For information contact:
bradley f. hunter @ 561.835.9235 or 561.573.8351
alan hunter @ 561.835.9235
tania oshman @ 713.523.6630 or 713.824.2282
tania oshman public relations
For immediate release
Metrostudy: New Single-Home Inventory
Lowest In a Decade
(West Palm Beach, FL – April 29, 2008) “There is a general consensus that the United
States is in the midst of a mild recession that will be documented by the end of the summer,”
said Mike Inselmann, president of Metrostudy, a national housing tracking and consulting
company. “By the time it is documented, it may already be over. The homebuilding industry
is working determinedly to rid itself of any excess inventory, and in many markets that
process will be completed this year, giving rise to some moderate optimism for 2009.”
Much will depend on a return of some normalcy in the dysfunctional mortgage market,
Inselmann said. “New credit and underwriting guidelines have disqualified many willing
buyers, and others who are otherwise qualified have parked themselves on the sidelines in
response to a general chorus of predictions that home prices have farther to fall. But the story
varies by market. Markets with stable economies — those that avoided the speculative
housing bubble, such as Texas and North Carolina — have experienced a more moderate
bubble effect with a better near-term outlook. States and metropolitan areas with restrictive
local jurisdictions that created an artificial shortage of housing over the past five years, and
subsequently were the focus of speculative investors and subprime financing, are expecting a
much longer bottoming process and more difficulty seeing an upturn in the next two years.”
“Total non-agricultural jobs declined in the six-county South Florida market for four of the
five-month period ending in March. This is very rare for the area, even during recessions,”
said Bradley F. Hunter, who directs Metrostudy’s market research operations in Southwest
Non-agricultural jobs in the six-county market fell by about 22,900 from March 2007 to March
2008. This compares with approximately 32,000 net new jobs created from March 2006 to
March 2007, and 81,700 net new jobs created from March 2005 to March 2006. Miami-Dade
had the lowest unemployment rate, at 3.9 percent, and St. Lucie had the highest, at 6.6
percent. These unemployment figures are not seasonally adjusted.
During the 12 months ending in March 2008, the number of construction jobs fell by
approximately 18,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Inventories of new homes continue to decline as move-ins outpace starts, and builders limit
production in response to the slower economy,” Hunter said.
“Total quarterly housing starts in the six counties from Miami-Dade to Indian River increased
slightly from 1,020 units in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 1,174 in the first quarter of 2008. This
is only about half of the first quarter’s 2,276 move-ins,” Hunter said.
Starts for the 12-month period ending in March 2008 declined 26.8 percent, to 6,394 units. This
was the 11th consecutive quarterly decline in the annual starts pace since the 27,444 annual
starts recorded in the second quarter of 2005.
As builders reduced the pace of construction, under-construction inventory fell 20.6 percent,
to 3,121 units at the end of the first quarter.
Total single-family inventory, which comprises units under construction, finished vacant
units and model homes, fell 9.9 percent in the first quarter of 2008, to 10,054 units, the lowest
level in more than a decade.
“Housing inventory has fallen in Broward County for the last three quarters, and has fallen in
all other counties in the region for at least six consecutive quarters. Overall, housing inventory
has declined for eight consecutive quarters,” Hunter said.
Metrostudy’s surveyors gather the company’s data by driving through every active
subdivision every quarter and physically inspecting the status of each lot and home.
The top 10 South Florida communities, ranked by annual new home starts, were:
Community Starts Move-Ins
Greystone (Palm Beach) 200 58
Islands at Doral (Miami-Dade) 194 353
Valencia Pointe (Palm Beach) 182 189
Tradition (St. Lucie) 171 614
Oasis (Miami-Dade) 155 317
Abacoa (Palm Beach) 136 145
Orchid Grove Townhomes (Broward) 136 100
Silver Palms (Miami-Dade) 135 241
Century Gardens Village (Miami-Dade) 134 65
Majorca Isles (Miami-Dade) 124 97
“Even in the top 10 communities with the most starts, move-ins outpaced starts overall, which
is noteworthy,” Hunter said.
Single-family home starts rose slightly, from 224 units in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 310 in
the first quarter of 2008.
“Quarterly move-ins dropped from 668 units to 620 units, the slowest pace in more than a
decade. Yet it is still twice the starts pace,” Hunter said. The annual move-in pace declined
from 4,573 to 3,547 units.
During the first quarter of 2008, finished vacant inventory of single-family homes declined
from 2,080 units to 1,834.
Under-construction inventory fell for the 11th consecutive quarter, from 772 units to 687 units.
“The slowdown in construction brought total inventory (units under construction, finished
vacant units and model homes) from 2,975 to 2,665 units, a 9-month supply at the current
annual move-in rate,” Hunter said.
There were 4,240 vacant developed lots in Miami-Dade County at the end of the first quarter,
compared to the previous quarter’s 3,914. This represents a 27.6-month supply at the current
annual starts pace, more than the 20 to 24 months of supply needed for equilibrium, Hunter
The supply of finished vacant single-family homes in active Broward County subdivisions
increased from 1,023 to 1,150 units during the first quarter of 2008. This represents a 7-month
supply of finished vacant inventory at the annual move-ins pace. However, the number of
units under construction fell from 1,102 at the end of the fourth quarter to 899 at the end of
the first quarter of 2008.
The number of units under construction is the lowest in more than a decade. In addition,
there were only 310 move-ins during the first quarter. The quarterly starts pace of 248 units
and the annual starts pace of 1,476 units are the lowest rates recorded in more than a decade.
Hunter said that Broward County had 1,820 vacant developed lots at the end of the first
quarter, a tight 14.8-month supply, even at the current low annual starts pace.
Palm Beach County
There were 357 detached single-family home starts in Palm Beach County during the first
quarter of 2008, slightly more than the 348 starts reported in the fourth quarter. The annual
starts pace slowed from 2,056 units in the fourth quarter to 1,596 in the first quarter of 2008.
“During the first quarter, there were 625 single-family move-ins, compared to the fourth
quarter’s 846,” Hunter said. “The move-in figure has now exceeded starts for 11 consecutive
The number of finished vacant homes rose slightly, from 1,053 units at the end of the fourth
quarter of 2007 to 1,189 units at the end of the first quarter of 2008, a 4.3-month supply at the
current annual move-in pace.
Total inventory fell from 2,495 units in the fourth quarter, to 2,227 at the end of the first
quarter of 2008. The number of units under construction fell from 1,194 units to 775 in the first
quarter. Both figures have now declined for 11 consecutive quarters.
The number of vacant developed lots rose from 4,631 in the fourth quarter to 5,425. This
represents a 40.8-month supply at the current annual starts pace.
“During the year ending in the first quarter of 2008, only 206 single-family homes were
started in Martin County, while move-ins totaled 525 units,” Hunter said.
Finished vacant inventory fell from 362 units at the end of the fourth quarter of 2007, to 321
units in the first quarter of 2008.
At the end of the first quarter, there was a 7.3-month supply of finished vacant homes, nearly
as high as last quarter’s record level, Hunter said, because the annual move-in pace was
Martin County’s supply of vacant developed lots was 2,655 at the end of the first quarter, a
155.2-month supply at the current annual starts pace, which is the slowest it has been in more
than a decade.
St. Lucie County
In the first quarter of 2008, 102 single-family homes were started in St. Lucie County,
compared to 82 in the fourth quarter of 2007, Hunter said.
“There were 294 single-family move-ins during the first quarter. Move-ins have exceeded
completions for three consecutive quarters and inventory has fallen for six quarters in a row,”
Finished vacant inventory totaled 989 units at the end of the first quarter of 2008, compared to
1,153 at the end of the fourth quarter. This represents a 7.7-month supply of finished vacant
units, the lowest level reported in seven quarters. Only 367 units were under construction at
the end of the first quarter. This is the lowest number of units under construction since the
second quarter of 2002, Hunter said.
Indian River County
“Quarterly starts in Indian River County fell to 130 units from the fourth quarter’s 190 units.
The annual starts pace of 655 units is the lowest since 2001,” Hunter said.
Move-ins in Indian River County declined from 353 in the fourth quarter of 2007, to 321 in the
first quarter of 2008.
“Move-ins have outpaced starts for six consecutive quarters and have outpaced completions
for three consecutive quarters,” Hunter said.
The inventory of finished vacant homes fell to 666 units, from 823 at the end of the fourth
quarter of 2007, reducing the months-of-supply figure to 6.1 months (from 6.7 months at the
end of the fourth quarter). However, supply is still well above the 1.5-month equilibrium
level, Hunter said.
There were 5,106 vacant developed lots in Indian River County at the end of the first quarter
of 2008, a 93.5-month supply at the current annual starts pace.
Metrostudy is the leading provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing industry and
related industries nationwide. In addition to providing information, the company is recognized for its
consulting expertise on development, marketing and economic issues, and is a key source of research studies
evaluating the marketability of residential and commercial real estate projects. Services are offered through an
extensive network of offices strategically located in major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S.