Florida housing market continues upswing in November

20 12 2012

Closed sales, pending sales, median prices and average prices rose in Florida’s housing market in November, while the inventory of homes and condos for sale shrunk, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“The sizzle is back,” said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, describing the state of Florida’s real estate market. “With home sales strongly trending up and the supply of homes for sale drying up, the market is hot. And we expect these trends to continue into 2013 with the jobs market improving, low mortgage rates continuing and consumer confidence getting stronger.” Greene is regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale.

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 17,072 in November, up 24.4 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes last month rose 45.8 percent over the previous November. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in November was $150,000, up 11.2 percent from a year ago.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in October 2012 was $178,700, up 10.9 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in October was $341,370; in Massachusetts, it was $287,000; in Maryland, it was $239,802; and in New York, it was $209,000.

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhome-condos, a total of 8,079 units sold statewide last month, up 18.3 percent compared to November 2011. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhome-condos in November increased 30 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $112,000, up 23.1 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in October 2012 was $177,500.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.1-months’ supply in November; inventory for townhome-condo properties was at a 5.3 months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors. Industry analysts note that a 5.5-months’ supply symbolically represents a market balanced between buyers and sellers.

“Particularly striking in this market is the degree to which prices have risen,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “This might be expected to be the case for median prices as investors absorb the inventory at the lower end of the market, but average prices are up dramatically as well – and that suggests we’re seeing real appreciation occur in the marketplace, another sign of how solid Florida’s real estate recovery has become.”

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.35 percent in November 2012, down from the 3.99 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.

To see the full statewide housing activity report, go to Florida Realtors website and click on the Research page; then look under Latest Housing Data, Statewide Residential Activity and get the November report. Or go to Florida Realtors Media Center (http://media.floridarealtors.org/ and download the November 2012 data report PDF under Market Data.

Source: Florida Realtors

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Florida housing market growing stronger

12 12 2012

Florida’s residential real estate market will continue its upward trend into 2013, though the pace of recovery may be slower than the U.S. as a whole, according to leading U.S. economists speaking today at Florida Realtors® 2013 Real Estate and Economic Forecast Conference in Orlando.

“Florida’s housing market is back, with great possibilities for the future – but those possibilities are only beginning to be realized,” said Dr. John Tuccillo, chief economist for Florida Realtors.

Along with Tuccillo, conference speakers included Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist for Fannie Mae; Leslie Appleton-Young, vice president and chief economist for the California Association of Realtors (CAR); and Pat Reass, a state-certified residential real estate appraiser at Appraisal Group MidFlorida LLC in Winter Haven.

Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said, “We believe the housing market is on firm footing. Most of the improvement we’ve seen has come from the supply side of housing. Distressed properties are coming down from about 5 million to more like 3 million.”

Mortgage rates should remain low and not change much in 2013, he added, while banks likely will continue to maintain high lending standards and a tight credit environment.

“The trend has been established for the housing recovery, but robust growth awaits more jobs and a stronger economy,” Duncan said. “Three years into the recovery, the current economic expansion is the weakest since World War II. Just over half of the jobs lost in the Great Recession have been recovered.”

The real estate market “bottomed out in late 2008,” Tuccillo said, according to Florida Realtors’ market data, data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and other market research sources.

“Since the beginning of 2009, we’ve clearly seen a regrouping and a recovery underway,” he said.

Median sales prices are consistently rising for both existing single-family homes and condo-townhome units across Florida. However, he noted the state’s active distressed property (foreclosures and short sales) market is putting pressure on prices, resulting in smaller gains and a slower rate than what is being seen in California and the U.S. as a whole.

Other signs of Florida’s steadily improving residential market, according to Tuccillo:

• Months’ supply of single-family homes is below 6 months
• Latest data (October 2012) shows 44 percent of closed sales were paid in cash, signifying strong demand from investors
• Foreign buyers make up 19 percent of closed sales in Florida (October 2012)
• Traditional (non-distressed) sales now make up over 50 percent of Florida’s closed sales
• Closed sales include fewer REOs (real estate-owned) and more short sales
• Shadow inventory has been declining since 2009, though it remains a key factor in the state’s housing market going forward since Florida is a judicial foreclosure state (meaning foreclosures go through a court process)

Comparing Florida’s residential market to California’s and to the U.S. as a whole, CAR Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young agreed that the nationwide housing market is back.

“The latest NAR data shows very strong closed sales and rising prices,” she said. “Low inventory is currently a challenge for the nation, for California and also for Florida in many areas. There’s just not enough property for sale, particularly with investors buying properties for cash (29 percent of the market in California; 25 percent of the U.S. market). For California, we’re calling 2012 the return of the traditional seller to the marketplace – in October 2012, 63.4 percent of our total sales were from equity or traditional sales.”

In California, the current months’ supply of existing single-family homes is 3.1 months, Appleton-Young noted. While the state is still dealing with lender issues such as tight credit, problems are being resolved at a faster pace, she said, and home prices are rising as a result.

Looking ahead to 2013, Appleton-Young said, “There is a tremendous amount of pent-up demand for housing. The number of new units is improving, but it’s still low and isn’t enough to meet pent-up demand. The housing recovery is gaining strength, but the long-term viability of the market and its recovery depends on jobs.”

Where will Florida be in 2013? Assuming that the national fiscal problems are not resolved but are “postponed,” Tuccillo said he expects employment in the state to grow by 10 percent in 2013; residential sales to increase by 10 percent; prices (same sales index) to rise by 5 percent; commercial activity to revive; and inventory to grow as the market improves.

“I think the improvement in the market and rising prices will bring more potential sellers back into the market,” he said. “Signs point to a better year in 2013.”

Source: Florida Realtors





Home prices rise in October by most in 6 years

5 12 2012

A measure of U.S. home prices rose 6.3 percent in October compared with a year ago, the largest yearly gain since July 2006. The jump adds to signs of a comeback in the once-battered housing market.

CoreLogic also said Tuesday that prices declined 0.2 percent in October from September, the second drop after six straight monthly increases. The monthly figures are not seasonally adjusted. The real estate data provider says the decline reflects the end of the summer homebuying season.

Steady price increases are helping fuel a housing recovery. They encourage more homeowners to sell their homes. And they entice would-be buyers to purchase homes before prices rise further.

Home values are rising in more states and cities, according to the report. Prices increased in 45 states in October, up from 43 the previous month. The biggest increases were in Arizona, where prices rose 21.3 percent, and in Hawaii, where they were up 13.2 percent.

The five states where prices declined were: Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Alabama.

In 100 large metro areas, only 17 reported price declines. That’s an improvement from September, when 21 reported declines.

Mortgage rates are near record lows, while rents in many cities are rising. That makes homebuying more affordable, pushing up demand.

And more people are looking to buy or rent a home after living with relatives or friends during and immediately after the Great Recession.

At the same time, the number of available homes is at the lowest level in 10 years, according to the National Association of Realtors. The combination of low inventory and rising demand pushes up prices.

Last week, an index measuring the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes in October jumped to the highest level in almost six years. That suggests sales of previously occupied homes will rise in the coming months.

Builders, meanwhile, are more optimistic that the recovery will endure. A measure of their confidence rose to the highest level in six and a half years last month. And builders broke ground on new homes and apartments at the fastest pace in more than four years in October.

Source:  The Associated Press








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