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Tallahassee Housing Market Tight For Some, Not All

A white house with blue shutters rests behind a picket fence covered in roses
David Sawyer via Flickr

Tallahassee home hunters are experiencing a conundrum. If you’re searching for something nice, without having to pay too much, you might be waiting on a long list.

Buyers in certain price ranges are encountering an inventory shortage. Vice-President of Timberlane Appraisal Greg Lane said the cause is quite simple. 

“The cause is really simply just the demand, and rates are low… Not enough new inventory is coming on the market to satisfy the demands of the buyers right now.” 

Areas north of Tallahassee are seeing fast sales, while properties south of the city aren’t seeing the same amount of traffic. Market snapshots provided by the Tallahassee Board of Realtors show Leon County has a five-month housing supply, which is the time it would take for all the current homes for sale on the market to sell.

If it starts with "Killearn," it’s in high demand. Homes on the northeast side of town, including the popular neighborhood off the Thomasville Road Corridor, are the hottest strip of real estate in Tallahassee right now. Realtor Joe Manausa has seen 52 percent of his buyers in this area.

But he believes there are more sellers than buyers, especially in the median price range, and that specifically is causing property values to drop at the high end.

On the lower end, the inventory shortage is affecting buyers.

“So when you take an overall look at the market, we have a shortage of supply,” he said. “But it’s not that people are standing in line to buy houses on the west side of town and the south side of town.”

Manausa said that homes below $350,000 are in a sellers’ market, which means there are more buyers than sellers. But once the price goes over $500,000, there becomes a “glut of supply.”

A balanced housing market usually has at least a 6 month supply of houses, but the rate at which homes are sold in Tallahassee is outpacing the available inventory. House hunters in town are experiencing increased demand, with no way to supply it.

In some areas on the Southwest side of town, there is less inventory now than there was at the beginning of the year. Surrounding areas, such as Havana, and Jefferson and Wakulla counties, are also experiencing high demand as home sales nationally are rising.

The effect, Manausa said, is just now trickling to Tallahassee.

“We are a lagging market and we always have been a lagging market, and that means it’s real easy to forecast in Tallahassee.” Manausa said that Tallahassee catches on to national and state housing market trends long after it’s been felt everywhere else.  

“Right now there’s more homes being sold in Florida than any other year going back in history, so Florida has a very vibrant housing market. So we’re still on the recovery path while most everyone else is setting new records.” 

Manausa said it’s very likely that low interest rates will be around for a while, but won’t go any lower.

As of February, Tallahassee’s median sales price is $165,000.