Florida's Existing Home, Condo Sales Rise

Florida's Existing Home, Condo Sales Rise ORLANDO, FL - Florida's existing home and existing condo sales rose in first quarter 2011 compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the latest housing statistics from Florida Realtors®. Existing home sales increased 13 percent in 1Q 2011 with a total of 44,531 homes sold statewide; during the same period the year before, a total of 39,406 homes changed hands according to Florida Realtors. Statewide sales of existing condos in the first quarter rose 29 percent compared to the year-ago sales figure.

The statewide existing-home median sales price was $123,600 for the three-month period; in 1Q 2010, it was $131,100 for a decrease of 6 percent. Seventeen of Florida's metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased sales of existing homes in 1Q 2011 compared to the same three-month-period a year earlier, while 18 of the MSAs showed gains in condo sales, according to Florida Realtors.

Looking at Florida's housing sector in the first quarter of 2011, Dr. Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Economic Competitiveness, pointed out that the recovery is gaining strength. "Florida Realtors' first quarter report shows sales picking up significant momentum after decelerating in the fourth quarter of last year, though prices are continuing to slip," Snaith said. "The labor market recovery is just starting to blossom – once it is in full bloom it will provide some needed curb appeal for Florida's struggling housing market by creating a new pool of qualified buyers and preventing other homeowners from falling victim to foreclosure.

"Distressed properties are proving to be an ongoing complication in the healing process of Florida's housing market," he added. "The foreclosure moratorium and Florida's overburdened court system have slowed the process of handling foreclosures. Until these properties can move through this process, complete recovery will be difficult to attain."

In the year-to-year quarterly comparison for existing condo sales, 23,375 units sold statewide in the first quarter compared to 18,170 units in 1Q 2010 for a 29 percent increase. The statewide existing-condo median sales price was $80,700 in 1Q 2011; a year earlier, it was $96,100 for a decrease of 16 percent. Sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Low mortgage rates continued to be available during the first quarter of the year. According to Freddie Mac, the national commitment rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.85 percent in 1Q 2011; one year earlier, it averaged 5.0 percent.
Source: Florida Realtors

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