The Punta Gorda metropolitan statistical area, or MSA, which encompasses all of Charlotte County, had the second highest profit margin for sellers in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2024, out of 135 MSAs analyzed, according to data firm ATTOM. 

While nationwide profit margins for home sales decreased 55%, in Charlotte County the profit margin for sellers rose to 103.1% for the first three months of the year, from 83.5% in the fourth quarter of 2023. 

The change represented a 37.1% quarter-over-quarter increase and a 12.6% year-over-year increase year. 

But that doesn’t mean every home seller saw big profits. Those who bought a home during the buying frenzy of 2020-21 might have sold for less than they purchased. 

Leanne Walker, this year’s president of the Realtors of Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port-DeSoto Inc. pointed out that a seller who purchased their home 30 years ago and sold in the fourth quarter would have garnered a significant profit. 

Inventory in Charlotte County has grown and it’s more of a buyer’s market. Single-family home prices have remained relatively stable with the area not having declines like the rest of the nation. 

In fact, ATTOM, which is a leading curator of land, property and real estate data, also showed in its report that profit margins for median-priced single-family home and condo sales in the U.S. decreased to 55.3% in the first quarter. 

While in some parts of Florida there have been sharp decreases in sales and home prices, of the top 10 MSAs, Florida took the top three spots in the ATTOM report. 

Coming in at No. 1 was Ocala with a profit margin in the first quarter of this year that rose to 128% from 90.8% in the fourth quarter of last year. The Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach MSA went from 66.7% in the fourth quarter of 2023 to 81.1% in the first quarter of 2024. 

The report also showed the decline in typical profit margins, from 57.1% in the fourth quarter of 2023 and from 56.5a year ago, came as the median nationwide home price went down quarterly by 4.3%, to $330,000. 

While prices often fall back during the slower winter home-selling season each year, the latest decrease marked one of the largest quarterly declines over the past 10 years, according to the report. At the same time, investment returns for sellers decreased for the second straight quarter after several increases last year, with the exception of some markets, including the Punta Gorda MSA. 

As seller returns slipped, they remained higher than during most of the housing market boom that continued throughout the nation over the past decade. The same was true in the early months of 2024 for the typical $120,500 gross profit on typical home sales across the country, according to the report. 

“The latest price and profit numbers show notably downward trends, which raises new questions about whether the housing-market boom is indeed ebbing, or even ending, after so many years of improvement,” said Rob Barber, CEO for ATTOM. 

“But due caution is needed in looking at the first-quarter data and what the patterns mean. We saw a similar downward pattern from late 2022 into early 2023, and then the market surged. Plus, profits and profit margins still are very high by historical measures. Amid all that, the spring buying season will be a huge barometer for whether the market still has steam in its engine,” he said. 

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