Lakeland, Florida: The Hottest Housing Market in 2019?

According to a January 2019 report from realtor.com®, Lakeland, Florida could have the hottest housing market in the U.S. during 2019. That prediction was part of a report entitled: “The 10 Surprising Housing Markets Poised to Rule in 2019.”

Rounding out the top five on that list were:

  • Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • El Paso, Texas
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Phoenix, Arizona

Many real estate markets across the country have cooled down over the past year or so, with fewer sales and slower home-price growth. Properties are staying on the market longer, as demand weakens.

But that’s a general trend with plenty of exceptions. As the authors of this particular report stated:

“…not all markets are slamming into reverse. In fact, there are still housing markets expected to be white-hot in 2019 — and realtor.com®’s economic team found them. These are the 10 top superstar metropolitan areas where both the number of sales and prices are expected to jump in 2019, bucking the national slowdown trend.”

Related: Is 2019 a good time to buy?

Lakeland Named Hottest Housing Market for 2019

The housing market in Lakeland, Florida made the “hottest” list last year, as well. It was ranked fifth among major metro areas in early 2018. In 2019, it moved into the number-one position in the realtor.com ranking.

The group predicted that home sales in the Lakeland area would rise by 5% in 2019, while home prices would go up by 7.4%.

To determine which real estate markets might be the strongest in 2019, the company analyzed the number of existing home sales and their prices, along with the amount of new home construction. They did this for the 100 largest markets across the U.S. They also researched the “local economies of each area, along with population trends, unemployment rates, median household incomes, and other factors.”

As of January 2019, the median home price in Lakeland was around $160,000 according to Zillow. Coincidentally, they too are predicting that prices in the area will rise by 7.4% during 2019.

In January, Zillow’s research team stated:

“Lakeland home values have gone up 9.3% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 7.4% within the next year.”

Related: 8 markets that are heating up

Limited Supply Boosting Home Prices

As usual, there are supply and demand factors behind these bold forecasts for the Lakeland, Florida real estate market.

Like the other metro areas included in the “hottest markets” report, Lakeland has a relatively low level of housing supply right now. Meanwhile, the area’s population has grown steadily over the past decade, bringing more buyers into the market.

In the early 1990s, the city of Lakeland had a population in the low 70,000 range. In 2019, the population is approaching 110,000. The broader metro area, which includes Winter Haven, had a population of around 666,149 when last measured.

Meanwhile, housing inventory in the area (i.e., the number of homes that are actually listed for sale) remains fairly low. Toward the end of 2018, the Lakeland real estate market had about a three-month supply of homes for sale. That’s well below the five to six months that is considered to be a “balanced” real estate market.

So the housing scene in Lakeland tends to favor sellers over buyers, due to the somewhat constrained inventory conditions in that market.

Given all of these factors, it would not be surprising to see this city (and the broader metro area) outperform the nation in 2019 in terms of home-price appreciation. And according to the analysts at realtor.com, Lakeland could be the hottest housing market this year.

The key takeaway for home buyers: Prices in this market are expected to rise at a steady pace throughout 2019. So you might want to consider making your purchase sooner rather than later, to avoid higher housing costs down the road.

Disclaimer: This article contains data and predictions provided by third parties not associated with the Home Buying Institute. They’ve been presented here as an educational service to our readers. The publishers of this website make no claims or assertions about future housing conditions.