Q1 Miami market recap: Price gains, slower sales

by Andrew Morrell

Buyers and sellers across the Miami area faced favorable prospects in the first three months of the year, according to a report from Douglas Elliman Florida compiled with the help of Miller Samuel Inc. Overall, though, it was a mixed bag of results, raising questions about where the market will head as sales heat up in spring, as is typical.

The prevailing trends around the South Florida market, including the coastal mainland of Miami, Miami Beach and as far north as Jupiter, were rising prices and a growing inventory count contrasted with fewer closed sales from a year ago. Prices rose fastest in Miami Beach, Boca Raton, Highland Beach and Jupiter but were mostly flat or lower in the remaining markets. In addition, homes and condos stayed on the market for longer on average as more inventory came online.

Higher mortgage rates at the beginning of the year may have played a role in dampening sales. According to Douglas Elliman Florida CEO Jay Phillip Parker, it wasn’t yet clear if growing inventory was boosting sales or keeping prices in check, although there weren’t signs for concern in the data either.

“The South Florida market remains strong, although we are seeing a bit of hesitancy with upward price trends, a slight dip in sales and inventory edging a little higher in most of the regions,” Parker said in a statement on the report. “With mortgage rates lower than they were at this time last year, I anticipate a tail wind heading into next quarter.”

Miami Beach

Homes and condos in Miami Beach and its surrounding islands showed some of the strongest price growth of all, particularly in the luxury submarket. While the median sales price in this area grew just 2.3 percent over last year, high-end condo prices grew by nearly 13 percent, to a median of $3.2 million. Still, these units moved slightly faster (70 days on market on average) thanks to a higher list-to-sales price discount of 12.7 percent. Even as median prices rose overall, the average price per square foot for top-tier Miami Beach condos fell 11 percent, indicating buyers still were finding great deals.

Miami coastal mainland

In the most active market, Miami’s coastal mainland, Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel found closings fell 7.5 percent to 3,104. Sellers faced more competition in this market as listing inventory grew for the fourth consecutive quarter, this time by almost 7 percent. As a result, those listings spent 40 more days on the market this year (91) compared to last year’s Q1 average (51). The median sales price of $320,000 was just 0.6 percent higher than Q1 2018. Luxury homes and condos along Miami’s coastal mainland saw similar trends, with marketing time growing and prices remaining flat or falling.

It’s important to keep the results in perspective compared to the rest of the U.S., as Miller Samuel president and CEO Jonathan Miller explained in the data release.

“Overall, South Florida is outperforming the Northeast, as had been expected with the new tax laws which were very favorable to Florida real estate,” Miller said. “That said, that trend is slow in forming, but as we move past tax day I think we may see some pent-up demand released into the spring market.”

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