Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Florida’s housing sales activity higher as 2011 ends. Cape Coral Fort Myers Florida Real Estate news.

At the close of 2011, Florida’s existing home and condominium markets reported higher sales compared to the previous year, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. It was the third consecutive year for statewide home and condo sales activity to end the year on a positive upswing – higher year-over-year sales also were reported at the close of 2010 and 2009, records show.

Looking back on 2011, Florida’s existing home sales rose 8 percent for the year, with a total of 185,921 homes sold compared to 172,462 homes sold in 2010. The statewide existing home median price for 2011 was $131,700; it was $135,900 in 2010 for a 3 percent decrease. In Florida’s condo market, a total of 87,581 units sold statewide in 2011, a gain of 15 percent compared to 76,209 units sold in 2010. The statewide existing condo median price in 2011 was $88,300; it was $90,000 in 2010 for a 2 percent decrease.

Sixteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported higher existing home sales at the close of 2011 compared to 2010; the same number of MSAs also reported higher existing condos sales.

“Florida’s economy is continuing to strengthen, which is good news,” said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “Many people are hoping to take advantage of the current record low mortgage rates and affordable conditions to find their Florida dream home – but overly restrictive lending requirements continue to create barriers to homeownership for qualified homebuyers. To re-energize the housing market and the economic recovery, we need improved access to affordable financing options for qualified buyers and investors.”

In December, a total of 15,290 existing single-family homes sold statewide, a decrease of 2 percent from the 15,546 homes sold in December 2010. The statewide existing home median sales price last month was $134,300, up 1 percent from the $133,000 reported in December 2010, according to Florida Realtors’ data. The national median existing single-family home price was $165,100 in December, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

In the year-to-year comparison for statewide existing condo sales, a total of 6,836 units changed hands last month, compared to 6,985 condos sold in December 2010 for a decrease of 2 percent. The statewide existing condo median sales price in December was $91,900, up 4 percent from the $88,400 reported a year earlier. The national median existing condo price was $160,000 in December, according to NAR.

“Although sales were down slightly in December, they’re up strongly for the year, which reinforces the reality that Florida is in a slow real estate recovery,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Our expectation is that recovery will continue through 2012. The major obstacle in the market is the inadequate accessibility to financing. Prices are moderating, but we don’t expect too much movement owing to the continuing significance of distressed properties.”

In December, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.96 percent, down from the 4.71 percent average during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac. The annual average rate for a 30-year mortgage in 2011 was 4.45 percent. Florida Realtors’ sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

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