ORLANDO, FL - Florida's housing market had higher pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in September, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.
"Florida's real estate market is no longer in recovery mode – stability and growth gain solid footing," said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. "Realtors across the state are reporting consistent increases in home sales and median prices, and multiple offers from buyers isn't unusual. In fact, increasing buyer demand in many local markets is creating inventory shortages – and that's putting pressure on prices. For sellers who may have been reluctant to enter the market, it's now time to reconsider. Conditions are turning to a sellers' market."
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 15,643 in September, up 2 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. 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 – of existing single-family homes last month rose 40.1 percent over the previous September. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in September was $145,000, up 7.4 percent from a year ago.
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in August 2012 was $188,700, up 10.2 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in August was $343,820; in Massachusetts, it was $317,750; in Maryland, it was $255,498; and in New York, it was $225,000.
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 continue to 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 townhomes-condos, a total of 7,329 units sold statewide last month, down slightly (-2.9 percent) from those sold in September 2011. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhome-condos in September increased 30.6 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $105,736, up 18.8 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in August 2012 was $176,700.
Last month, the inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.2-months' supply; inventory for townhome-condo properties was also at a 5.2-months' supply, according to Florida Realtors. Industry analysts note that a 5.5-months' supply symbolically represents a market balanced between buyers and sellers.
"The onward march of Florida's housing market continues," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. "Inventories have now tilted to the point where we truly have a sellers' market forming. Prices are up smartly and have been for quite a while. It's getting to the point where Florida is the place to buy, but it may soon move out of reach for many households."
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.47 percent in September 2012, lower than the 4.11 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.
To see the full statewide housing activity report, go to Florida Realtors Media Center at media.floridarealtors.org