The Florida 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 housing market is growing and continuing to gain strength,” said 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, Florida housing market pending sales (contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed) for existing single-family homes last month 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, 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 the Florida housing market, year-to-year comparison for sales of 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 compared to the year-ago figure. 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 Florida housing market 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,” said 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 for the same month a year earlier.