Sales of affordable homes slightly lower in 3rd quarter, national organization says
For the third quarter of the year, 61.2% of the homes in the North Port/Sarasota/Bradenton market were considered affordable for families with the area’s median income, a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey shows.
The average price of a dwelling was put at $230,000 in the third quarter, earning the market a ranking of 163 out of 229 on a national basis, according to NAHB’s statistics.
Median family income for the North Port/Sarasota/Bradenton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is $61,900.
In all, 61.4% of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of July and the end of September were affordable to families earning the United States’ median income of $65,700, an NAHB news release points out. That was down from 62% in the second quarter, the NAHB reported.
The national median price increased from $240,000 in the second quarter to $247,000 in the third, the NAHB release says. Meanwhile, average mortgage rates edged down, from 3.88% to 3.76%, it adds.
The slight decline was attributed to the fact that ongoing home price appreciation offset a small decline in mortgage interest rates, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released on Nov. 10.
“Historically low interest rates and firming job growth are positive indicators that housing markets across the nation will continue to gradually improve,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady in the news release. “Home prices, however, continue to be affected by the rising costs of construction, both in terms of land and labor.”
In rankings by region, the North Port/Sarasota/Bradenton MSA was listed 63 out of 76 among metropolitan areas in the South for its percentage of affordable homes.
The area on that list with the least number of such dwellings was Miami/Miami Beach/Kendall, where only 36.3% of the housing stock was considered affordable, the report shows. The median sales price of those homes was $253,000 in the third quarter, the NAHB survey says.
In the latest data available on the Sarasota County website, the Realtor Association of Sarasota Manatee reported that 635 single-family homes were sold in Sarasota County in September at a median price of $249,000. That compared to 656 in September 2015, with a median price of $223,750.
Condo sales for September numbered 279, the county report shows, with a median price of $192,450. Those figures represented just slight changes year-over-year, according to the data from the association. In September 2015, the sales numbered 270 with a median price of $192,500.
The NAHB news release notes that Elgin, Ill., was rated the nation’s most affordable major housing market in the third quarter, with 94.3% of all new and existing homes sold shown to be affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $82,500. “Meanwhile, Fairbanks, Alaska, was rated the nation’s most affordable smaller market, with 97.7% of homes sold affordable to families earning the median income of $93,800,” the release says.
Rounding out the top five affordable major housing markets were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton, Pa.; Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind.; and Syracuse, N.Y., the NAHB release adds.
Smaller markets joining Fairbanks at the top of the list were Monroe, Mich.; Binghamton, N.Y.; Wheeling, W.Va.-Ohio; and Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Iowa-Ill.
For the 16th consecutive quarter, San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Calif., was the nation’s least affordable major housing market, the release points out. “There, just 9.7% of homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $104,700,” it says.
“Regulatory restraints along with shortages of buildable lots and skilled workers are adding to the cost of new homes, which is putting upward pressure on home prices,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz in the release. “Though these factors have negatively affected the marketplace, affordability still remains positive. Moreover, attractive mortgage rates, rising incomes and growing household formations make this an excellent time to buy.”
Visit nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details.
The county initiative
Boosting the county’s affordable housing stock remains a top priority for the County Commission. Last week, the county launched an online survey, seeking public comments on the initiative.
Participants are asked to complete the 18 questions by Dec. 16. Among them are “Do you believe it is important for housing to be affordable for people who work in our community?” and “What makes it difficult for these workers to find affordable housing?”
A county fact sheet points out that single-family homes are the primary type of housing available to residents, followed by multi-family housing of 20 or more units. It adds, “Strong demand and lagging housing supply have resulted in an increasingly challenging situation for lower-income renters.” In 2006, 19,000 households with incomes below $50,000 “were considered cost-burdened,” the fact sheet continues. By 2014, the number had risen to more than 22,000 households. “More than three out of four households with incomes less than $50,000 are spending more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing expenses,” the fact sheet adds. That figure came from the American Communities Survey of 2014, the sheet notes.
An update of board priorities provided to the commission last month noted that staff is working on a report “that will include research focused on best practices related to workforce housing, peer review comparisons, an analysis of past projects and key demographic data. Additionally, staff has developed an outreach strategy and is scheduling meetings with community leaders to conduct engagement on the county’s behalf. To coincide with these efforts, staff is connecting with the municipalities and the [Sarasota County] School Board to collaborate on the overall effort.”