Jacksonville Homes Sales Rose 24% in March

21 04 2011

Residential real estate sales in Northeast Florida rose 27% from February to the highest level since June but dropped in March year-over-year, according to data from local and state Realtor associations.

At 1,294, sales of existing single-family homes in the Jacksonville metropolitan area fell by less than 1 percent in March from the previous March, but rose 27 percent from February, according to the data released Wednesday by the Florida Association of Realtors. Condominium sales rose to 241 in March from 201 the previous March and from 234 the month before. FAR figures for metro Jacksonville include sales in Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties.

Statewide, both home and condo sales rose in March, FAR reported. Single-family home sales rose by 12 percent to 18,522 from 16,540 in March 2010. Condominium sales in March improved by 24 percent from March 2010, the data showed. The majority of Florida metropolitan areas reported higher sales of homes and condominiums in March as compared to March 2010, FAR reported.

“A variety of housing opportunities is available at attractive prices across the state, while mortgage interest rates remain historically low,” said 2011 Florida Realtors President Patricia Fitzgerald.

Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month dropped 7 percent from $136,000 in March 2010 to $126,300, FAR reported.

The National Association of Realtors reported that an improving overall economy will continue to lift real estate markets nationwide.

“Housing affordability conditions have been at record levels and the economy has been improving, but home sales are being constrained by unnecessarily tight credit,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said.

According to the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors, which covers Clay, Duval, Putnam and parts of Nassau and St. Johns counties, combined single-family and condominium sales showed a sharper drop than FAR data portrayed, falling by 7 percent in metropolitan Jacksonville in March as compared to March the year before.

NEFAR data differs from FAR data because NEFAR data lacks sales information from segments of Nassau and St. Johns counties.

NEFAR reported that at 1,438 sales of homes and condominiums, March closings rose by 24 percent from February to the highest level since June.

NEFAR noted that of the month’s total sales, 826, or 57 percent, were “distressed” sales, including sales of bank-owned properties. Pending sales of properties rose by 3.9 percent in March as compared to the previous March, improving to 1,909. That also marked a 25 percent increase from 1,525 pending sales in February, NEFAR reported.

NEFAR noted that the dominance of distressed sales kept the region’s median sales price low in March, at $122,500, a 10.9 percent drop from the March, 2010 median sales price of $137,500. The median sales prices of traditional sales rose by 8.7 percent year-over-year to $174,000, but the year-over-year change in the lender-mediated median sales price was a 13.2 percent decrease.

There was good news in the fact that the metropolitan area’s inventory dropped nearly 27 percent to nine months of on-hand supply, NEFAR reported. Five to six months of inventory supply is considered a balanced level for a market.

NEFAR data, along with data from other associations in Nassau and St. Johns counties, is compiled into the FAR data.

Source: NEFAR and Jacksonville Business Journal

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