BY THE OBSERVER STAFF
More closed sales, higher median prices, increased pending sales and the continued stabilization of the homes-for-sale inventory resulted into a sunny outlook for Florida’s housing market in September, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors.
“Throughout the year, we’ve seen Florida’s housing market strengthen, and that positive momentum continued in September,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher. “Home values are rising, and many homeowners across the state are seeing improving home equity. Those trends are helping to ease tight inventory levels in many areas as people who had been waiting on the sidelines decided to list their homes for sale."
September marked the 22nd straight month that statewide median sales prices rose, for both single-family homes and condos.
The local real estate market is looking up also. According to the Daytona Beach Area Association of Realtors, covering Ormond Beach to New Smyrna Beach, statistics showed increases from September 2012 to 2014. Listings went from 902 to 1,061, sales went from 422 to 518 and average prices went from $171,389 to $177,425.
John Adams, general manager of Adams Cameron Realty Co. Realtors, said he is not surprised by the growth.
“We’ve been watching this for the past couple of years,” he said “Homes have been selling and that has led to higher prices.”
He said inexpensive homes have largely disappeared from the market, which is driving up the price of higher-priced houses.
“When you have more demand and fewer houses, what happens?” he said.
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 18,490 in September, up 18.8% compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after contracts are written.
Meanwhile, pending sales for existing single-family homes last month rose 10.5% over the previous September. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $170,000, up 17.2% from the previous year.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in August 2013 was $212,200, up 14.4% from the previous year.
Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhouse-condos, a total of 8,279 units sold statewide last month, up 11.4% from September 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos last month increased 4.6% compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median price for these properties was $130,000, up 23.5% over the previous year.
The national median existing condo price in August was $211,700.
“Not too long ago, the focus was on the strength and longevity of Florida’s housing market recovery, but we’ve moved into a slightly different stage of growth,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo.“More sellers are coming into the market ... new listings are up ... and investor demand appears to be cooling off a bit, as shown by the fact that cash sales as a percentage of all sales are falling.”
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.49% in September, up from the 3.47% average recorded a year ago.
Visit media.floridarealtors.org for the full report.