Texas, Florida are affordability havens for homebuyers: Zillow

Rising inventory and slowing home price growth have made Austin, San Antonio, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville some of the best markets for buyers, according to Zillow’s latest Market Heat Index.

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Homebuyers in Texas and Florida are catching a break this spring, as an infusion of new-home inventory and relatively balanced levels of existing-home inventory provide more housing options and greater affordability.

Both states dominated Zillow’s April Market Heat Index, which examines housing trends in the nation’s 50 largest markets based on “user engagement on Zillow’s active home listings, the share of listings with a price cut, and the share of for-sale listings going pending in 21 days.”

Three of the four markets rated a “buyer’s market” were in Florida, while four of the seven “neutral markets” were in Florida (one) and Texas (three).

“Would-be buyers who witnessed intense competition in sunny Texas and Florida markets earlier on in the pandemic aren’t seeing such a frenzy now, as strong construction in many of these markets has helped restore inventory levels,” the report read. “Austin and San Antonio are two of just three markets with more inventory now than pre-pandemic, while Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville have among the smallest deficits.”

Home values are down in Austin (-3.6 percent) and San Antonio (-1.8 percent), while home value growth has slowed to under 1 percent in Tampa (+0.5 percent), Orlando (+0.6 percent) and Jacksonville (+0.7 percent).

The slowdown in home value growth is tied to the inventory boost that each market is experiencing, which ranges from a low of 11.5 percent (San Antonio) to a high of 27.5 percent (Jacksonville).

While Texas and Florida are affordability havens for homebuyers, homesellers still have a strong edge in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“The top market for sellers is Buffalo, New York, forecast by Zillow in January as the hottest market of 2024,” the report read. “Among the top ranks for sellers are more expensive (and inventory constrained) coastal tech hubs, relatively affordable markets in the Northeast — Hartford and Providence — and hot Upper Midwest metros Milwaukee and Minneapolis.”

The biggest home value gains were in San Jose (+2.9 percent), San Francisco (+2.4 percent), Seattle (+2.1 percent), Milwaukee (+2.1 percent) and Buffalo (+1.9 percent).

Buffalo — which Zillow dubbed the hottest market of 2024 in January — has a relatively small number of listings with price cuts (12.4 percent) compared to the national average (22.4 percent). The city also has one of the lowest median days on market (nine) and a hefty percentage of listings that are sold above list price (52.2 percent).

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