Fla.'s Housing Market Continues Positive Trends in Feb. 2013

ORLANDO, Fla., March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida's housing market reported more closed sales, rising median prices, increased pending sales, more new listings and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in February, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

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"Each month brings more positive signs for the state's housing market," said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. "For example, February is the 14th month in a row that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo units increased year-over-year, according to Florida Realtors' data.

"Properties are selling more quickly statewide, especially at certain price points – the median days a home is on the market dropped about 15 percent for single-family homes and 10 percent for townhouse-condo units in February. Plus, sellers are receiving more than 92 percent of their original listing price in both the single-family home and townhouse-condo markets."

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 15,666 in February, up 10.3 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. 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 26.7 percent over the previous February. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $150,000, up 12.8 percent from the previous year.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in January 2013 was $174,100, up 12.6 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in January was $337,040; in Massachusetts, it was $282,500; in Maryland, it was $223,469; and in New York, it was $220,000.

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 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 townhouse-condos, a total of 8,028 units sold statewide last month, up 7 percent compared to February 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos in February increased 14.3 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhouse-condo properties was $115,000, up 21.1 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in January 2013 was $169,600.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.5-months' supply in February; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 6.1-months' supply, according to Florida Realtors.

"Several things are particularly striking about the February data," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. "First, we note the continuing growth of cash sales, which are now half of existing single-family closed sales statewide and more than three-quarters of townhouse-condo closed sales. Second, we're seeing more new listings and that trend is turning positive. This is the first sign that low inventories are convincing sellers to come to the market."

"Third, and related to the last point, the lowest price tiers (for home listings) are just about wiped out and are moving in a direction counter to the state trend," Tuccillo noted. "The biggest movements in listings as well as the other metrics are in the $300,000-$500,000 price tier."

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.53 percent in February 2013, down from the 3.89 percent average during the same month a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center at http://media.floridarealtors.org/ and look under Latest Releases, or download the February 2013 data report PDFs under Market Data at: http://media.floridarealtors.org/market-data

Florida Realtors®, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors®, serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 118,000 members in 63 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

SOURCE Florida Realtors



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