ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 19, 2012 – Florida’s housing market had more closed sales, more pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in August, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.
“Florida’s housing marketing continues its momentum,” said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “Buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines should see this as a sign to jump in before the market escapes them again. Sellers who have been hesitant to sell should put their homes on the market now. Chances are they will entertain multiple offers and be able to take advantage of historically low interest rates to buy their next home. Now our biggest challenge will be appraisals keeping up with the pace of this market.”
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 18,669 in August, up 10.8 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed by not yet completed or closed – of existing single-family homes last month rose 40.2 percent over the previous August. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in August was $147,000, up 5.8 percent from a year ago.
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in July 2012 was $188,100, up 9.6 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in July was $333,860; in Massachusetts, it was $325,000; in Maryland, it was $261,772; and in New York, it was $233,000.
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.
Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhomes/condos, a total of 8,767 units sold statewide last month, up 5.7 percent from those sold in August 2011. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $102,980, up 13.2 percent over the previous year. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in July 2012 was $180,700.
Last month, the inventory for single-family homes in August stood at a 5.3-months’ supply; inventory for townhome-condo properties was also at a 5.3-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors. Industry analysts note that a 5.5-months’ supply represents a market balanced between buyers and sellers.
“Florida’s housing market is still reviving,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Everything that should be going up is going up, and everything that should be going down is going down. After the six years of turmoil that we had, it’s good to see the trends strongly moving in the right direction. We’re hurting for inventory, but it’s possible that the improving conditions will lure more sellers into the market and mitigate the housing inventory crunch.”
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.60 percent in August 2012, lower than the 4.27 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.
Editor’s Note: Florida Realtors 2012 housing market data releases mark a new statewide data reporting partnership between Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and new vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Housing sales data from the state’s local Realtor organizations is collected and organized with the goal of providing unique, localized market reports to the local Realtor boards and associations within Florida Realtors, enabling the groups and their Realtor members to serve as the definitive voice of real estate in their respective local markets. At the same time, Florida Realtors is providing comprehensive statewide housing market statistics – but this new data series only refers to statewide data and does not include metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).