Home prices, sales continued to climb in March

Many from California, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are moving to our area to enjoy its beauty, weather, lower property taxes and no personal income tax, said Bill Dryburgh, president of the Realtors of Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port-DeSoto.

The Southwest Florida real estate market continued to be a seller’s market in March, with some Realtors reporting they had buyers willing to pay more than the listing price, a trend that was seen all of this year.

“We are seeing two to three contracts on a house at the same time,” said Bill Dryburgh, president of the Realtors of Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port-DeSoto association.

He said the Realtor handling the transaction will often tell several would-be buyers to “give me your highest and best price by noon tomorrow.”

Also, Realtors have reported that “people lost a bunch of homes they made an offer on, so now they’re offering more initially,” said Dryburgh.

He said the majority of buyers are now coming from California, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — calling them “the big four.”

He said there are several factors for this trend, including those states’ “personal income tax and property taxes; people can’t afford to live there anymore.”

Weather is another reason why people are moving here. On Thursday, Dryburgh said he was talking to his friend in Pennsylvania who reported “it was 25 degrees in the morning.”

He said another northern friend who recently came for a visit, expressed surprise and happiness that he was able to sit outdoors in Punta Gorda and enjoy outdoor dining in an area that wasn’t shut down due to the pandemic, in addition to not being cold.

Here’s what happened in March: The median and average prices of single-family homes in Charlotte County were up. The median price was $282,750 versus $245,000 in March 2020, or up 15.4%.

The average price of $364,573 in March was up 23.6% from March 2020 when the average price for a single-family home was $295,005.

Here’s where it becomes apparent the sellers’ market continued: The median percentage of the original listing price received was 100% compared with 96.5% in March 2020. This uptick reflects a 3.6% year-over-year increase.

Homes were selling quickly, too. The median time to contract was just 16 days compared with 51 days last year, reflecting a 68.6% decrease in the time a home gets listed.

The median time to sale in March was 59 days versus 98 days a year ago, for a 39.8% decrease in the time it took for a house to sell once the contract was signed. Those putting their house on the market last month had less than two months to move out.

There were 656 closed sales in March, up 34.2% from last year’s 489 in March.

New pending sales climbed to 730 by the end of March, up 86.2% from March 2020 when there were 392 pending sales.

More new listings came on the market in March — 640 compared with 577 the same month last year, reflecting a 10.9% increase.

Inventory was lower in March from the previous year — 475 active listings against 1,675 in 2020, for a 71.6% drop. But pending inventory was higher in March — 1,162 versus 580 in 2020, reflecting a 100.3% increase. This is much-needed to replenish supply, as in March there was just a one-month supply of inventory for single-family homes compared with a 4.1 month supply in March 2020.

The same trend was seen in townhouses and condos in Charlotte County in March.

The median sale price of $205,000 was up 20.9% from $169,500 in March of last year, and the average sale price of $228,283 was up 18% from last March’s $193,500.

Sellers were getting more in March for their units; the median percentage of the original listing price received was at 97.2%, up 0.7% from last year’s 96.5%.

There were 156 closed sales; 102 in March 2020, for a 52.9% increase. There were 169 new pending sales, up from 59 a year ago, for a 186.4% increase.

March saw 131 new listings, up from 99 in March 2020. Last month had 32.3% more new listings than a year ago the same time.

Pending inventory was up 125.6% at 194, compared with 86 units last year. This was good for the market, as active listings inventory was shrinking in March when there were 112 listings compared with 302 the previous year, for a 62.9% decrease. Last month there was just a 1.3 month supply of inventory, down 64.9% from last year’s 3.7 month supply.

Dryburgh said this summer should be good for the area. He said a recent TV news station ran a story reporting Florida would be the No. 1 destination in the U.S. this summer.

“Key West hotel rooms that normally go for $129 (per night) are now $340,” he said.

He pointed out that many visitors to Florida also take time to look at houses and perhaps plan their retirement or move to our state in the near future.


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