vedra Beach declined by 2.5%. Even with the slight decline in average sale prices, Ponte Vedra Beach continued to have the highest median sales price at $431,000, versus $442,000 in 2014.
Elsewhere in the Jacksonville Beaches, sales and price increases were also very positive:
- South Ponte Vedra Beach down to Vilano (including Palm Valley) – new listings dropped by 4.2% while closed sales rose by 6.9%. As a result the inventory of homes at year-end was only 4.4 months. Prices remained relatively stable, with the average sale price up 1.5% from $399,000 to $405,000.
- Ponte Vedra/Nocatee finished December very strong and also posted significant gains for the whole year. New listings were up 24.3% to 881, closed sales were marginally up 0.9%. Median sales prices, however, were up 8.9% from $350 thousand to $381 thousand. Inventory is still very low at 2.8 months.
- St Johns County/NW continues to be a very active growth area, with home sales up 8.9% to a total of 2,228. Median sales prices of $265,000 were virtually unchanged, while inventory shrunk by 23.4% to 3.6 months.
Overall, the Beaches and NW St Johns County had an excellent year. Inventory dropped below what we consider a balanced market and made conditions more difficult for buyers, who had fewer choices. On the other hand, interest rates did not go up earlier in 2015, as was widely anticipated, so mortgage rates remained very low and continued to propel sales. Across all of the Northeast Florida housing market pending sales increased 16.9% to 27,799 to close-out the year. In addition, lender-mediated properties/foreclosure markets continued to shrink back to where they should be in a healthy economy.
With a rocky start in the U.S. stock market in 2016 and continued uncertainty about an International economic slowdown (particularly in China and developing countries,) market pundits are confused as to how the US home real estate market will respond. Depending on one's point of view the economy can appear both strong and weak. What does seem clear is that we are now predominantly a services economy (86% of the American work force was employed in services in 2015 according to the New York Times, Jan 18 2016) and the thriving domestically driven sectors acted as sort of a firewall against growing international turbulence.
If future interest rate hikes planned for 2016 materialize more slowly that originally intended, this will buoy the housing market, as will continued strength in hiring, and growth in services. In general, we expect our NE Florida market to remain quite strong with only modest price increases. Although inventory entering our market has grown, 2015 sales at the Beaches exceeded the number of homes added. Inventory is likely to remain stable and still below a balanced market for much of 2016.
My team and I work diligently to keep abreast of much more granular data at the individual neighborhood levels. We are constantly monitoring multiple factors and are highly familiar with individual properties currently on the market. We keep up with what is new and changing from community to community. If you are considering listing your home, or buying in the Ponte Vedra Beaches area, we have the specific comparables that you should be considering to price your home competitively in our current market. We would be pleased to prepare a targeted, highly specific market assessment for you free of charge. Please call on us and join the growing number of very satisfied customers whom we have been happy to serve!