At the moment, there exists a perfect storm contributing to today's rapid rate of appreciation in the Florida real estate market—a pandemic that has simultaneously prevented homeowners from selling and builders from building, a distinct lack of available inventory, historically low interest rates, government stimuli, increasing demand, and the looming threat of even higher prices. The Florida real estate market has seen home prices rise exponentially, not unlike the rest of the country. The jump has been so significant that local home values have started to become prohibitively expensive, which begs the question: Will the real estate market crash in Florida?
The short answer is no; the Florida real estate market doesn't exhibit the same red flags as the previous downturn. That said, real estate in Florida has undergone a dramatic evolution in a relatively short period. In particular, what worked well for investors in the past may no longer represent a viable opportunity. The new Florida real estate market created in the wake of the pandemic has shifted the way investors conduct business. While rehabs were once the preferred exit strategy, many investors are turning to long-term rental properties.
The Top Florida Real Estate Markets
While the best real estate market in Florida is up for debate, here’s a list of the cities investors may want to pay special considerations to:
Median Sale Price: $354,000 (+18.05 year over year)
Median Time To Contract: 9 Days (-69.0% year over year)
Median Time To Sale: 51 Days (-30.1% year over year)
New Listings: 33,484 (+10.6% year over year)
Inventory (Active listings): 37,482 (-32.4% year over year)
Months Of Supply: 1.3 (-43.5% year over year)
Median Rent Price: $1,693 (+27.0% year over year)
Price-To-Rent Ratio: 15.41
Foreclosure Filings (First Six Months Of 2021): 7,851
Foreclosure Rate: 0.08% (-49.98% from first six months of 2020)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (latest estimate by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics)
Population: 21,477,737 (latest estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau)
Median Household Income: $55,660 (latest estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau)
Florida Median Home Prices
The median home value in Florida is $313,217, according to Zillow’s Home Value Index. However, prices haven’t always been as high as they are today. Since the beginning of 2012, median home values in Florida have increased at a historic pace. Over the last nine years, median home values have increased by 119.0%. Few states, for that matter, can boast a faster appreciation rate over the same period. For context, the median home value across the entire country managed a slightly more modest—but nonetheless impressive—83.8% increase during the same time.
Since the start of the pandemic, however, home prices have been subjected to more upwards pressure than in recent history. Dating back to the first quarter of 2020—when COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic—the median home value in Florida has increased 23.3%. The increase is directly correlated to a number of new indicators created by the pandemic: low interest rates, insufficient inventory levels, increasing demand, and more money sitting in savings accounts. The culmination of these factors, and many more, have driven prices in the Florida real estate market up at an alarming rate.
Prices have increased rapidly over the last decade (especially in the previous year), and there's nothing to suggest they won't continue doing the same moving forward. While tempering appreciation rates appear inevitable, the Florida housing market's 1.3 months of inventory is nowhere near a balanced market. Even those who can afford to buy are having a hard time in today's market because of the competition. That said, it's the competition that has made Florida a seller's market. With most listings receiving multiple offers, sellers have increased their prices accordingly and should be awarded the luxury of doing so for the foreseeable future.
Florida Median Rent Prices
The Florida housing market's latest increase in home values has impacted the local rental market. If for nothing else, higher home values and a lack of listings have prevented a large population of prospective buyers from participating in the market. As a result, many people want to buy but can’t, which lends itself to another issue: the same supply and demand crisis facing would-be buyers is impacting renters.
Since more people are priced out of the buying market, we see more renters than average competing over fewer available properties. Landlords have found themselves in a position of power in Florida, and their asking prices reflect as much.
According to the latest data released by Apartment List, the median rent in Florida has increased 27.0% in the last year and now sits around $1,693. The latest increase in rents has outpaced home value appreciation over the last year. As a result, renters can expect to pay the following in rents (on average):
For context, the national average rent price is about $1,219, or 38.8% lower than the average renter pays in the Florida housing market. The difference is noticeable, and appreciation forecasts suggest the discrepancy will only grow for the foreseeable future. A long as inventory remains tight, landlords will be able to justify rent increases. That said, the Florida real estate investing community still has time to get into the long-term rental space.
Florida Foreclosure Trends & Statistics
According to ATTOM Data Solutions’ Midyear 2021 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, a total of 65,082 U.S. properties received a foreclosure filing (default notices, scheduled auctions, or bank repossessions) in the first six months of the year. “That figure is down 61 percent from the same time period a year ago and down 78 percent from the same time period two years ago,” according to the report.
It should be noted, however, that the decline in foreclosure filings had more to do with government assistance programs responding to the pandemic than the financial situations of today's homeowners. Over the last year and a half, in fact, the government prevented banks from foreclosing on distressed homeowners who were unable to pay their mortgages because of the pandemic. The move was intended to prevent another housing crisis, but the previously implemented forbearance programs are starting to expire; when they do, there's a good chance foreclosures will increase on a national level.
Despite government programs, the Florida real estate market has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. According to the previously mentioned Midyear 2021 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, "states with the highest foreclosure rates in the first half of 2021 were Delaware (0.10 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Illinois (0.09 percent); Florida (0.08 percent); Ohio (0.08 percent); and Indiana (0.08 percent)." In all, 7,851 properties were tied to foreclosure reports over the first six months of 2021.
The fist six months of 2021 saw a 50.0% decline in foreclosure filings from the first six months of the first half of 2020. That said, the Florida real estate market should see an influx of foreclosures as we near 2022, and perhaps even beyond.
Below you will find a list of online auctions in the state of Florida. Most counties in Florida conduct their tax lien sales in May and June. Florida offers excellent opportunities for online tax lien investing.
Florida counties, like many other states, are moving their tax auctions online. Many Florida counties already conduct their tax lien auctions online annually. And now some Florida counties are conducting their Tax Deed Sales through the Internet. This can give investors a new opportunity to purchase tax deeds without attending a live sale. This can save with the cost of travel and the expense of attending live. Below we have listed some of the Florida counties that have moved to online auctions.
Online OTC Liens: Many counties in Florida are offering their Over the Counter Liens online now. This makes it easier to research and buy over-the-counter liens. Go ahead and click on the counties listed below to research over-the-counter liens.
County Info: Florida uses a tax lien system to enforce the collection of delinquent property taxes. Tax Liens are offered to the public at the annual tax sale. If a property does not sell at the auction, it may be purchased from the county over the counter. This gives tax lien investors an excellent opportunity to purchase tax liens at the highest interest rate paid according to state law. In Florida, the maximum rate of return is 18%. Counties also offer a 5% penalty payout on liens that redeem within the first year. This works as an added benefit for investors in Florida. A combination of high interest rate returns and a large selection of Over the Counter liens make Florida an excellent place to invest.
Real estate investors across the country have made a living off of dealing in distressed properties, and Florida real estate investors are no exception. If for nothing else, distressed assets award savvy investors with higher profit margins than their traditional counterparts. Perhaps even more importantly, however, distressed property owners are typically motivated sellers. Therefore, it only makes sense that Florida real estate investors will want to focus their attention on distressed properties; that way, they should increase their odds of not only landing a deal but also landing a deal with attractive profit margins.
While profit margins are shrinking in the Florida real estate market, only Delaware and Illinois have higher foreclosure rates. As a result, 7,851 properties were included in foreclosure filings in the first half of this year. At that rat, foreclosures are down year over year, but still more abundant than most states across the country.
The Florida real estate investing community should be able to step in and simultaneously help distressed homeowners while landing deals. Of course, knowing where to find real estate deals in Florida is only part of the investing equation. In addition to locating properties with potential, investors need to know what to do with them once they are acquired, which begs the question: Which exit strategies does the Florida real estate market cater to the most?
The Florida real estate market’s underlying fundamentals appear to support the three most popular exit strategies: wholesaling, rehabbing, and renting. That said, one strategy seems more viable in today's market than any other: long-term rental properties.
Thanks to historically low interest rates, investors may help offset today's high acquisition costs. As recently as August, the average commitment rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan was 2.84%. While up slightly year to date, today's rate is historically low and represents a great opportunity for Florida investors to increase cash flow and offset higher acquisition prices. At the very least, the less money rental property owners have to pay towards their mortgage each month, the more they can pocket from incoming rent.
In addition to lower borrowing costs, Florida's price-to-rent ratio is 15.41. At that level, it's slightly more affordable to rent in Florida than to own real estate. The state's price-to-rent ratio will drive more people to become renters; houses are too expensive for many to even consider buying. The lack of affordability driving people to rent will increase demand, and landlords will be able to increase asking rates and mitigate the risk of vacancy.
Florida Housing Market Predictions
To be clear, there is absolutely no way to predict precisely what will happen in the Florida real estate market without at least a slight degree of error. That said, it has become good practice to try and anticipate the most likely predictions. Those who are at least able to maintain a pulse on their local market will exercise an advantage over those who don’t. Using historical data, it is possible to make an educated guess as to where indicators will head. With that in mind, here are the Florida real estate predictions that are most likely to come true:
Foreclosure activity will increase: Foreclosures in Florida are down about 50.0% from the first half of last year to the first half of this year. However, the drop was thanks to government intervention and moratoriums. Set to expire shortly, government assistance will no longer protect distressed homeowners, and an influx of foreclosures will likely ensue.
Available inventory should continue driving prices up: With a mere 1.3 months of available inventory, the Florida housing market is well below a balanced market. The insufficient level of available listings, and increased demand, have resulted in heated competition. Listings are receiving multiple offers, and sellers are increasing their prices accordingly.
Long-term exit strategies look the most promising: Median home values in the Florida real estate market have increased dramatically in one year. As a result, deals with attractive profit margins are growing harder and harder to come by. Nonetheless, passive income investors can navigate today’s higher prices by renting the property out for an extended period.
The Florida real estate market is one of the most active in the country. The strengthening economy has enabled more and more homebuyers to actively participate in the market than in years past. However, the distinct lack of available housing has made housing harder to come by. The homes that are listed for sale are receiving a lot of offers, so much so that they are driving up prices and have been doing so for nearly a decade. That said, the Florida real estate market has a large contingent of distressed properties, too. Those looking for a discount will appreciate that Florida is currently home to one of the country’s highest foreclosure rates. All of this together has boosted real estate activity in the state and should support strong fundamentals moving forward.
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