First Coast Homes Leading Recovery?

16 08 2008

Home prices are rebounding. According to figures released Thursday by the Florida Association of Realtors, the median price of existing Jacksonville-area homes rose for sales between April and June. That’s good news.

The median sales price of single-family homes sold by Realtors was $191,700, which was 3.5 percent higher than the $185,300 posted for the first three months of the year. The report is one of many used by analysts to track the state of the housing market and forecast whether falling home prices have bottomed out.

“Across the state, we’re seeing positive signs,” Florida Association of Realtors President Chuck Bonfiglio said. He said prices “appear to be reaching equilibrium in many areas.”

Wayne Archer, director of the University of Florida’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies, said spring 2009 could see an upward trend in the state’s real estate market.

“I would expect that Jacksonville might quietly lead the recovery,” he said. “Jacksonville did not have the same price run-up that South and Central Florida did and as a result did not get caught up in the hysteria.”

The median is the price at which half the home sold for more, and half for less. Compared to the second quarter of 2007, the median price was down by 8 percent, and Realtors handled 24 percent fewer sales.

Ray Rodriguez, owner of Real Estate Strategy Center of Northeast Florida, said his own tracking of single-family home sale prices also showed improvement for the second quarter. He said the impact of more foreclosed homes being sold could weigh down prices in the future, but prices appear to have stabilized.

“Going forward, maybe a moderate recovery, but not a drastic downturn,” he said.

Statewide, the median sales price for existing single-family homes was $203,000 compared with $202,300 in the first quarter of the year. Compared to the second quarter of 2007, the sale price was 16 percent less.

Source: The Florida Times-Union

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