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Florida Home Sales Up 3 Percent in April; Median Price Rises 26 Percent

ORLANDO, Fla., May 24, 2005 -- Different month, same story for sales of existing single-family homes in Florida in April: high demand, still-low mortgage rates and a short supply of homes available for sale, bringing the statewide median sales price to $218,600 -- a 26 percent increase over the April 2004 figure, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR). 

In 2000, the statewide median sales price was $115,900, which represents a dramatic 88.6 percent increase over the five-year-period, according to FAR records. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less. 

Last month, a total of 23,537 existing single-family homes changed hands statewide for a 3 percent increase over the 22,746 homes sold the previous April, according to FAR. 

Nationally, the median sales price for existing single-family homes was $193,600 in March, up 11.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median resales price was $495,400 in March; in New York, it was $278,050; in Maryland, it was $258,736; in North Carolina, the average resales price was $199,750; and in Illinois, the median price was $184,500. 

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in April averaged 5.86 percent, only slightly higher than the 5.83 percent averaged during the same month a year ago. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written. 

Among the state’s larger markets, the Fort Myers-Cape Coral metropolitan statistical area (MSA) showed higher sales last month, with a total of 1,266 homes changing hands for a 19 percent gain over the 1,064 homes sold in April 2004. The market’s median home price rose 43 percent to $262,900; a year ago, it was $184,100. 

Gary Atkinson, GRI, president of the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers & the Beach and a sales associate with RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers, cites still-low mortgage rates as a factor in the market's strong resales activity. 

“We're not strictly a retirement community anymore. Our sales are year-round,” he says. “We've got baby boomers still looking for retirement property. People are realizing that prices are heading up and they want to get into the market while they can. Inventory is becoming much more scarce. And if a home is priced where it should be, it's gone in a week.” 

Other larger Florida MSAs reporting strong resales activity last month compared to a year ago include: Tampa-Clearwater-St. Petersburg, where 5,105 homes sold for a 19 percent increase; and Jacksonville, where 1,553 homes changed hands for a 7 percent gain. The median sales price in those markets also rose over the same period: in Tampa-Clearwater-St. Petersburg, 23 percent to $183,000; and in Jacksonville, 13 percent to $174,100. 

Of the state’s smaller markets, the Lakeland-Winter Haven MSA reported a 13 percent boost in home sales in April, with a total of 592 homes changing hands compared to 524 homes sold last year. The area’s median sales price rose 25 percent to $126,600; a year ago, it was $101,000. 

Vera Tungate, president of the Lakeland Association of Realtors and a sales associate with Exit Realty of Lakeland, says the Lakeland area offers a range of housing options at attractive prices, which helps to drive demand. “We have multiple offers on the table,” she says. “We don’t have enough properties for the buyers we have, and it's helping to create a sellers' market. Our area is very attractive to a lot of buyers, they want to move into the Lakeland area, but we just don't have the inventory.” 

Other smaller MSAs reporting strong gains in home sales last month include: Gainesville where 386 homes sold for a 27 percent increase; and Ocala, where 594 homes sold, also for a 27 percent increase. The median sales price in those markets increased as well: in Ocala, 10 percent to $131,800; and in Gainesville, 5 percent to $168,100.

A chart showing statistics for Florida and its 20 MSAs is available by clicking here. The chart compares the volume of existing, single-family home sales and median sales prices in April 2005 to April 2004, based on Realtor transactions.  

The Florida Association of Realtors, the voice for real estate in Florida, provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its more than 125,000 members in 70 boards/associations.

© 2005 FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS

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Florida's largest professional trade association