Friday, June 21, 2013

Florida Home Sales See Double Digit Increase

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

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 22,375 in May, up 18.7% 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.

Brevard County's closed sales of existing single-family homes were up 22.2% from a year ago, and the median price of those sold rose 12.6% to $130,000.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhouse-condos, a total of 11,201 units sold statewide last month, up 11.5 percent compared to May 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos last month increased 18.3 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhouse-condo properties was $128,000, up 13 percent over the previous year. 

On Florida's Space Coast, sales of townhouse-condos were up 16% year-over-year, but the median price fell 5.4% to $105,000.

“The numbers continue to move in the right direction,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “We remain concerned about the rise in the percentage of sales accounted for by all cash buyers. These numbers understate the true condition of the market in that a great many sales are conducted directly with the financial institution holding the property, and thus do not appear in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

“But those crying doom-and-gloom who read this growth in investor activity as the sign of a new bubble are far off-base and simply don't understand the texture of the current market,” Tuccillo added.

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.

Florida kept the title as the #1 foreclosure state in the U.S., according to RealtyTrac's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for March and the first quarter of 2013.  Florida's Space Coast, which often led the state in foreclosures last year, dropped far below the Florida average with 1 in 351. 

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.54 percent in May 2013, down from the 3.80 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.