Northeast Florida home prices remain historically unaffordable; housing market sees major seasonal slowdown: report

The high cost of housing has a lot to do with high interest rates, according to the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors (NEFAR)

File Photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Home prices in Northeast Florida have never been less affordable, according to a new report from the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors (NEFAR) released on Thursday.

That’s because homes have never been so expensive in the six Northeast Florida counties tracked by NEFAR.

The high cost of housing has a lot to do with high interest rates, according to NEFAR President Diana Galavis.

“Interest rates reached the highest levels in October,” she said. “Buyers were cautious and took a little longer to make offers, which reflected in higher median days on the market. Closed sales slid down. The home affordability index had a slight dip. The cost of goods, services, and borrowing money is much more expensive today than a year ago. Buyers are pausing to see which direction the Federal Reserve, stock investments, and the real estate market will move.”

RELATED: The average long-term US mortgage rate falls to 7.5% in second-straight weekly drop

The region’s Home Affordability Index for single-family homes slid 4.5% to 63, which is an all-time low, NEFAR said.

The Housing Affordability Index measures housing affordability for the region. In other words, it measures whether a typical family earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a typical home, based on current interest rates, median income and median home prices. A higher number means greater affordability. An index of 100 is defined as the point where a median-income family has the exact amount of income needed to purchase a median-priced existing home. An index value over 100 means that the family has more than enough income, while a value below 100 means that a family doesn’t have enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan.

MORE: Affordable housing report provides solutions for mayor, city council to consider

NEFAR said traditionally, the housing market slows down as both buyers and sellers reflect on the holidays. However, observing a longer data history, this is by far the biggest seasonal slowdown seen in many years, NEFAR said.

With a few exceptions, the number of days houses sat on the market increased along with active inventory throughout the region. And prices remained high.

“The monthly supply of inventory in the region increased to 3.5 months,” said Galavis, noting there was a 19% increase since September. “Overall, the Northeast Florida market is strong with the sales median holding with very little change.”

In Duval County, the October 2023 median price of single-family housing was $320,000, a 3.6% dip from September 2023. Home prices also increased in St. Johns County (0.9% to $540,000 for single-family homes) and fell in Putnam County (7.6% drop to $229,900). Meanwhile, the median price of a single-family home inched up 0.5% to $361,000 in Clay County and was up 1.3% to $400,000 in Nassau County.

But homes became less affordable in Clay County, St. Johns County and Nassau County where the affordability dropped over 4%.

To get a full breakdown of market stats from October, visit NEFAR.com.


About the Author:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.