A tale of two real estate markets

Special to The Log

Oftentimes the local real estate market can be divided geographically. Sometimes it is divided structurally. According to statistics released by the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, September told a tale of two markets — single-family homes vs. townhomes/condos.

“We like to say all real estate is local when discussing sales,” said Judi Rutland, ECAR president. “But even within a local real estate market, there are often multiple stories within the market.”

Across the Emerald Coast, single-family home sales increased 3.1 percent in September when compared to September 2011. The days on market for single family homes decreased by 17.7 percent to 68 days, while the median price increased 8.5 percent to $211,000. Homes sold faster and at higher prices in September, while fewer homes came on the market. The result is that the inventory of single-family homes across the Emerald Coast is down to a 7.6-month supply, a 31.3 percent decrease over last year.

In Okaloosa and Walton counties, the single-family home tale is similar. Single-family home sales in Okaloosa County increased 1.3 percent over last year. The days on market decreased 7.9 percent to 58 days and the month’s supply is close to healthy levels at 6.9 months, a 25.8 decrease. However, the median sales price decreased in September by 3.4 percent to $175,000.

Walton County single-family home sales increased by 15.7 percent over September 2011. The median sales price jumped 12.9 percent to $307,950, while the days on market dropped 12.9 percent to 88 days. Inventory still remains slightly above the healthy range, but did come down 37.1 percent to a 9-month supply.

Townhome and condo sales across the Emerald Coast fared differently in September than single-family homes. Sales decreased 18.6 percent, while the days on the market increased 13.4 percent to 93 days. Two bright spots continued with an increase of the median sales price by16.2 percent to $247,500 and a 33.2 percent drop in inventory to a 10.5-month’s supply.

The story continues in both Okaloosa and Walton counties with regards to townhomes and condos. Okaloosa sales decreased 17.9 percent over last year, while Walton County sales decreased 27.4 percent. The days on market increased for both Okaloosa and Walton, 48.3 percent and 29 percent respectively. Median sales prices increased in both counties with Okaloosa seeing a 14.6 percent gain to $255,000 and Walton realizing a 12.7 percent increase to $250,000 for townhome and condo sales. The inventory is slowly decreasing, as well. Okaloosa dropped 33.3 percent to 11.6 months while Walton County inventory decreased to 10.4 month’s supply, a 30.7 percent difference over last year.

“Even with the small dips and blips, real estate along the Emerald Coast is moving in the right direction,” said Rutland. “For the most part, prices are slowly increasing again and inventory is decreasing. These are all good signs for a continued recovery.”

This article was contributed to The Log by the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors.