Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fla.’s housing market shows positive trends in March

ORLANDO, Fla. – April 19, 2012 – Florida’s housing market had increased pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in March, according to Florida Realtors® latest housing data.

“With the continued steep decline of inventory, historically low interest rates and buyers no longer willing to wait on the sidelines, Florida’s real estate market continues on its road to recovery,” says 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “The latest numbers show that pending sales are up almost 30 percent for single-family homes and almost 20 percent for townhomes and condos.”

Pending sales refer to contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed; closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in March was $139,000, up 10.3 percent from the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department, and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $105,000, up 20.8 percent over March 2011.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in February 2012 was $157,100, which is slightly higher than the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in February was $266,660; in Massachusetts, it was $255,000; in New York, it was $220,000; and in Maryland, it was $212,301.

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.

Statewide sales of existing single-family homes totaled 18,370 in March, down 5.7 percent compared to the year-ago figure. Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhomes/condos, a total of 10,012 units sold statewide last month, down 12.4 percent from those sold in March 2011. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in February 2012 was $153,000.

In March, there was a 5.9-month supply of single-family homes in inventory and a 6.0-month supply for townhomes/condos, according to Florida Realtors.

“The encouraging trends we’ve seen in the Florida housing market are continuing, with very strong pending sales and decreasing inventory,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “The large jump in median sales prices for both single-family homes and condos is a sign that buyers are now looking at higher priced properties, while it’s becoming tougher to find properties at the lower end of the market.”

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95 percent in March 2012, down from the 4.84 percent average during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.

To download the full statewide housing activity report, go to the Research page of at and look under the header “New statewide housing reports.”

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