By: Stuart Thorn

Principal considerations for the residential property market outlook in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, Florida - Stuart Thorn, eXp Realty, Boca Raton, Florida November 2021

I see a multitude of predictions, but predictions are just predictions. The two truisms about predictions I favor are, i) given enough time all predictions come true, and ii) when everyone finally agrees on the same near-term prediction, it is often wrong. To gain an insight I prefer to look at the levers that influence a market.

SUPPLY - the housing stock in Palm beach and Broward counties is aging and new development is limited by the Atlantic to the east and the protected wet lands to the west. There is new development to the north but if you want easy access to Fort Lauderdale then a nice new home in Fort Pierce is of limited value. Additionally, the demand for construction industry tradesmen and the materials supply issues, have disrupted the construction industry. According to HBW Note 9, Q3 2021, new permits in 7 counties of South East Florida, totaled 10,055 but 4,605 were in St Lucie county (46%); if you cannot recall the geography that is the east coast from Port St Lucie to a little north of Ft Pierce.

DEMAND - in the year to April 2020 approximately 390,000 people moved to FloridaNote 1. Against Florida's population of 21,000,000Note 2, that sound like almost 2%. If you consider that some 200,000 Floridians give up this mortal coil each yearNote 3 and another 50,000 just leave the stateNote 4, then the that demand number goes down to 140,000. In the year to April 2021 the influx decreased to 330,000Note 1, lowest number since 2017 and less than the 2018 and 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Closed sales in September 2021 were actually down 1.3% on the previous year Note 10.

Florida residents, and others, have taken the opportunity of low interest rates to move in response to a new assessment of their accommodation, and the amount of time they expect to reside and work in their home in the future.

LOW INTEREST RATES and LOW INFLATION - The conventional wisdom was that high interest rates subdued inflation, but low interest rates would stimulate it. Perhaps it is the other way around! The Fed has been pumping 120bnNote 6 per month in to the economy in a move that both tends to hold down interest rates and puts cash into the system. The Fed has now said it will start to wind down this program over the next 8 months. But, the economy has been on 'steroids' so much and for so long, no one really knows how the economy will respond to being weaned off this strong medicine. The holiday season will be good for an uptick Note 7 but, supply chain issues did not just disappear and tension over vaccines maintains consumers in a state of nervous anxiety.

There is already talk of upward pressure on British Pound interest rates, Euro rates are predicted to rise by the end of Q2 2022 and while US$ interest rates are likely to lag those currencies, at some point the US $ will succumb to the pressure and also rise.

SO IN CONCLUSION - the price rises and shortage of properties for sale in the South East Florida market is repeated in other parts of the country. In the 2 years to Sept 2021 Rochester New York saw a 170% price increase Note 8. The most effective lever looks like fiscal policy.

My observation, over more years than I care to admit to, is that those that chose to buy the home they love, are the happiest. Others who believe they can sell at the top and buy on the dip, find this much harder in practice than it sounds in theory. Together with their real estate professional, buyers will be obliged to tread boldly in this otherwise alien property landscape.

AND THEN THERE IS THIS ARITHMATIC - If a hypothetical buyer decides to wait until there is a 5% price dip, but by that time interest rates have risen so the same mortgage costs 5.5% and not 4.5%. On a purchase of $350,000 with 20% cash down, they will have saved $18,000 on the price but they will pay an extra $14,300 over the typical 7 year home ownership period, but $60,000 extra in the event they have a fixed rate mortgage that they pay to the full 30 year redemption Note 5.

Note to notes - this research is from the internet; I set out the source detail in the following notes, so, anything you find to be important, please, double or triple check!

Note 1

The Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research - a research arm of the Florida Legislature

Note 2

As estimated for the year to 2020,

Note 3

Note 4

Where People From Florida Are Moving to the Most

With its low taxes, year-round sunshine, and access to beautiful beaches, Florida ranks as the top spot for newcomers. reported that Florida was the number one destination in 2020 for people pulling up roots. Much of the migration was fueled by Northeasterners attracted by the state's lower cost of living and more relaxed lifestyle. … Continue reading

Unfortunately, the 50,000 number is an estimate - 24/7 Wall St had a feature that suggested the number was about 500,000 but these were people who said that had lived in Florida during the previous year and are not necessarily migrating from Florida.

Note 5

$350,000 less 20% cash imputes a mortgage of $280,000. These numbers are simple arithmetic and take no account of the time value of money.

Note 6

'Since June 2020, the Fed has been buying $80 billion of Treasury securities and $40 billion of agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) each month.'

Note 7

531,000 new jobs in October I would suggest marks the beginning of the holiday season

Note 8

Note 9

Note 10

Florida Housing Forecast 2023

Florida Real Estate Market Buyers and sellers are likely feeling a little more optimism about the housing market in February. Inflation seems to be easing, jobs numbers are strong, interest rates may be topping out and GDP numbers came in okay for the 4th quarter. That of course translates well for the state of Florida. … Continue reading