Pensacola real estate: Average rental $1,600 per month, median sales price at record high

Emma Kennedy
Pensacola News Journal
  • Rental costs for a single-family home increased $100 last month to an average of $1,600 per month.
  • Real estate experts expect more inventory to come up, but it won't drop the prices any time soon.
  • The median sales price of $300,000 is a new all-time high for the region, up from a median sales price of about $220,000 two years ago

Pensacola area real estate has continued to fluctuate, with the cost of a single-family rental having increased $100 last month to an average of $1,600 per month and the median sales price at an all-time high of $300,000.

Those numbers are based on the most recent Pensacola Association of Realtors data that produces monthly reports on the growth of real estate and tracks trends in the region.

It's been a volatile few years for both markets as elements like Hurricane Sally and new construction delays took both listings and rentals off the market, creating record-low inventory levels at the same time competition drove up prices to an all-time high.

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While real estate experts are expecting a leveling off of the market competition-wise as more units become available over the next few months, it doesn't look like prices are set to drop any time soon.

"I'm feeling a little change in the market here with more inventory coming up, which makes us happy and hopefully will level down prices some, but not much," said rental company Realty Masters of Florida broker associate Nicole St. Aubin.

The Pensacola Association of Realtors only started tracking the rental data in the same way it does sales around the summer, but St. Aubin said in her own MLS data recording, she sees that rental inventory right now is 50 units higher than this time last year and 100 units higher than in July, when the average rent price was up to $1,900.

In December 2020, the average single-family home rented for $1,348, and the last time it was under $1,000 was in 2016. 

Property manager Terry Trainer goes through a condo Friday as he and Realty Masters prepare to re-list the unit.

St. Aubin thinks an element that could be contributing to rental prices changing so often is that some of the higher priced units aren't renting, which is forcing some landlords to drop prices.

Rental data can also be harder to put into context than sales because of the tourism market. Rentals are sometimes on the market for only a few months per year or their prices fluctuate through the more in-demand summer months — particularly condos — which can make it difficult to keep track of inventory and average prices.

However, St. Aubin said even taking all that into context, inventory numbers for rentals are climbing back up. Between November and December alone, the number of active available listings at the end of the month climbed from 113 to 147.

"Good news for renters is that inventory numbers are increasing so it should be easier to find a place," she said. "Bad news is that increased rents are here to stay and predicted to increase in our area."

As for the purchasing market, the median sales price of $300,000 is a new all-time high for the region, up from a median sales price of about $220,000 two years ago.

Single family inventory started climbing back up through the summer — a normal shift moving into the higher sales months of the summer — but has since continued to drop to as few as 1,717 listings in December.

A reference point local Realtors often use as a gauge of a healthy market is having 2,500 listings at any one time. For context, January 2021 saw the biggest dip of the year with only 1,662 units on the market, and a high of 2,207 in August.

Emma Kennedy can be reached at ekennedy@pnj.com or 850-480-6979.