Florida’s Existing Home Sales Up in October 2008

24 11 2008

For the second month in a row, Florida’s existing home sales rose in October, with Florida Realtors® reporting a 15 percent increase in activity in the year-to-year comparison; last month’s sales of existing condos statewide increased 5 percent in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR).

A total of 10,443 existing homes sold statewide last month, up 15 percent over the 9,118 homes sold in October 2007, according to FAR. Florida Realtors also reported higher statewide existing home and existing condo sales in September compared to the year-ago levels.

Thirteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased existing-home sales in October; seven MSAs also showed gains in condo sales, marking the fourth consecutive month that a number of markets have noted higher sales activity.

Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $169,700; a year ago, it was $222,200 for a 24 percent decrease. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in September 2008 was $190,600, down 8.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In California, the statewide median resales price was $316,480 in September; in Massachusetts, it was $295,000; in Maryland, it was $271,520; and in New York, it was $215,000.

Market conditions continue to range widely, according to the latest housing outlook from NAR. “A pattern of sharply higher sales in areas with large price declines is well established,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Affordability conditions have consistently been a major factor in driving sales. Historically during recessions, buyers have responded to incentives and it’s important for government to keep that in the forefront of housing stimulus decisions.”

In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 2,956 units sold statewide compared to 2,805 sold in October 2007 for a 5 percent increase. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $147,600; in October 2007 it was $192,300 for a 23 percent decrease. In the latest data available at press time, NAR reported the national median existing condo price was $199,400 in September 2008.

Last month, interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.20 percent, down from the average rate of 6.38 percent in October 2007, according to Freddie Mac. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among the state’s large to medium-size markets, the Miami MSA reported a total of 453 homes sold in October compared to 367 homes a year ago for a 23 percent increase. The existing home median sales price was $246,800; a year ago, it was $354,800 for a 30 percent decrease. In the year-to-year comparison for the existing condo market, a total of 439 units sold in the MSA last month, up 1 percent compared to 436 condos sold the previous October. The market’s existing condo median price was $197,400; a year ago, it was $268,300 for a 26 percent decrease.

Source: Florida Association of Realtors

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