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Home sales on Treasure Coast drop for 4th month in row during cooldown

'It’s not typical, this is probably the first real slow down that we have felt,' real estate agent Lauren Stracuzzi-Purkey says
Posted at 7:01 PM, Oct 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-25 19:01:04-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — It's what appears to be a housing cooldown across south Florida.

From the Treasure Coast to Miami, home sales slowed down and median home prices dipped for nowseveral months in a row.

In Martin County, for example, there were 193 home sales in the month of June. By July, that number dropped to 170 sales and by August it was down to 164. In September, it dropped again to 143 home sales.

"It’s not typical, this is probably the first real slowdown that we have felt," said Lauren Stracuzzi-Purkey, a real estate agent with the Remax Stracuzzi Group.

Lauren Stracuzzi-Purkey is a real estate agent with the Remax Stracuzzi Group in Martin County. Oct. 25, 2023
Lauren Stracuzzi-Purkey is a real estate agent with the Remax Stracuzzi Group in Martin County.

Stracuzzi-Purkey said it's probably because of interest rates once again soaring to close to 8 percent, and it's not just Martin County's sales slowing down.

“Parts of Indian River County, St Lucie county, Martin county, Palm Beach County, even parts of Dade," Stuart real estate agent Alex Haigh said.

Haigh showed WPTV data from the Realtors Association of Martin County showing people in those counties bought fewer homes these past few months on average. He also said inventory is up and houses are staying on the market longer than about a year ago.

"We can feel it as real estate agents, the phone doesn’t ring as much," Haigh said.

While several other Florida counties saw home prices drop along with the number of sales, that's not the case in Martin County, where the average price for a single-family home jumped up by another 10% compare with last year.

In the county, the median sales price for a single-family home in September was $577,645 compared with $551,000 12 months ago. This past August it was $575,000, July $610,000 and June $598,500.

"We are that small town feel, beautiful beaches, small downtown Stuart, people continue to flock here," Stracuzzi-Purkey said.

Even though sales are slower, Starcuzzi-Purkey said that likely only lasts as long as interest rates are high. She said next year, they'll likely drop again.

"I don't have a crystal ball, but I have been talking to mortgage lenders and they have been saying they are hearing of talk that they will come down by next year," Stracuzzi-Purkey said. "And I do think when that happens, all those buyers waiting on the sidelines are going to hop back into the market and then we're going to continue to see Martin County’s prices go up.”

In a nutshell, the cooldown might not be as ideal as it sounds for many buyers.

"Buyers are frustrated, people are a little ticked off," Haigh said. "They feel like they missed the market.”

Still, Haigh and Stracuzzi-Purkey said they key if you're planning to buy is to remember refinancing your mortgage rate is always an option.

“Because they are saying in the next quarter or two they’re going to come down," Stracuzzi-Purkey said.

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