Fla.’s housing market continued upswing in Aug. 2013


ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 19, 2013 – Florida’s housing market continued its positive trend in August with increased closed sales, higher median prices, more pending sales and a stable supply of homes for sale, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.
“Both sales and prices demonstrate that Florida’s housing market is growing and continuing to gain strength,” says 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “The growth in jobs and other positive signs are putting buyers at ease with how the economy is progressing. At the same time, prices are encouraging sellers to get off the fence and helping to ease inventory pressures.
“August is the 20th month in a row that we’ve seen the statewide single-family home median sales price increase year-over-year.”
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 20,933 in August, up 12.5 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 signed but not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes rose 17.2 percent over the previous August. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $175,000, up 18.6 percent from the previous year.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in July 2013 was $214,000, up 13.5 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in July was $433,760; in Massachusetts, it was $350,000; in Maryland, it was $286,758; and in New York, it was $241,947.
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 townhouse-condos, a total of 9,491 units sold statewide last month, up 6.3 percent from August 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos last month increased 11.6 percent year-to-year. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties was $130,000, up 25.2 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in July 2013 was $209,600.
The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.1-months’ supply in August; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 5.2-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors.
“The most striking feature of this month’s data relates to new listings and inventory,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Each month in 2013 has seen a rise year-over-year in new listings for both single family homes and townhouses and condos, with the exception of March for condo/townhomes. Balancing out the growth in closed sales, the increase in new listings has contributed to steady inventory. Single-family-home inventory is now at 5.1 months for August 2013, after holding steady at a 5-months supply in May through July. Condo/townhome inventory remains at a 5.2 months supply for the third month in a row.
“Combined with a relative decline in cash sales, this suggests that the pressure on inventories that has plagued the Florida market may be easing.”
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.46 percent in August 2013, up from the 3.60 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.
To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center under Latest Releases, or download the August 2013 data report PDFs under Market Data on Florida Realtors’ website.

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

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SINGLE FAMILY HOME MEDIAN CLOSED PRICE RISES IN ALL ZIP CODES


Naples, FL (November 16, 2012) – The single family home median closed price rose 10 percent overall with increases in all zip codes for the 12-months ending October 2012. In addition, the condominium median closed price increased 4 percent in all zip codes for the same time period, according to a report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island).   

Brenda Fioretti, Managing Broker at Prudential Florida Realty stated, “The overall Median Closed price of $197,000 is the highest we have seen since July 2009 and in combination with our low inventory, has continued a trend in the Naples area with the move away from a ‘buyers’ market to a solid ‘buyers and sellers’ market.” 

Kathy Zorn, Broker/Owner of Florida Home Realty added, “We continue to see the overall median price trend upward slowly and steadily.” 

The NABOR® October report provides annual comparisons of single-family home and condominium sales (via the SunshineMLS), price ranges, and geographic segmentation and includes an Overall Market summary.   

The NABOR® October sales statistics are presented in chart format, with these overall (single-family and condominium units) specifics:    

- The overall median closed price increased 11 percent from $177,000 at the end of October 2011 to $197,000 for the 12-month period ending October 2012. 

- Overall pending sales increased 21 percent in the $500,000 to $1 million category, from 947 units to 1,149 units, for the 12-month period ending October 2012. Overall pending sales increased 17 percent in the $1 million to $2 million category, from 418 units to 490 units, for the 12-month period ending October 2012. 

- Overall inventory decreased by 13 percent, from 7,325 listed properties in October 2011 to 6,409 in October 2012. Pending sales with contingent contracts are included in the overall inventory number.  

- The average DOM (Days on the Market) fell in all price segments except in the $0 – $300,000 price zone, resulting in a one percent increase from 169 days on the market in October 2011 to 170 days on the market in October 2012. 

- Overall pending sales in the Naples coastal area increased 14 percent from 1,783 units to 2,037 units, and closed sales increased 10 percent, from 1,615 units to 1,776 units, for the 12-month period ending October 2012. 

The result of the inventory decline from 12,157 in February 2007 to 6,409 in October 2012 is that buyers, in many cases, are desperate for inventory,” said Jo Carter, President of Jo Carter & Associates. Plus, homes are selling more quickly, as shown by the average Days on the Market decreasing in every price category above the $300,000 range. Therefore pricing remains crucial.”

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Fla.’s housing market gained strength, momentum in 2012


ORLANDO, Fla., – Feb. 11, 2013 – Florida’s housing market wrapped up 2012 with more closed sales, higher pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale compared to the year before, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“Throughout 2012, we’ve seen increasingly strong signs that the state’s housing market is in solid recovery,” says 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “These positive fundamentals in the housing sector continue to attract potential homeowners and investors; however, they’re facing a limited inventory of available for-sale homes in many areas. Florida’s economy is growing, more jobs are being created and mortgage interest rates probably will stay favorably low for some time – which will help drive the housing market forward in 2013.”

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 204,414 in 2012, up 8.5 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.  In the fourth quarter, closed sales of single-family existing homes totaled 52,624, up 21.2 percent from 4Q 2011. 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 rose 17.6 percent in 2012 compared to 2011’s figure. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 2012 was $145,000, up 9 percent from the previous year. Looking at 4Q 2012, the statewide single-family existing-home median price was $150,000, up 11.1 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the preliminary national median sales price for existing single-family homes for all of 2012 was $176,600, up 6.3 percent from 2011 – and the strongest annual price gain since 2005. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes for 2012 was a preliminary $319,340; in Massachusetts, it was $298,000; in New York, it was $215,000; and in Illinois, it was $139,000.

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 101,876 units sold statewide in 2012, up 2 percent from 2011. Pending sales for townhouse-condos for the year increased 6.2 percent compared to 2011. The statewide median for townhouse-condo properties in 2012 was $106,000, up 17.8 percent over the previous year.

For 4Q 2012, closed sales of townhouse-condos totaled 24,743, up 14.3 percent from 4Q 2011; pending sales of townhome-condos rose 21.6 percent over the same quarter a year ago. The statewide median for townhome-condos in 4Q 2012 was $111,900, up 24.3 percent from 4Q 2011.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.5-months’ supply for 4Q 2012; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 6-months’ supply for the same period, according to Florida Realtors.

Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo said, “To an extent, we have seen these numbers before in monthly reports, but it’s often good to step back and look at the statistics from a more aggregated level. They clearly show the robustness of Florida’s housing recovery in sales and the beginnings of what we see as a sustained growth in prices. Of particular interest is the growth in cash sales. This is indicative of the growing interest of investors and foreign buyers in Florida real estate, but also points to the difficulties presented by the current financing climate that households wishing to buy face.”

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.66 percent for 2012, down from the previous year’s average of 4.45 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

To see the full statewide housing activity report, go to Florida Realtors website and click on the Research page; then look under Latest Housing Data, Statewide Residential Activity and get the 2012 and 4Q 2012 reports. Or go to Florida Realtors Media Center and download the 2012, the 4Q 2012 and general statewide metropolitan statistical area (MSA) data report PDFs under Market Data.

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

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Fla.’s housing market shows strong gains in April 2013


ORLANDO, Fla. – May 22, 2013 –Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, rising median prices, increased pending sales, more new listings and a lower inventory of homes for sale in April, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“Buyer demand is rising, but the inventory of homes continues to be tight in many areas across Florida,” says 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “That’s putting some upward pressure on prices. April is the 16th month in a row that we’ve seen the statewide median sales prices increase year-over-year for both single-family homes and for townhome-condo properties.

“In another positive sign for Florida’s housing market, sellers received over 93 percent of their original listing price in April, whether they were selling a single-family home or a condo. Now is a good time for sellers who have been waiting on the sidelines to enter the market.”

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 20,662 in April, up 17.4 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 31.9 percent over the previous April. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $165,000, up 14.2 percent from the previous year.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in March 2013 was $185,100, up 12.1 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in March was $378,960; in Massachusetts, it was $290,000; in Maryland, it was $241,413; 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 11,183 units sold statewide last month, up 13.6 percent compared to April 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos last month increased 22.7 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhouse-condo properties was $128,000, up 16.4 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in March 2013 was $178,900.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.2-months’ supply in April; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 5.6-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors.

“To a certain extent, the real estate story remains the same: prices and sales are up and inventory is low,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “We are also seeing a continued stabilization of the distressed property market with short sales down, and foreclosure and REO (real estate owned) sales essentially unchanged. But there is also a bit more to the story.”

He explained, “Because the government is selling foreclosed properties in bulk and also using online auctions, our sales numbers actually understate the vigor of the market. The increased importance of government sales in this market is reflected in the continuing fall in inventory in MLS listings.” MLS stands for multiple listing service.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.45 percent in April 2013; lower than the 3.91 percent average during the same month a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center and look under Latest Releases, or download the April 2013 data report PDFs under Market Data.

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

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Fla.’s housing market continues positive trends in 2Q 2013


ORLANDO, Fla. – Aug. 8, 2013 – Florida’s housing market gained strength in second quarter 2013 with more closed sales, higher median prices, more pending sales and a shrinking supply of homes for sale compared to the same quarter in 2012, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“Data from the second quarter of 2013 shows that Florida’s housing market is continuing to improve and the growth is boosting the state’s economic recovery,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “We are experiencing an extended run of year-over-year gains in existing home sales (18 months as of June) and Realtors across the state are reporting increased activity in their markets. At 7.1 percent, Florida currently has a lower unemployment rate than the nation. As more jobs are created, it’s providing a stable foundation for future growth in the state’s housing market.”

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 63,173 in 2Q 2013, up 14.7 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 signed but not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes rose 28.5 percent in the second quarter compared to the 2Q 2012 figure. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 2Q 2013 was $170,000, up 14.1 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

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 31,829 units sold statewide in the second quarter, up 7.9 percent from the same three-month period in 2012. Pending sales for townhouse-condos in 2Q 2013 increased 18.8 percent compared to a year ago, while the statewide median for townhouse-condo properties was $129,000, up 16.7 percent over the same quarter last year.

In 2Q 2013, the median days on market (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to sell that month) was 51 days for single-family homes and 57 days for townhouse-condo properties.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5-months’ supply for the second quarter; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 5.2-months’ supply for the same period, according to Florida Realtors.

Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo said, “For those who have been following the Florida real estate market, there’s not much new in these numbers. The market continues its gradual improvement and return to stability. While investors have been the major driving force in the market, we are beginning to see more owner-occupants enter the market. This is an encouraging sign.”

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.69 percent for 2Q 2013, down from the previous year’s average of 3.80 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center  and look under Latest Releases, or download the 2Q 2013 data report PDFs under Market Data.

Related: NAR: Home prices pick up steam in most metros during 2Q

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

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Multiple offers put S. Fla. home sellers in control


MIRAMAR, Fla. – Aug. 5, 2013 – The spiffy five-bedroom house on a quiet cul-de-sac in Miramar hit the market for $379,900 on a Monday. By the close of business, there were two offers, but listing agent Carlos Martin was preaching patience.

Tempting as it may have been to pick one right then, seller Robert Kull waited a week for more offers to materialize.

It was a wise choice. The home ultimately drew five bids. Kull rejected two cash deals in favor of a full-price offer from a buyer willing to pay above appraised value.

“We knew it was a real strong market,” Kull said. “Carlos said if we just hold out, we’ll get a full-price offer, and sure enough we did.”

Multiple offers are the Holy Grail of the housing recovery, but it takes skill and a dash of diplomacy to sort through all the possibilities.

Homes in good condition and priced fairly almost certainly will attract more than one offer, real estate agents say. Demand far exceeds supply in South Florida and across most of the nation, so investors and young families are all circling the same properties hoping to hit paydirt.

“Multiple offers is the last thing buyers want to hear and the first thing sellers want to be able to say,” said Michael Corbett, a blogger for the Trulia.com real estate website.

Still, that doesn’t mean all sellers are necessarily rejoicing, said Judy Trudel, an agent with Balistreri Realty in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

“When you have multiple offers, it sounds like you’re in the driver’s seat,” Trudel said. “But it’s a very stressful situation.”

Not every multiple-offer situation turns out well. Broward real estate agent Carrie Hazen had a client who received three offers on her Coral Springs home.

That’s the good news. The bad? When the seller made counteroffers late last month, all three buyers bailed.

One of the buyers told Hazen she was backing out because another seller had accepted her contract – even though it’s unethical for a buyer to submit more than one offer at a time.

“Back to the drawing board,” Hazen said. “There are no slam dunks.”

Florida law doesn’t require agents to disclose when their listings get two or more written offers. But a National Association of Realtors code of ethics states that agents must make the disclosure if the buyer asks.

In most cases, the listing agent will collect the offers, announce there are competing bids and have everyone come back with their “highest and best offers” so the seller can pick one.

But some agents and sellers take a different approach.

They’ll negotiate individually with the buyers, making different counteroffers to each, even though they ultimately can sign only one contract.

Playing one offer against the other usually pushes the price higher and allows sellers to assess the motivation and financial strength of all the buyers, Corbett said.

That strategy paid off for Mike Killi, who’s selling his four-bedroom home in Coral Springs. The half-dozen bids gave him and his agent, Dean Ehrlich, the leverage to go back to each buyer and seek more money and the most favorable terms.

They had an offer for $5,000 above the $325,000 list price. But the buyer needed a mortgage, and there was no guarantee the home would appraise. No appraisal is needed in a cash sale.

Killi ultimately took a cash deal for $2,000 more than the asking price. The closing is expected in mid-August.

“We’re really happy with the way it turned out,” said Killi, 33, a social marketing manager for an advertising firm. “When you put your house on the market, you’re really nervous. When you get multiple offers, it very quickly puts you at ease.”

As Killi showed, the highest price isn’t necessarily the best offer. Some of the other considerations: the amount of downpayment, how soon the buyers want to close and whether they’ll agree to pay the difference if the home doesn’t appraise.

“Price is important, but it’s just one factor,” Broward agent Tim Singer said.

Sellers shouldn’t drag out multiple offers longer than a week, said Samantha DeBianchi, an agent in Fort Lauderdale. “It’s just good manners.”

But for some buyers, no amount of etiquette will cushion the blow of not getting the home.

“Somebody is going to get hurt or feel like they were treated unfairly,” said Randy Bianchi, broker-owner of Paradise Properties of Florida in West Palm Beach. “Multiple offers can turn off a lot of people because there’s always a winner and a loser.”

Copyright © 2013 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Paul Owers. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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U.S. home prices rise 12.2% – best in 6 years


WASHINGTON (AP) – July 30, 2013 – U.S. home prices jumped 12.2 percent in May compared with a year ago, the biggest annual gain since March 2006. The increase shows the housing recovery is strengthening.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday also surged 2.4 percent in May from April. The month-over-month gain nearly matched the 2.6 percent increase in April from March – the highest on record.

The price increases were widespread. All 20 cities showed gains in May from April and compared with a year ago.

Prices in Dallas and Denver reached the highest level on records dating back to 2000. That marks the first time since the housing bust that any city has reached an all-time high.

Home values are rising as more people are bidding on a scarce supply of houses for sale. Steady price increases, along with stable job gains and historically low mortgage rates, have in turn encouraged more Americans to buy homes.

Higher home prices help the economy in several ways. They encourage more sellers to put their homes on the market, boosting supply and sustaining the housing recovery. And they make homeowners feel wealthier, encouraging consumers to spend more.

The index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The May figures are the latest available. They are not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the monthly gains reflect more buying activity over the summer.

Mortgage rates have surged since early May, though the increase would have had little impact on the current report. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has jumped a full percentage point since early May and reached a two-year high of 4.51 percent in late June.

Rates jumped after Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Federal Reserve could slow its bond-buying program later this year if the economy continues to improve. The Fed’s bond purchases have kept long-term interest rates low, encouraging more borrowing and spending.

In recent weeks, Bernanke and other Fed members have stressed that any change in the bond-buying program will depend on the economy’s health, not a set calendar date.

Since those comments, interest rates have declined. The average on the 30-year mortgage was 4.31 percent last week.
AP Logo Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press, Christopher S. Rugaber, AP economics writer.

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