Real Estate News

South Florida real estate is in cool-down mode — and that’s not a bad thing

A home for sale in the Miami area.
A home for sale in the Miami area.

South Florida home prices are rising at their slowest rate since the economy began recovering in 2012, allowing workers the chance to catch up in a severe housing crunch, according to a closely watched economic barometer.

Home prices in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties went up 6.1 percent year-over-year in November, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index. That robust growth rate is still higher than the national average of 5.6 percent.

But local growth has slowed significantly over the last two years as Latin American investors struggle with a strong dollar and the foreclosure market dwindles. Home prices grew at double digit rates in 2013 and 2014, putting pressure on workers to find affordable housing as incomes stagnated.

Now South Florida is trailing hotter regions such as Seattle (10.4 percent annual growth); Portland, Oregon (10.1 percent); Denver (8.7 percent); Dallas (8.1 percent); and Tampa (8.1 percent).

Overall, home prices in South Florida are still far from returning to their bubble-era high. They stand at roughly 78 percent of their 2006 peak, according to the Case-Shiller index.

Nationally, a shortage of affordable homes is leading to bidding wars and rising prices. In November, Case-Shiller hit a record high for a third straight month.

“Home prices continue to grow at a rapid clip, largely driven upward by the now-familiar forces of high demand from home buyers and limited supply of homes available for sale,” Svenja Gudell, chief economist for real estate website Zillow, said in a statement. “But even as the pace of home value growth keeps rising, growth in rents is flattening out and stabilizing, which — combined with a series of other factors — will likely begin impacting the for-sale market sooner or later.”

Nicholas Nehamas: 305-376-3745, @NickNehamas