2021 WAS A TRANSFORMATIVE YEAR FOR THE SOUTH FLORIDA REAL ESTATE MARKET
2021 was a truly remarkable year for the South Florida housing market, with many record breaking deals throughout much of the region. Buyer activity surged in 2021 and could have been even higher, constrained only by low inventory levels. The regional economy continued to recover from the pandemic, with improved job prospects helping migration rebound and providing an additional boost to homebuyer demand.
In 2021, sales activity surged as migration from outside of the region and the desire for ownership from residents looking for larger living space increased. Total sales reached a new record of more than 130,000 homes and condos, an increase of nearly 20% from the previous year. Single-family home volume increased modestly, by 5%, primarily due to limited inventory.
In the condo segment, where inventory was not a constraint for potential buyers, sales volume increased by 40% compared with 2020. Condo sales grew by double-digits in all counties in the area, with Miami-Dade sales activity outpacing the region as sales increased by 66%.
THE LOWEST INVENTORY LEVELS IN RECENT HISTORY
For-sale inventory decreased throughout most of the year as buyers absorbed new listings rapidly. By year-end, the number of available homes and condos fell to roughly 17,300, the lowest level in recent history. At the end of 2020, single-family home listings reached a five-year low, yet the available count decreased even further in 2021. Inventory in the condo segment was on par with historical averages at the start of 2021 but decreased by nearly 60% throughout the year. I
n Palm Beach County, condo inventory fell by more than 70% compared with the previous year to lead the region. The few listings available throughout the year did so at increasing prices. The median price of available condos increased by 28% from 2020 and 10% in the single-family home segment. Even as competition for homes increased, many existing homeowners were reluctant to capitalize on recent gains in value by listing homes for sale as they would also face the heightened competition for trade-up homes.
With elevated buyer demand throughout 2021 and little inventory, it is no surprise that competition for quality homes accelerated. The average time on the market for single-family homes fell by 37% and 15% in the condo segment. For some listings, sellers received multiple offers from interested buyers. In 2021, more than 31% of single-family homes and 15% of condos sold for more than the list price. While competition accelerated in both segments, bidding in the condo market drove the share of sales above the asking price to the double- digit territory for the first time since 2015.
The intense levels of competition in most neighborhoods occurred despite limited international buyer activity. As this demand component returns to the Florida East Coast, competition may reach even greater heights.
As buyer demand remained strong throughout the year and supply constraints funneled competition to a dwindling number of available homes, it was no surprise that home values reached records across the region.
The median price of a single-family home sold in 2021 increased to $451,000, a 19% raise, and $263,000 for condos, an increase of 22%. While price appreciation was strong throughout the region, the most substantial gains in the single-family sector occurred in Martin, Miami- Dade, and Palm Beach counties, where the median price increased by more than 23%. Miami-Dade County outpaced the region with a median price appreciation of nearly 25% in the condo segment.
2022 POISED TO BE ANOTHER RECORD-BREAKING YEAR
Following a record-breaking year, sales activity and home values should continue to increase into 2022. Buyer demand will remain elevated even as mortgage rates trend higher. Low for-sale inventory levels will persist, particularly within the lower price ranges. As tourism volume fully recovers and international visitors rebound, buyer demand may increase further and lead to another record-breaking year for the Florida East Coast housing market.
2021 NEW DEVELOPMENT SUPPLY
In 2021 we saw signs of a new development cycle that included the launch of 29 luxury projects in the Tri-county area (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach). The vast majority of the inventory was concentrated in Miami- Dade County with 21 Projects and 3,822 units.
The Brickell and Downtown areas represented the bulk of the new supply hitting the market, with most projects offering smaller units that provide short-term rental flexibility to buyers. International buyers have been drawn to these types of projects as it allows them to use the units while visiting Florida and obtain rental income while not using their units. This product type created the perfect conduit for capital shifted from Latin America, as investors looked to diversity over concerns about the political landscape. The product types in other areas covered in this analysis are heavily skewed towards end- user domestic buyers with a strong focus on boutique condominiums.
Another important aspect to be considered is the high concentration of branded residences entering the market, including but not limited to St. Regis Miami Residences, Bentley Tower, Diesel Wynwood, The Standard Midtown, The Ritz Carlton Pompano Beach, and Baccarat Brickell. Developers continue to compete through quality, instead of pricing, due to the low-price elasticity in the Florida market, which is possible due to the wide array of UHNI global pool of Buyers, and high earners from other US domestic destinations, migrating to Florida due to its favorable tax environment and lower cost of living in comparison to other main states.
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