Marla Martin, Communications Manager, or Jeff Zipper, Vice President of Communications
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Editor’s Note: You may wish to use this information with today’s release from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Florida’s Existing Home Market in September 2006: Sales Down, Median Price Softens

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 25, 2006 -- Florida's housing sector continued to adjust to a more sustainable pace of sales in September with many markets reporting higher inventory levels of homes for sale; however, still-low mortgage rates also sparked buyer interest.

A total of 13,485 existing single-family homes sold statewide last month, a decrease of 34 percent from the 20,451 homes sold during the previous September, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR). Statewide, the existing-home median price slipped 1 percent to $243,900 last month; a year ago, it was $246,100, according to FAR.

In September 2001, the statewide median sales price was $134,000, representing an increase of about 82 percent 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.

Nationally, the median sales price for existing single-family homes was $225,700 in August, down 1.7 percent from a year ago., according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median resales price was $576,360 in August; in Massachusetts, it was $352,000; in Maryland, it was $317,738; and in New York, it was $271,350.

Real estate is cyclical in nature, housing industry analysts note, and current market conditions arrived after five years of record-level growth. The U.S. housing market is showing signs of life and sales may be leveling out, according to NAR's latest market outlook, which expects 2006 to be the third strongest sales year on record nationally. Sales activity should pick up early next year, given a positive economic backdrop of lower interest rates and job creation, says NAR Chief Economist David Lereah.

Looking to Florida's existing condominium market, sales of existing condos also decreased in September, with a total of 3,819 condos sold statewide compared to 6,930 in September 2005 for a 45 percent decrease, according to FAR. The statewide median sales price for condos last month was $201,900; a year ago, it was $215,500 for a 6 percent decrease. The national median existing condo price in August 2006 was $223,200.

According to Freddie Mac, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.40 percent last month, up from 5.77 percent in September 2005. 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 Miami metropolitan statistical area (MSA) reported 769 existing homes sold last month compared to 872 homes sold a year ago for a 12 percent decline. The market’s median existing home price remained flat at $371,700; a year ago, it was $371,200. A total of 666 existing condos changed hands in Miami in September for a 40 percent decrease over the 1,106 condos sold the previous year. The market's median existing condo price was $270,800; a year ago, it was $269,200 for a 1 percent increase.

"Prices are slowly trending down," says Pat Dahne, chairman of the Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches and broker-owner of Pat Dahne Realty Group. "As real estate professionals, we need to remind people that real estate is a long-term investment. Miami has many positive economic factors that continue to attract buyers -- for example, job growth from international business, continued interest from foreign investors and continued growth in our immigrant population."

Of the state’s smaller markets, the Pensacola MSA reported a total of 466 existing homes sold in September compared to 564 homes sold a year earlier for a 17 percent decline. The area’s median existing home sales price rose 3 percent to $167,900; a year ago, it was $163,400. Thirty-seven existing condos sold in the MSA last month for a 35 percent decrease from the 57 condos sold a year ago. The market's median existing condo price was $212,500; a year ago, it was $185,000 for an increase of 15 percent.

"Our white-sand beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world and this area is just a great place to live," says Auby Smith, president of the Pensacola Association of Realtors and broker with Real Estate Counselors Inc. "Interest rates are still good, so there are many attractive financing plans available for buyers. Plus, many builders are offering great incentives, as are sellers of existing homes, which are drawing buyers to the market. Our prices remain attractive and that's making a difference."

Charts showing statistics for Florida and its 20 MSAs are attached. One chart compares the volume of existing, single-family home sales and median sales prices in September 2006 to September 2005, based on Realtor transactions within the MSAs. The other chart compares the volume of existing condo sales and median sales prices in September 2006 to September 2005, based on Realtor transactions within the MSAs.

Single-Family  pdf   html

Condominium  pdf   html

The Florida Association of Realtors (FAR), the voice for real estate in Florida, provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its nearly 155,000 members in 68 boards/associations.


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Florida's largest professional trade association