In many parts of Florida, the fast-moving housing market appears to be slowing down a bit.
While sales are up 25% in Martin County, data from Freddie Mac shows monthly new home sales nationwide fell in July for the first time since February and dropped 19% compared to last year.
Maria Wells, a broker and owner of Lifestyle Realty Group and past president of Florida Realtors, said between high home prices, high insurance and high property taxes, buyers can’t afford to purchase.
“We sort of have a trifecta of housing right now in terms of affordability,” Wells said.
With interest rates so high, Wells said many sellers are stuck, too.
“Sellers have had 3% interest rates,” Well said. “They don’t want to move where it’s going to be over 7%.”
However, with fewer homes going up on the market, Wells said the already shortage of affordable homes will likely get worse.
Already, she said the housing inventory is down 22%.
“Let’s take $150,000 to $400,000, that would be affordable, right?” Wells said. “Right now, we only have 32 of those in Martin County for sale.”
Shannon and Thomas Sinclair know the struggle all too well. The couple started looking for a home once they got pregnant with their first daughter, and wanted to move into a home before Shannon gave birth. However, every time they tried to put in an offer, they’d hit a wall.
“[We’d] find out 24 hours later that someone had already put in an offer $30,000-40,000 over asking price,” Shannon Sinclair said.
“And they’re coming in sight unseen, cash offers,” Thomas Sinclair added.
Months and months down the road, the Sinclairs finally caught a break from a couple who wanted to sell to a young family.
“We got really lucky with our house,” Thomas Sinclair said.
“I’m very grateful for the couple that sold us the home because they could have sold it to any investor and gotten 30 – 40 [thousand] over asking price,” Shannon Sinclair said.
Still, their situation isn’t common for most families.
“Average people like us, it makes it really hard,” Thomas Sinclair said.
“It’s pretty much impossible,” Shannon Sinclair said.
“Do you feel like there’s a shortage of affordable homes?” asked WPTV reporter Kate Hussey.
“Oh, for sure, for sure,” the couple responded.
The good news is that Wells said more builders are coming in, which should increase the amount of affordable homes in the county.