A recent forecast report releasedÂ by the National Association of Home Builders projects that Florida state, andÂ in particular metro areas within the state, will experience the steepest declines in housing starts this year compared to last year.
Housing starts in Florida are projected to fall from 198,900 in 2006 to 103,300 this year, a massiveÂ 48.1 percent drop, the builders group reported. Florida is home to nine ofÂ ten U.S. metro areas with the sharpest projected drop in housing starts from 2006 to 2007.
The Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice metro areaÂ is top ofÂ that list, with a projected 67.5 percent decline this year compared to 2006. Next on the list was the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., metro area, with a 61.4 percent projected drop.
The other metro areas on the top 10 list are expected to see a 50 percent or greater slide in housing starts from 2006 to 2007.
Verdict? AÂ shrinking number of condo starts combined with the totalÂ failure of other projects, plus theÂ return ofÂ many conversions back to rentals, means that condoÂ inventory is on the decline all over the state – great news forÂ sellers – but perhaps not so great for buyers.Â
Less condos = higher prices. Ergo, 2008 could signalÂ the beginning of the endÂ of a strongÂ buyer’s market. After all, it can’t last forever – any more than the sellers’ market did.
The writing is on the wall.