Home prices hit record highs in Volusia, Flagler counties

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An increase in people looking to buy homes combined with fewer available listings because of coronavirus fears pushed median sale prices in June to new record highs in Volusia and Flagler counties.

"We had a listing in Port Orange for a local radio personality that got multiple offers including some with escalator clauses," said Ron Wysocarski, broker and CEO of Wyse Home Team Realty in Port Orange. "That's something we haven't seen often here. It's where a buyer is willing to outbid other bids by $1,000 up to a set maximum amount."

John Adams, president of Adams, Cameron & Co. Realtors in Daytona Beach, said his agents have been reporting an increase in bidding wars for homes because of the low inventory.

"Demand has bounced back but we still have less inventory because a lot of people took their homes off the market when the pandemic began," said Adams. "Plus, we've got super low interest rates right now.

"Something's got to give and in this case it's home prices. There aren't enough houses on the market."

In Flagler County, the median sale price of single-family homes sold in June rose to $262,850, topping the county's previous record high of $258,750 that coincidentally was set the same month last year, according to Flagler County Association of Realtors data.

The median sale price in Volusia County rose in June to $235,000, up from $226,000 the same month a year ago, according to Florida Realtors data shared by the West Volusia Association of Realtors.

Flagler County saw the number of active listings in June fall to 763, down from 891 the previous month.

The inventory of available homes on the market shrank to 1,850 in Volusia, down from 2,499 in May.

The number of closed sales in June rose to 308 in Flagle Countyr, up from 182 in May. In Volusia County, closed sales rose to 1,002, up from 708 in May.

In New Smyrna Beach, Realtor Debbie Drew of The Keyes Co. received multiple offers for the house she had for sale in the Venetian Bay community.

The three-bedroom, two-bath house on the corner of Luna Bella Lane and East Locanda Circle was built in 2013 and sits on one of the larger lots in Venetian Bay. The property includes a pool as well as a three-car garage and an office. The asking price was $464,900. It was put under contract on June 24.

"We got a very good price for it," said Drew. She said she is not allowed to disclose the sale price until the transaction closes.

Drew represented the seller. "I believe the buyer was from out of state," she said. "I'm getting a lot of calls from up north for my listings," she added. "New York, Connecticut, Virginia and Tennessee. I'm very busy."

Adams said his real estate brokerage wound up conducting training for agents on how to handle multiple offer situations, something not seen much here since the area's last real estate boom from 2004-2006.

"As we adjust to the new normal (of the coronavirus pandemic), we're seeing more people move here, not just from the Northeast, but also South Florida," said Adams. "None of us know when this pandemic will end and there's a lot of pent-up demand."

Drew of The Keyes Co. said she is careful to follow coronavirus safety protocols when showing properties to prospective buyers. "Everybody has to wear a mask and I take everybody's temperature before entering," she said.

Home sales typically fall off locally in August and September, but area Realtors say that may not be the case this year because the spring buying cycle got pushed back because of the pandemic.

"All bets are off right now," said Wysocarski. "There's a ton of people with new aspirations to move to a warmer climate."

June's closed sales are of homes that were put under contract in either May or April when the number of coronavirus cases in Florida were considerably lower than the New York Tri-State Area.

Adams said the current surge in COVID-19 cases in Florida is a concern for him but so far it hasn't resulted in a decline in demand for homes here.

"What we're seeing in general is an increase in people wanting to get out of the large urban areas," he said.

Wysocarski also said he has yet to see a let-up in demand among house hunters.

"If you're buying today, you're probably not going to move in until late August or September," he said.

"Most buyers are also becoming more willing to overlook things needing minor repairs, things they can do on their own after closing," he said. "That's because they know there might not be anything better out there."

"In July, my (three agent) team has put 20 homes under contract which is a record for us," Wysocarski said. "We're crushing it right now."

Tribune Content Agency