Disruptions in the mortgage market and tightening credit continued to impact Florida’s housing sector in the fourth quarter.
Statewide, sales of existing single-family homes totaled 9,165 last month, while 12,846 homes sold in October 2006 for a decrease of 29 percent in the year-to-year comparison, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.
While the latest market outlook from the National Association of Realtors expects conditions for the mortgage industry to improve in the coming months, it predicts that the impact of the credit crunch will continue to be felt through the end of this year, leaving home sales fairly flat. Keeping the current housing market in perspective, 2007 will be the fifth highest year on record for existing-home sales, according to NAR Senior Economist Lawrence Yun.
“It appears raw inventories are stabilizing, but the housing supply is a bit inflated now because the sales pace does not reflect underlying market conditions. Sales were dampened by the mortgage cancellations,” Yun said.
Florida’s median sales price for existing single-family homes last month was $222,100; a year ago, it was $242,700 for an 8 percent decrease. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. In October 2002, the statewide median sales price for single-family homes was $140,900, for an increase of 57.6 percent over the five-year-period, according to FAR records.
The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in September 2007 was $210,200, down 4.9 percent from a year ago. In California, the statewide median resales price was $530,830 in September; in Massachusetts, it was $340,000; in Maryland, it was $295,121; and in New York, it was $213,600.
Sales of existing condominiums in Florida also decreased last month, with a total of 2,819 condos sold statewide compared to 3,508 in October 2006 for a 20 percent decline, according to FAR. The statewide median sales price for condos last month was $192,400, down 8 percent from October’s 2006’s condo median price of $209,500. NAR reported the national median existing-condo price was $221,700 in September 200.
Last month, interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.38 percent, according to Freddie Mac, which is just slightly higher than the average rate of 6.36 percent in October 2006. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
Source: The Florida Times-Union