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Is Now a Good Time to Buy a House in Florida? (April 2024)

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Should you buy a home in Florida now or wait?

With rising home prices and increasing mortgage rates due to the Federal Reserve's inflation control measures, many prospective homeowners are opting to wait.

Yet, recent trends may favor buyers. Homes are staying on the market longer, with a reported average of 38 days before sale, indicating more time for decision-making.

Additionally, new listings increased by 17% as of February, suggesting a shift towards a more balanced market.

With these changes, is it better to purchase now or delay in hopes of further price or rate reductions, especially with potential recession concerns?

Here are some points to consider for Florida's housing market.

With mortgage rates around 7% and home prices continuing to climb—having increased for eight consecutive months—it's a tough decision. These high costs might make buying seem less appealing.

However, purchasing a home now allows you to start building equity right away and protects you from potential future rate hikes, which could significantly affect your monthly budget and total interest paid on the loan.

Florida real estate experts polled by MakeFloridaYourHome advise that if you find a suitable property, you shouldn't wait too long, as you can't predict market timing and a home is meant to be a long-term investment.

Another expert said that when mortgage rates eventually drop, more buyers might enter the market, pushing prices even higher.

So, if you're financially prepared—with excellent credit, a substantial down payment, and plans to stay in the home long enough to make the initial costs worthwhile—it might be wise to consider buying now, especially if you find the right place.

After all, you can refinance if rates improve later.

Florida Mortgage Rates (April 2024)

Mortgage rates in Florida have been persistently high, reflecting broader national trends. Here's a snapshot of the current mortgage rates based on data from the week ending April 11, 2024:

Mortgage Type Average APR (%)
30-year fixed mortgage 6.94
15-year fixed mortgage 6.19
5-year adjustable 7.86

This data, sourced from Zillow, shows that the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 6.94%, marking an increase of 19 basis points from the previous week and 51 basis points from the same period last year.

Despite a slight improvement since last autumn when the 30-year rate peaked above 8%, there hasn't been significant relief for buyers this spring. With ongoing high inflation, the 30-year fixed rate has averaged above 6.7% through February and March.

If economic forecasts hold true and the economy cools later in 2024, we might see a modest decline in mortgage rates.

Key Facts About The Florida Housing Market in April 2024

In April 2024, the Florida housing market shows mixed signals with interest rates expected to slightly decrease, home prices continuing to rise, and an increase in new construction potentially balancing the market.

Interest Rates Falling Slightly

Forecasters, including the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors, suggest that mortgage rates might decrease to below 7% by the second half of 2024, although they will likely remain above 6%.

Home Prices Keep Rising

The 5.7% increase in the national median price of existing homes to $384,500 from February 2023 to April 2024 signals a continuing upward trend in home prices.

This steady rise in prices suggests that buying sooner rather than later could be advantageous, as waiting might lead to higher costs as the trend continues.

Rise in New Florida Construction

There has been a rise in single-family construction permits, indicating potential growth in new home supply which could help balance the market somewhat. This could be a sign of increasing inventory levels, which is helping push prices down.

How to Know if Now is a Good Time to Buy a House for YOU

When considering buying a home in Florida, it's essential to focus on both personal and financial factors specific to your situation, not just broader economic conditions. Think about where you see yourself in the next five years.

Unlike renting, where commitments might only span a few months or years, purchasing a home is a long-term investment. This involves various upfront costs such as the down payment, closing costs, and moving expenses, along with ongoing expenses like property taxes.

It requires considering your job stability, the proximity of family and friends, and local community amenities. When it comes to financing a home, key factors include your income, job location stability, and credit score.

In Florida, a conventional mortgage generally requires a minimum FICO score of 620, although FHA loans might allow lower scores with certain down payments. Remember, a higher credit score can secure better loan terms and lower interest rates.

Your financial health is also assessed through your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), which should ideally not exceed 36%. Calculate this by dividing your total monthly debt by your gross monthly income.

Ensure your savings can cover emergencies and a significant down payment to potentially avoid private mortgage insurance. For example, the typical down payment in Florida recently averaged 14.7%.

Planning with a clear understanding of these elements will help you make a sound decision when choosing between renting and buying a home in Florida.

Discount Programs for First-Time Home Buyers in Florida

Read our in-depth guide about all the best ways to save money with government programs when buying a home, or look at the highlights below.

First-Time Home Buyer Programs

  • Florida Hometown Heroes Program - Offers up to $35,000 for down payments and closing costs for those working or serving in Florida communities.

  • FHA Loan Program - Low down payment options, accessible to buyers with lower credit scores.

  • VA Mortgage - For military members, veterans, and their spouses, with no mortgage insurance requirement.

  • USDA Mortgage - Ideal for homes in non-urban areas, offering 100% financing.

  • FHFA First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage Rate Discount - Discount on interest rates for loans.

  • The Good Neighbor Next Door (GNND) Program - 50% off the list price of homes in designated areas for eligible professionals.

  • HomeReady - Lower rates and costs, 3% down payment option.

  • Home Possible - Similar to HomeReady, for low to moderate-income home buyers.

  • Conventional 97 - A low-down mortgage with a 3% down payment option.

First-Time Home Buyer Grants

  • The National Homebuyers Fund - Offers grants up to 5% of the purchase price.

  • Forgivable Mortgages - Loans that can be canceled after meeting certain conditions.

  • Discounted Homes from HUD - 50% discount on homes for eligible buyers through the GNND program.

  • Closing Cost Assistance Programs - Financial support for various closing costs.

  • Down Payment Assistance Programs (DPA) - Cash grants ranging from $500 to $50,000.

  • Down Payment Loans - Low-interest loans for down payments.

  • Deferred Mortgages - Delayed repayment options for borrowers.

Programs in Congress

These programs and grants offer various benefits, including lower down payments, reduced interest rates, and financial assistance, making them highly beneficial for first-time homebuyers in Florida.

Bottom Line

In Florida, with the housing market showing mixed signals, prospective buyers face a complex decision. While mortgage rates remain high, the gradual increase in new listings and extended time on market could suggest a more buyer-friendly environment.

If you're financially prepared and find a property that meets your needs, it might be wise to act sooner rather than wait for uncertain future rate or price reductions.

Considering all factors, now could be a good time to invest in Florida real estate, especially if you're looking to build equity and secure a home in a potentially fluctuating market.

For more insights and personalized guidance on navigating Florida's housing market, contact MakeFloridaYourHome.

With over 50 years of mortgage industry experience, we are here to help you achieve the American dream of owning a home. We strive to provide the best education before, during, and after you buy a home. Our advice is based on experience with Phil Ganz and Team closing over One billion dollars and helping countless families.

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