The Best Time to Buy a House in Florida

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By Clever Real Estate Updated March 29, 2023


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When to buy a house in Florida | The 5 best places to buy a home in Florida | How to buy a house in Florida: A step-by-step guide | FAQ about buying a home in Florida

Buying a house is a stressful process. One way to make buying a house easier is starting the process at the right time. In Florida, housing inventory, mortgage rates, and market trends vary from month to month.

For example, in recent years prices for homes in Florida were lowest in April. On average, homes were $42,625 less expensive. While in November — the month with the highest prices — the listing prices were $39,387 more than the annual average.

Mortgage rates, on the other hand, were lowest in December. But with interest rates currently on the rise, it pays to explore your options with a trusted mortgage provider to make sure you’re getting the best rate possible.

In truth, the best time to buy a house really depends on your priorities and situation. Read on to find out which time of year will give you the most options and the biggest savings when buying a house in Florida.

Getting started

When you’re in the planning stage of buying a home, the best step you can take is to connect with a great local agent. To find a top local realtor, use a free service like Clever Real Estate. Clever matches home buyers like you with top local agents from trusted brands like RE/MAX and Keller Williams.

Economic conditions can change quickly, and a knowledgeable realtor can give you up-to-the-minute information on where and when to buy based on your priorities. Add your zip code below to instantly request hand-picked agent matches!

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Timing the market: When to buy a house in Florida

When attempting to time the market, you need to balance two things: inventory and price. In the winter, you're more likely to find a house on the cheap, but there may not be as many houses on the market to choose from. That's because the median sale price is higher during the summer, so most sellers wait until then to list their homes.

Those who sell in the winter are more likely to be doing so out of financial desperation or immediate need. Sellers in this situation usually won't put any work into the house before selling, so you're more likely to find as-is listings and fixer-uppers during the winter. That said, there will be some great houses on the market for a low price.

According to Redfin, the median sales price in Florida in the winter is $241,000. In the summer, that rises to $251,667 — over $10,000 more! Clearly, you can have significant savings by planning to buy your home in the winter.

Here are the median sale prices for every season in Florida:

Season Median sale price
Spring $247,000
Summer $251,667
Fall $246,667
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Here are the median sale prices by month in Florida:

Month Median sale price Month Median sale price
January $236,000 July $251,000
February $238,000 August $248,000
March $245,000 September $246,000
April $247,000 October $246,000
May $249,000 November $248,000
June $256,000 December $249,000
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As you can see from Redfin's data, sale prices hit their lowest point in January and then steadily climb up to their maximum in June. Using this table, you can get a better sense of when you should plan to buy a home.

For example, if it's December and you want to get the lowest price on your home, consider holding out a month or two longer and buying in January or February. However, if it's June, you might decide to wait until prices start cooling down in July, August, and September.

However, it's important to note that price trends can vary from city to city — state-level data can give you only so much insight. To get a better idea of when to buy a home in your target market, speak with a local realtor. They'll be able to advise you based on data for your specific town, city, or region.

The 5 best places to buy a home in Florida

Florida is an exciting real estate market. Here are five established and up-and-coming cities you should keep your eye on.

1. Melbourne

Melbourne, Florida, is known for its high-performing schools: out of the 125 most populous metro areas, Melbourne's high school students were ranked second for college readiness by U.S. News & World Report. According to Zillow, the median home value in Melbourne was $192,000 in 2019, with an expected increase of 1.5% in 2020.

Melbourne at a glance:

Median home value: $192,000

Expected one-year growth: 1.5%

Standout feature: High-performing schools

2. Lakeland

The real estate market in Lakeland has been heating up recently, seeing 5.6% growth in 2018. In 2019, the median home value was $162,900, with an expected increase of 2.1% in the following year. Lakeland is a pleasant suburban area with good public schools and lots of parks.

Lakeland at a glance:

Median home value: $162,000

Expected one-year growth: 2.1%

Standout feature: Good public schools and lots of green space

3. Sarasota

Sarasota is popular among retirees. The median resident age is 51.6 years old, which reflects the fairly high cost of housing compared to the rest of the state — the residents here are typically financially secure. The median home value in Sarasota was $261,900 in 2019, which was about $25,000 more than the state's median at the time.

Sarasota at a glance:

Median home value: $261,900

Expected one-year growth: 1%

Standout feature: Well-suited for retirees

4. Tampa

Tampa is a West Florida city best known for its museums, Busch Gardens, and baseball. It's a great city for young professionals due to its exciting nightlife and many bars, restaurants, and cafes. The median home value was $218,900 in 2018, with an expected decrease by 0.6% in 2019. Those who like city life but don't want to be in the center of it might consider St. Petersburg, a smaller city west of Tampa.

Tampa at a glance:

Median home value: $218,900

Expected one-year growth: –0.6%

Standout feature: Culture and nightlife

5. Fort Myers

If you're a retiree, Fort Myers is an excellent city to buy a house in. The median home value was $210,800 in 2018. The city ranks second on U.S. News & World Report's list of best places to retire.

Fort Myers at a glance:

Median home value: $210,800

Expected one-year growth: 0.1%

Standout feature: Large and growing retiree community

Save thousands with Clever Cash Back!

Eligible buyers get cash back on the purchase price after closing.

How to buy a house in Florida: A step-by-step guide

Ready to move forward with your home purchase? Here's how to buy a house in Florida in eight steps.

1. Decide where you want to live

Before anything else, you need to decide where you want to live. Start by thinking about what you want to get out of your new home. Do you want something by the beach? A retirement community? Someplace in the city? A place to raise a family?

Next, look at some city-level stats for cities that fit the bill. Look into the median home values to see what areas fit your budget, and check out the expected short- and long-term growth to see which cities are a good investment. Research any other features that may influence your decision, such as crime rates and school rankings.

2. Find a great Florida real estate agent

Finding a great local real estate agent is the most important step in the home buying process. Your real estate agent will be your partner over the coming months, guiding you through the often complex real estate transaction process and listening to your needs to help you find the right home for you.

A good real estate agent will draw on their years of experience to help you negotiate better deals, find properties that suit your needs, and time the market.

To find top local realtors, try using Clever Real Estate. Clever will match you with top agents in your area. Plus, after closing, qualifying buyers receive cash back on the purchase price of their homes.

» LEARN: How to Find the Best Real Estate Agent in Your Area

3. Assess your needs and set a budget

Assess your income, assets, and savings, then set a maximum amount you can budget for a house. At this point in the home buying process, consider consulting a financial advisor.

Once you have a budget set, speak with your real estate agent to get an idea of what areas and what types of properties you can realistically afford.

4. Start house hunting

Look through local listings, and ask your realtor for property recommendations. Once you find a few houses you like, ask your real estate agent to set up showings for you.

Attend open houses, even for houses you're not particularly interested in. Sometimes it can be equally valuable to discover what you don't like.

» MORE: Free house-hunting checklist

5. Make an offer

Consult your real estate agent, and draft an offer. Your realtor can advise you on how to make a competitive offer based on your local market conditions.

When you make an offer, you need to provide a good faith deposit. The deposit is usually 1–3% of the purchase price, but it can be more in competitive markets. The higher your good faith deposit, the more competitive your offer is.

If your offer is accepted, you'll enter into a purchase agreement. You must discuss what contingencies to include with your realtor.

» LEARN: How to Make an Offer on a House

6. Secure financing

Unless you plan to buy your home with cash, you'll need to apply for a mortgage. For most home buyers in Florida, interest rates are among the biggest factors when choosing a lender. Doing a little upfront research and comparing options to find the best rates could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

For example, in Florida a typical house is worth $262,000. Assuming a 20% down payment, if you took out a 30-year mortgage for 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $935. But if you shopped around and found a 3% mortgage, your monthly payment would drop to about $884.

7. Negotiate for the best possible price

The average person doesn't have the negotiation experience necessary to successfully negotiate a real estate deal, so your realtor will be invaluable at this point in the process. They will draw on their years of experience to help negotiate a good price for you.

When negotiating, make sure you understand the seller, know the market, and negotiate after the inspection. These will give you the best chance for success.

» READ: How to Negotiate When Buying a House — An In-Depth Guide

8. Close the deal

Before the closing takes place, often you do a final walkthrough and the title company performs a title search. If everything looks good, you'll sit down at the closing table with the seller to sign the final paperwork.

You'll pay the remainder of your down payment, the title company representative or attorney will record the transaction with the municipality, and you'll receive the keys. Congratulations — the house is now yours!

» MORE: The Real Estate Closing Process for Buyers

The home buying process can be complex and difficult to navigate. If you're planning to buy a house in Florida, an experienced local real estate agent can help you get the best deal on your new home.

Clever will match you with top-rated, full-service real estate agents from major brands like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX. And when you work with a Clever Partner Agent, you could be eligible for cash back on the purchase price after closing.

Want to learn more? Fill out our form to get in touch with a top-notch Florida real estate agent and set up a free, no-obligation consultation.

Top FAQs about buying a home in Florida

Is buying a house in Florida a good investment?

In general, real estate is considered a safe investment. The housing market in Florida has been experiencing considerable growth over the past few years, and the growth is expected to continue.

However, it's important to keep in mind that real estate is highly regionalized, so some cities provide great investment opportunities, but others don't. Do your research and speak with your real estate agent before making a purchase.

How much is a down payment in Florida?

Generally, a conventional mortgage requires a down payment of 20% of the closing price. However, there are other options: FHA loans require only a 3.5% down payment, and some lenders allow you to put down less money as long as you pay a higher interest rate.

If you're unable to afford a down payment, you may benefit from Florida's down payment assistance programs. If you're moving to a designated rural area, you may be able to secure a USDA loan, which has a 0% minimum down payment. Learn more about how much you should put down.

How long does it take to close on a house in Florida?

In most cases, it takes 30 days to close on a house after a contract has been signed. This time to close is typical for Florida and across the U.S.

Do you need a lawyer to buy a house in Florida?

Buyers do not need to hire a lawyer to buy a house in Florida. However, it's a good idea to work with a real estate agent who can help guide you through the necessary paperwork. Working with a real estate agent isn't legally required, but unless you're a seasoned real estate professional yourself, you'll likely need the help of a realtor.

👋 Find your perfect agent now!

Finding a great local realtor is the first step in making your home buying dreams a reality. Our free service matches you with top agents from trusted brands like Keller Williams and RE/MAX.

Enter your zip code to request hand-picked agent matches in minutes. Compare your options until you find the perfect fit, or walk away with no obligation. Try Clever's free service today!

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