The median price of a Florida home inched up 1 percent in April from a year ago as sales shot up 27 percent, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors yesterday.
The median price of $140,100 was 2.3 percent higher than the median price in March, marking the second straight month of price increases, raising the prospect that the real estate market may be finally starting to head the other direction in price after two years of declining values.
Sales of existing homes continued to climb out of the 2008 slump as the number of sales in most metropolitan areas was up for the 20th consecutive month when compared to year-ago rates, the statewide association reported. Florida’s sales boost eclipsed that of the national average for the month.
Both state and national Realty groups attributed the continued climb to stabilizing credit and the extension of federal homebuying efforts included in the recent economic stimulus package.
“Buyers responding to the federal homebuyer tax credit before it expired helped to boost home sales across Florida,” said 2010 Florida Realtors President Wendell Davis, a broker with Watson Realty Corp. in Jacksonville. “And buying conditions remain favorable, with a variety of housing options available in local markets at attractive and affordable prices. Plus, current mortgage interest rates are at historically low levels, which gives buyers more ‘bang’ for their buck.”
Florida Realtors also reported a 55 percent increase in statewide sales of existing condos in April compared to the previous year’s sales figure; statewide existing condo sales last month rose 2 percent over the total units sold in March. Though April’s statewide existing-condo median price of $103,600 was down 3 percent compared to the year-ago figure, it was 6.9 percent higher than March’s statewide existing-condo median price.
The median home price varied widely from the $140,100 median depending on location. Miami’s median value jumped 8 percent to $192,000. Orlando’s dipped 4 percent to $135,900 while Tallahassee prices fell 10 percent to $163,000.
The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in March 2010 was $170,700, up 0.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median resales price was $301,790 in March; in Massachusetts, it was $280,000; in Maryland, it was $235,785; and in New York, it was $209,900.
Nationally, April existing home sales increased 23 percent from April 2009. Sales climbed 7.6 percent from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million.
“The upswing in April existing-home sales was expected because of the tax credit inducement, and no doubt there will be some temporary fallback in the months immediately after it expires, but other factors also are supporting the market,” said Lawrence Yun NAR chief economist, in a statement.
“For people who were on the sidelines, there’s been a return of buyer confidence with stabilizing home prices, an improving economy and mortgage interest rates that remain historically low,” Yun said.
According to NAR’s latest outlook, two trends are influencing a broader stabilization of home prices in housing markets across the nation: months of increased sales activity and lower levels of inventory. “Foreclosures have been feeding into the inventory pipeline at a fairly steady pace and are being absorbed manageably,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “With home values stabilizing, a revival in homebuying confidence will likely help the housing market get back on its feet even as the tax credit impact disappears.”
Seventeen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased existing home sales in April while all but one MSA had higher condo sales. A majority of the state’s MSAs have reported increased sales for 22 consecutive months.
The Jacksonville area had the fourth highest number of existing single-family home sales in the state in April, as sales continued to rise 56 percent, according to Florida Realtors.
There were 1,270 home sales last month in Jacksonville, up from the 813 sales in April 2009. Tampa reported the highest number of sales at 2,962, followed by Orlando with 2,529 and Fort Myers with 1,473.
Median home prices continued to fall last month in Jacksonville 6 percent to $142,700. But a growing number of markets – Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Walton Beach, Miami, Panama City, Punta Gorda, Sarasota and West Palm Beach saw an increase in home prices.
Statewide home sales rose 27 percent to 16,781 and home prices rose 1 percent.
Jacksonville condo sales rose 173 percent to 240 while the median price fell another 45 percent to $64,400. Jacksonville now has the fourth lowest median condo price in the state.
Statewide condo sales rose 55 percent to 7,291 and median sales dropped 3 percent to $103,600.
Source: Florida Realtors