Northeast Florida real estate observers got some background information last month that seemed to confirm much of what we’ve been seeing for a while now. Mid-term election politicking is now safely behind us (for a brief while, at least), but in the run-up to the elections, this was a comprehensive real estate canvass that yielded some comparisons of note. It was called the 2014 Election Housing Scorecard, released mid-month by RealtyTrac. The idea was to rate how national real estate conditions had fared in the two years since the previous national election. The answer: better off.
Think back just a couple of years, and it’s not hard to recall the period following the bursting of the housing bubble, when it was hard to find anyone with a cheerful attitude about investing in residential real estate (Northeast Florida’s included). It may have been intellectually certain that those deflated prices wouldn’t last forever—but even so, it took hardy resolve to step up and buy into such an outwardly unstable market.
That was then; this (as they say) is now—and by mid-October, the Housing Scorecard ‘s findings were in. By something like five to one, the majority of Americans now live in a housing market that is better off than it was two years ago.
The scope of the study was broad: residential real estate markets in 1,547 counties were evaluated based on affordability, median home prices, unemployment figures and foreclosure start rates. What the study found was largely positive.
A full 811 of the analyzed markets—or 52%—rated as “better off.” Only 176 markets (11%) rated as “worse off.” The remaining 36% were tossups. The total combined population in the “better off” markets was 140 million. The population in the “worse off” category was just 24 million.
Those positives paint a fairly broad picture of the recovering real estate market. Other statistics show that foreclosures and short sales recently hit their lowest level since the start of data collection in 2011. Add to that the sales numbers released in October showing existing home sales in America at their most robust in a year, and with Northeast Florida mortgage rates still down in historically low territory, and it’s easy to agree with Reuters’ opinion that the housing market recovery is gradually “getting back on track.” If you are of a mind to take advantage of the rising market, I hope you will stop by or give me a call!