South Florida Market Begins To Show Improvement During 3Q11

The South Florida market shows job gains, improved starts, and improved annual move-ins during 3Q11, according to a recent report by Metrostudy, a national housing data and consulting firm that maintains the most extensive primary database on residential construction in the US housing market.

South Florida has experienced year over year job gains each month this year, rising at a rate of 25,000 per year now and still gaining momentum. “Job growth has been positive through most of the year, having been negative in 2008, 2009, and the first half of 2010,” said Brad Hunter, director of Metrostudy’s South Florida division.

Single family starts in South Florida increased from 851 in 2Q11 to 940 in 3Q11. On a quarterly basis, starts have risen for each of the past three quarters. Except for last quarter, when starts barely edged move-ins by 851 to 850, this is the first quarter since 1Q06 that starts (940) have been higher than move-ins (757). “This is a bullish indicator for housing demand, since it shows that builders have the confidence once again to sell from plans and to build spec homes,” said Hunter.

Highlights by county:

Miami-Dade: Starts rose over each of the past three quarters, and are now 43% above year-ago activity levels. Construction is running ahead of user move-ins, “which indicates that builders are signing more contacts and selling more pre-construction homes,” said Hunter.

Broward: Starts surged to 247 in the third quarter of 2010, up 68% from a year earlier, and then fell to the 150 range for two quarters as the credit-induced surge turned into a hangover. Starts rose from 236 in the second quarter of this year, to 249 in the third quarter.

Palm Beach: Housing starts fell in the third quarter compared with the previous, but remain at the same level as one year ago. Standing inventory is down once again, to 298 units, which is a 3.0 month supply.

Martin: Starts in the third quarter remained about the same at 42 homes but increased by 14% since the previous year. Inventory of finished, vacant homes is at 77, which is down from 398 at the peak, which works out to be about six months of supply.

St. Lucie: 32 homes were started during 3Q11, which is the highest pace since 2Q08. Move-ins are still running higher than starts, which is allowing finished inventories to fall.

Indian River: There were 67 starts in the third quarter, which is up 37% from a year earlier. There are 135 finished, vacant homes in the county, which is a 6.4 month supply.

Source:  Metrostudy