Thursday, May 23, 2013

Florida, Space Coast Housing Sales Up

ORLANDO, Florida -- Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, rising median prices, increased pending sales, more new listings and a lower inventory of homes for sale in April, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 20,662 in April, up 17.4 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations.  Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes last month rose 31.9 percent over the previous April.  The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $165,000, up 14.2 percent from the previous year.

Brevard County's closed sales of existing single-family homes were down 20.5% from a year ago, and the median price of those sold rose 11.3% to $126,9000.

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 downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhouse-condos, a total of 11,183 units sold statewide last month, up 13.6 percent compared to April 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos last month increased 22.7 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhouse-condo properties was $128,000, up 16.4 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in March 2013 was $178,900

On Florida's Space Coast, sales of townhouse-condos were up 8.2% year-over-year, and the median price also rose 4.6% to $113,000.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.2-months’ supply in April; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 5.6-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors.

“To a certain extent, the real estate story remains the same: prices and sales are up and inventory is low,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “We are also seeing a continued stabilization of the distressed property market with short sales down, and foreclosure and REO (real estate owned) sales essentially unchanged. But there is also a bit more to the story.”

He explained, “Because the government is selling foreclosed properties in bulk and also using online auctions, our sales numbers actually understate the vigor of the market. The increased importance of government sales in this market is reflected in the continuing fall in inventory in MLS listings.” MLS stands for multiple listing service.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.45 percent in April 2013, lower than the 3.91 percent average during the same month a year earlier.