Florida Home Sales Rise 24%

24 10 2008

Sales of both existing single-family homes and condominiums climbed in September as prices continued to fall. Last month saw a 24 percent increase in home sales over September a year ago. Condo sales increased 11 percent statewide, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

“This is a clear sign that the significant price declines that have occurred across the state are leading to a more rapid absorption of the housing inventory,” said Sean Snaith, an economist and director of the University of Central Florida Institute for Economic Competitiveness.

But he said that the increase is inflated by the fact that there was a sharp decline in sales in September 2007.

“That was the month following the initial wave of global fallout precipitated by the subprime mortgage meltdown that roiled markets in August 2007,” Snaith said.

Sales in the Jacksonville area were flat, with the 876 homes being sold in September two fewer than September 2007. The median sales price dropped 11 percent to $173,000. Sales of existing condos fell 4 percent and the median price of $150,000 was down 8 percent from a year ago.

While statewide condo sales were up, the median sales price of condos dropped 22 percent to $153,800.

Low home prices and low interest rates also are luring buyers back into the market nationwide.

Existing home sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops, increased 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.18 million units in September, up from 4.91 million in August and 1.4 percent higher than the 5.11 million-unit pace in September 2007, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The national median price for all existing housing types was $191,600 in September, down 9 percent from a year ago, when the median was $210,500.

“Credit tightened at the end of September, but the improvement demonstrates that buyers who’ve been on the sidelines want to get into the market to make a long-term investment in their future,” NAR President Richard F. Gaylord said.

Source: Florida Association of Realtors



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