Fla.'s Housing Market on Upswing in March 2013

ORLANDO, Fla., April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In March, Florida's housing market reported increased closed sales, more pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

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"Florida's housing market continues to demonstrate its recovery – March marks the 15th consecutive month that the statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo properties rose year-over-year, according to Florida Realtors' data," said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. "The median price is up more than 15 percent for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condos.

"Meanwhile, buyer demand is increasing, but supply continues to be constrained in many areas. In March, the median days on market (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to sell that month) was 57 days for single-family homes and 61 days for townhouses and condos. That means 50 percent of homes on the market in Florida sell in two months or less."

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 19,631 in March, up 9 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 23.4 percent over the previous March. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $160,000, up 15.2 percent from the previous year.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in February 2013 was $173,800, up 11.3 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in February was $333,880; in Massachusetts, it was $278,000; in Maryland, it was $224,048; 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 9,957 units sold statewide last month, up 1.1 percent compared to March 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos last month increased 10.6 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhouse-condo properties was $120,000, up 15.9 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in February 2013 was $172,500.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.3-months' supply in March; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 5.8-months' supply, according to Florida Realtors.

"We continue to be encouraged by the depth and breadth of the housing recovery," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. "State numbers are up in virtually all important categories and down where they should be down. Even with the difficulty of access to financing for households, we still see the growth in the market continuing for at least the next 18 months.

"Inventory remains an issue, but this is fast becoming a sellers' market and as sellers realize this, we expect inventories to rise as we approach the last quarter of 2103. Over the long term, we need to correct the imbalance between investors and owner-occupier households that has developed because of financing issues if the market is to prosper for a long time."

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.57 percent in March 2013, down from the 3.95 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 March 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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