ORLANDO, FL - Florida's housing market reported higher median prices, more new listings and a stable level of inventory in March, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 20,081 last month, up 2.8 percent over the March 2013 figure.
"March marked the 28th month in a row that statewide median sales prices rose year-over-year for both single-family homes and townhome-condo properties," said 2014 Florida Realtors® President Sherri Meadows, CEO and team leader, Keller Williams, with market centers in Gainesville, Ocala and The Villages. "Realtors across Florida are reporting fewer short sales of distressed properties and more interest from potential home sellers as they observe the return of more traditional market conditions. Statewide, new listings for single-family homes in March rose 16.5 percent year-over-year, while new townhouse-condo listings rose 10.3 percent."
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $173,000, up 7.1 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in March was $140,000, up 16.7 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in February 2014 was $189,200, up 9 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $187,900. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in February was $404,250; in Massachusetts, it was $294,950; Maryland, it was $241,097; and in New York, it was $232,000.
Looking at Florida's townhome-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 9,580 last month, down 5.2 percent compared to March 2013. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales last month compared to the previous year: Short sales for condo-townhome properties declined 62.8 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 55.3 percent. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
"What we're seeing is a market we can live with," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. "Sales are up, inventories are increasing moderately and days on the market are shrinking slightly. What's of particular interest this month is how market activity has moved up the price ladder. We are seeing greater sales gains and inventory increases, and strong percentage decreases in days on the market, for homes priced above $250,000. This is a break from the trends we were seeing last year and bears watching for the future.
"A trend that is continuing is the rapid decline in short sales, as increasing prices reduce the incentive for homeowners to seek short sales."
Inventory was at a 5.7-months' supply last month for single-family homes and at a 6-months' supply for townhouse-condo properties, according to Florida Realtors.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.34 percent in March 2014, up from the 3.57 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.
To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center.