Florida ranked as the No. 1 place for buyers, according to a recent Lending Tree survey.
Out of all mortgage requests made during the study, 9.1 percent were for homes in Florida, and moving companies that worked with out-of-state homebuyers reported that 12.4 percent of all requested destinations were in Florida. Builder magazine calls Florida's growth "explosive."
The study broke Florida down into five distinct housing markets.
"In Southwest Florida you have a lot of retirees. In central Florida you have retirees and international buyers," says Tony Polito, Metrostudy's regional director for the Tampa area. "In South Florida you have a lot of international buyers."
The largest pool of buyers in Jacksonville are first-time and entry-level buyers impacted by a lack of choices and affordability. In Central Florida, there is local demand as well as a diversified base of buyers that includes investors, seasonal residents, international and vacation homebuyers.
High demand and low inventory have pushed prices up, according to Toby Hoff, Metrostudy regional director.
"Builders moving out of the core areas of Central Florida have been able to bring more affordable homes online. Buyers in this supply-constrained market are now willing to deal with longer commutes or less-than-desirable schools in order to find something that is both new and in their price range," he says.
Although Tampa, Sarasota and St. Petersburg are all interconnected, they are very different housing markets, with Tampa booming and generating new jobs.
"We have two counties that account for 90 percent of the housing activity. Hillsborough, which the city of Tampa sits in, and Pasco County to the north," says Polito. "Between Pasco and Hillsborough County, today we have a 14.8 month supply of vacant lots. Market equilibrium in this market is 24 to 36 months. Anything below 24 months means land prices are still rising. You can't even find a small orange grove to develop."
Source: Builder (03/11/19) Sowers, Scott