SCARCITY OF HOMES COULD COOL
OFF REAL ESTATE MARKET
High construction costs, lack of affordable land and housing
could send buyers looking elsewhere
Realtor John Slivon is happy homes are
selling so fast these days, but he’s also a
little worried about the future of real estate
in St. Lucie County.
Slivon is the manager of Bowen Realty’s
Port St. Lucie office. He’s a past president
of the Broward, Palm Beaches and St. Lucie
County Realtors Association. He also chairs
the St. Lucie Realtors Charitable Foundation,
which awards grants in the form of
down-payment assistance to qualified buyers
seeking attainable housing.
Slivon pays a lot of attention to housing
statistics, and what he’s seeing lately has
Take the inventory of existing homes,
A normal supply of existing homes
for sale would be sufficient for five or six
months. Today it’s at 11/2 months or less, he
said, referring to the latest available statistics
from May. He suspects more recent
activity will be the same or worse.
Of course, if there are fewer homes for
sale, new buyers may become frustrated
and look elsewhere.
VERY TIGHT MARKET
As homes become scarcer, prices rise,
too. Slivon reports a 30% increase in sales
prices in the past 12 months, although he
admits comparing year-over-year numbers
after a year’s COVID quarantine complicates
In the past year, the average price for a
three-bedroom home in St. Lucie County
rose from $251,000 to $327,000, while the
median price was up 21%, increasing from
$224,000 to $295,000.
As seen nationally, it’s a very tight market,
with prospective purchasers clamoring
to offer thousands over the asking price in
many cases. Slivon said the median time
from viewing a property to signing a contract
is an incredibly short nine days. Often,
out-of-town buyers simply do not have
time to react before a property is snapped
up. Slivon said some would-be buyers
from the Northeast he was hoping to show
several homes found every home had sold
before they could even get here.
Slivon worries about the long-term effects
of such a hot market.
Inventory is very limited and demand is
healthy, he said.
“But we need inventory especially in
large subdivisions,” where people coming
to the county after landing jobs at new
commercial and industrial developments
will be most likely to look.
NOWHERE TO GO
As he points out, some existing homeowners
are reluctant to sell their homes
because where will they go? Homebuilders
often cannot guarantee a completed
house without a wait time of up to 18
months in some Tradition neighborhoods,
He noted how he refinanced his own
home last year, spurred on by record low
interest rates during the pandemic. However,
homeowners who did the same might
be reluctant to sell now because such
advantageous rates are no longer available
on a new home.
He said some local homebuilders
are using lottery
systems to allocate new
homes because demand is
And many builders in
Tradition subdivisions seem
to be concentrating on constructing
rather than lower-priced
units that might be more
suitable for workers in the
in active adult
having plenty of
money that can
Such homes are fetching between
$400,000 and $600,000, he noted. So
where does workforce or attainable housing
Slivon said some homebuilders — he
specifically mentioned D.R. Horton in the
Creekside development in Fort Pierce
— are building more affordable units. In
the case of Creekside, he said it’s partly
because the builder has owned the land
for a long time before prices soared.
He noted how spot builders who take
on small projects are having a difficult time
finding affordable lots in Port St. Lucie.
Some single lots are approaching $60,000,
It’s sobering to realize the median price
in the county in 2010 was only $89,000,
LUMBER PRICES SLOW BUILDING
Recently, materials prices, especially
lumber, have skyrocketed all over the
country. Back in May, the inflated price of
lumber added an estimated $36,000 to
the price of a new home. In recent weeks,
lumber prices have dropped precipitously,
which will help builders.
Yet Slivon worries the slim inventory of
homes available may cause prospective
buyers to become frustrated and simply
In response to out-of-reach home prices,
a growing number of people have been
turning to rental properties; now those
prices have gone through the roof, too.
Slivon has even heard of builders who are
renting homes for purchasers until their >>
BY ANTHONY WESTBURY
Springs at Tradition is an apartment complex located at the northern
end of the jobs corridor. Similar complexes will be needed to
accommodate the hundreds of new workers expected to arrive.