Monday, July 27, 2009

Florida home, condo sales rise for 10th consecutive month

South Florida Business Journal - by Susan R. Miller

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Sales of existing homes continued creeping up statewide and in South Florida, according to data from the Florida Association of Realtors.

Even better news, the statewide median sales price for existing homes was higher than the previous month’s, though prices remain depressed when compared to last year.
Distressed sales make up the lion’s share of the purchases across the state, real estate analyst Jack McCabe said. And, he noted that the clerk of courts offices across the state are swamped with foreclosures they have not been able to process. Add that to the large number of REOs that banks are holding, and McCabe expects the pipeline of inventory will remain blocked well into next year.

“In my mind, we are still going to see pricing pressures until about this time next year,” he said.” That’s when I think we will get through this big wave of foreclosures.”
Miami led the pack in the tri-county area, with sales of existing homes up 54 percent in June, to 680 from 442 a year ago. Median home sale prices rose to $211,400 in June, up from 194,700 in May. However, June prices were down 28 percent from $293,200 in the year-ago period.
Fort Lauderdale existing home sales rose 35 percent, to 862 last month from 639 in June 2008. Median home prices rose to $204,800 from May’s median price of $190,000. But, prices were down 33 percent from a year ago, when the median sales price was $305,400.
West Palm Beach realized a 15 percent gain in sales, to 859 from 744 a year ago. The median price of a home rose to $250,300 in June from $232,900 in May, but fell 25 percent from last June’s median sales price of $334,300.
Existing condos also are selling, with Fort Lauderdale leading the way. Sales rose 58 percent, to 933 in June from 591 a year ago. The median price plummeted 46 percent, to $83,900 in June from $156,200 in the year-ago period. However, prices were up from May’s median of price of $80,400.

Existing condo sales in West Palm Beach rose 29 percent, to 746 from 577. The median price slid 24 percent, to $116,400 from $153,2000, but was up from May’s median price of $107,500.
Miami’s existing condo sales rose 19 percent, to 645 from 542. The median price of a condo in Miami rose to $141,000 in June from $140,400 in May, but fell by 49 percent from a year ago, when the median price was $275,600.

Statewide, existing home sales rose 28 percent last month, with a total of 15,850 homes sold statewide, compared with 12,339 homes sold in June 2008, according to FAR.
Condo sales statewide also rose 39 percent in June, to 5,241 from 3,771. Existing condo sales last month rose 8.3 percent over the total units sold in May.
Florida's median sales price for existing homes last month fell 28 percent, to $148,000 from $205,300.

However, the statewide existing home median price in June increased 2.49 percent over May's median price and was higher than the statewide median price reported each month since the start of 2009.

“Yes, we have seen an increase statewide in sales of 28 percent, but we have also seen a drop in the sales price by that amount,” McCabe noted.
He points out that the person who purchased a home a year ago, when the median home price was $205,500, is now about $57,000 in the hole.
Still, McCabe said, “we are starting to see glimmers of hope that six months ago weren’t visible.”
Nationwide, existing home sales rose 3.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.89 million units in June from a downwardly revised pace of 4.72 million in May, but was still 0.2 percent lower than in June 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The national median existing home price was $181,800 in June, down 15.4 percent from a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors latest housing industry outlook notes the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers is boosting the sector. "Strong activity by entry level buyers is helping to absorb inventory and allow some existing owners to make a trade," NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a news release. But, he added, “the increase in sales is less than expected because poor appraisals are stalling transactions. The big question is how much the appraisal issue will impact the ability of contracts to go to closing."

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