“Growing optimism about the economy, gains in the state’s jobs market and continued low mortgage rates are generating interest in Florida real estate,” says 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “Increased statewide pending sales for both single family existing homes, up 36.1 percent, and for townhouse-condo properties, up 19.8 percent, show that buyers are encouraged by these positive signs.”
Pending sales refer to contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed; closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in February was $134,000, up 7.2 percent from the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $95,000, up 15.9 percent over Feb. 2011.
The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in January 2012 was $154,400, which is 2.6 percent below the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in January was $268,280; in Massachusetts, it was $265,000; and in Maryland, it was $219,500.
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.
Statewide sales of existing single-family homes totaled 14,270 in February 2012, down 4.8 percent compared to the year-ago figure. Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhomes/condos, a total of 7,545 units sold statewide last month, down 16 percent from those sold in February 2011. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in January 2012 was $156,600.
In February, the months supply of inventory stood at 6.2 for single-family homes and at 6.3 for the condos/townhomes, according to Florida Realtors.
“The overall picture that these statistics show is of a stabilizing housing market,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “While closed sales are down, so are listings and so is inventory. These are signs of a market that’s moving from being a buyer’s market to a balanced market.
“For the past year, median sales prices have been slowly rising; and over a longer period of time, prices have really flattened out – again, signs of an improving housing market.”
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.89 percent in February 2012, down from the 4.95 percent average during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.
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