Southern States Double Down On Affordable Inventory

The South has lost its sparkle for American movers in the post-pandemic world, but that could change as the region doubles down on producing affordable inventory.

More than half of all available inventory in April 2024 was concentrated in Southern states, according to an analysis by 

They also boasted the most new listings at 19.7%. In contrast, inventory rose by just 7.5% in the West and 2.9% in the Northeast. The Midwest came in a close second at 18.4%.

“Sellers continued to list homes at a greater rate than last year. This has led to a promising increase in more affordable homes for sale, especially in the South,” Chief Economist Danielle Hale said.

Florida metros saw the most inventory growth, especially in Tampa (+69.5%), Orlando (+64.2%), and Jacksonville (+59.1%).

Despite this good news, some other areas of the country have been booming in recent months. A recent ranking named towns in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Maine, Tennessee, and New Hampshire the hottest markets of 2024, all for their affordability. The average listing price in those markets was $60,000 lower than the national median last month.

“Sun Belt metros picked up steam during the [COVID-19] pandemic, but climbing prices and mortgage rates eventually stifled buyer demand,” said economic analyst Hannah Jones. “More affordable markets in the Midwest and Northeast grew in popularity as once-frenzied Southern markets cooled off.”

One factor behind this trend is back-to-office mandates, which have made the Northeast region the best performing market of the last half-year. Just as remote work sent Americans south to warmer, cheaper climates, reversals in work trends may be boosting Boston and New York City despite their high costs of living.

But cost-conscious buyers may shrug off these factors, as greater inventory leads to steep savings. Already, metros in Florida and Texas have seen sellers slash prices in areas with many homes for sale. Median sales prices and time on market are also affected.

“The sharp ascent in Florida housing prices in recent years has driven a lot of homeowners to cash in on their equity, but some of them are having a hard time adjusting to the fact that it’s a buyer’s market… if you’re a buyer, know that the odds of getting an offer accepted below market value are pretty high,” Eric Auciello, a Florida sales manager for Redfin, noted.

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