ORLANDO, FL - Pending sales, closed sales and median prices rose, while the inventory of homes and condos for sale dropped in Florida's housing market in October, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.
"With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we have a lot to be thankful for here in Florida," said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. "The state's latest unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest in nearly four years – and combined with the momentum of the housing market, it clearly shows that Florida is on a positive path and has been for months. Pending sales, closed sales and prices are trending up."
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 17,779 in October, up 25.3 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 by not yet completed or closed – of existing single-family homes last month rose 56.7 percent over the previous October. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in October was $145,000, up 9 percent from a year ago.
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in September 2012 was $184,300, up 11.4 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in September was $345,000; in Massachusetts, it was $294,900; in Maryland, it was $244,357; 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 8,252 units sold statewide last month, up 16.4 percent compared to October 2011. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhome-condos in October increased 47.1 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $107,000, up 20.2 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in September 2012 was $181,000.
The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.2-months' supply in October; 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.
"Once again, everything that should be going up in the market is going up, and everything that should be going down is going down," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. "As impressive as the year-over-year gains for October are, far more impressive are year-to-date gains of 2012 over 2011. They indicate the depth and resilience of this recovery."
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.38 percent in October 2012, down from the 4.07 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 and look under Latest Releases, or download the October 2012 data report PDF under Market Data.
Florida Realtors 2012 housing market data releases mark a new statewide data reporting partnership between Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and new vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Housing sales data from the state's local Realtor organizations is collected and organized with the goal of providing unique, localized market reports to the local Realtor boards and associations within Florida Realtors, enabling the groups and their Realtor members to serve as the definitive voice of real estate in their respective local markets. At the same time, Florida Realtors is providing comprehensive statewide housing market statistics – but this new data series only refers to statewide data and does not include metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).