ending sales, closed sales and median prices rose, while the inventory of homes and condos for sale dropped in Florida’s housing market in July, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.
“Florida’s real estate recovery is on solid ground,” said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “Since May 2011, pending sales have increased every month for both existing single-family homes and for townhome-condo properties. In July, pending sales were up more than 42 percent for existing single-family homes and 26 percent for townhouse-condo units, compared to a year ago. Home prices are on the rise in many markets, while the inventory of homes for sale is down. Florida’s housing market is growing stronger and stronger.”
Pending sales refer to contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed; closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 17,420 in July, up 9.8 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. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $148,000, up 7.8 percent from July 2011.
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in June 2012 was $190,100, up 8 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in June was $320,540; in Massachusetts, it was $325,000; in Maryland, it was $268,910; and in New York, it was $220,000.
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 7,779 units sold statewide last month, up 2.8 percent from those sold in July 2011. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $102,000, up 10.9 percent over the previous year. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in June 2012 was $183,200.
Last month, the inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.3-months’ supply; inventory for townhome-condo properties was at a 5.4-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors. Industry analysts note that 5.5-months’ supply symbolizes a market balanced between buyers and sellers.
“We really need to recognize that over the past year, we have seen a market reversal, from a clear buyers’ market to a neutral market to one that is verging on a sellers’ market,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “This is a precursor to price growth. Our MLS (Multiple Listing Service) numbers confirm this in that both median and average prices have been trending up. Florida Realtors’ soon-to-be-launched price index, based on all sales, is showing the same sort of behavior in that price drops ended in 2009 and are now showing signs of moving up.”
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.55 percent in July 2012 – significantly lower than the 4.55 percent average during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.