ORLANDO, FL - Florida's housing market reported increased sales, higher median prices, more pending sales and the continued shrinking of inventory levels in January, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.
"This year started out strong for Florida's housing market," said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher , broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. "Homes sales continue to rise, mortgage rates remain near historic lows and the inventory of for-sale homes is lower than it's been in years. Plus, the time it takes for a home to sell is dropping; the median days a home is on the market declined about 15 percent for both single-family homes and for townhome-condo properties. However, overly restrictive credit requirements remain an obstacle for many potential buyers, who find it difficult to access affordable financing options."
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 13,679 in January, up 11.7 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 31 percent over the previous January. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $145,000, up 12.4 percent from the previous year.
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in December 2012 was $180,300, up 10.9 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in December was $366,930; in Massachusetts, it was $303,500; in Maryland, it was $243,741; and in New York, it was $229,000.
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 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 6,670 units sold statewide last month, up 2 percent compared to January 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos in January increased 17 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhouse-condo properties was $112,000, up 18 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in December 2012 was $184,100.
This is the 13th month in a row that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo units have increased year-over-year, according to Florida Realtors' data.
The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.6-months' supply in January; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 6.2-months' supply, according to Florida Realtors.
"I'm particularly impressed with the rise in percentage of list price received by sellers," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo , referring to the January data. Sellers of single-family existing homes in January received an average of 92.2 percent of their original list price; sellers of townhome-condo units received an average of 93 percent.
"This can encourage other potential sellers to come forward, thus easing the market's inventory crunch," Tuccillo noted. "But, despite the progress of Florida's housing market, it's still being held back by the difficulty consumers have in accessing credit."
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.41 percent in January 2013, down from the 3.92 percent average during the same month a year earlier.
To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to the Florida Realtors Media Center.