DOWNTOWN ORLANDO, Fla. Florida’s housing market continued its upswing in May, with higher closed sales, more pending sales, rising median prices, more new listings and a lower inventory of homes for sale.
“Home sales continue to increase, it’s taking less time for sales to close, and median sales prices are on the rise,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “This is the 17th 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.
“Sellers are seeing this momentum in Florida’s housing sector and it’s prompting many to decide now is the time to list their property for sale. Statewide, new listings for single-family homes increased 10.2 percent in May, while new townhome-condo listings rose 7.1 percent.”
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 22,375 in May, up 18.7 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 that are signed but not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes last month rose 30.8 percent over the previous May. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $171,000, up 15.9 percent from the previous year.
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in April 2013 was $193,300, up 11 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in April was $402,760; in Massachusetts, it was $315,000; in Maryland, it was $258,093; and in New York, it was $218,875.
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 11,201 units sold statewide last month, up 11.5 percent compared to May 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos last month increased 18.3 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhouse-condo properties was $128,000, up 13 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in April 2013 was $189,500.
The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5-months’ supply in May; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 5.4-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors.
“The numbers continue to move in the right direction,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “We remain concerned about the rise in the percentage of sales accounted for by all cash buyers. These numbers understate the true condition of the market in that a great many sales are conducted directly with the financial institution holding the property, and thus do not appear in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
“But those crying doom-and-gloom who read this growth in investor activity as the sign of a new bubble are far off-base and simply don’t understand the texture of the current market.”
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.54 percent in May 2013, down from the 3.80 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.