ORLANDO, FL - Florida's housing market reported more closed sales, higher median prices, increased new listings and a rise in inventory in September, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 20,792 last month, up 13.5 percent over the September 2013 figure.
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $180,000, up 5.9 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis (IDA) department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in September was $142,700, up 9.8 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
"When home prices increase, more Florida homeowners may be ready to list their homes for sale," said 2014 Florida Realtors® President Sherri Meadows, CEO and team leader, Keller Williams, with market centers in Gainesville, Ocala and The Villages. "So on the one hand, it is a positive factor for improving housing inventory in many markets; but on the other hand, rising prices also can make it more challenging for first-time buyers to enter the market, or even for move-up buyers to find their next home, especially when lending standards remain too restrictive.
"Continuing a trend we've seen for 34 consecutive months, statewide median sales prices in September rose year-over-year for both single-family homes and townhouse-condo properties."
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in August 2014 was $220,600, up 5.2 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $213,900. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in August was $480,280; in Massachusetts, it was $350,000; in Maryland, it was $271,797; and in New York, it was $239,000.
Looking at Florida's townhouse-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 8,622 last month, up 2 percent compared to September 2013. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales last month compared to the previous year: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties declined 57.9 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 48 percent. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
"The stability that has characterized the housing market in Florida continued in September but at a higher level of activity," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. "Both single-family and townhouse and condo sales were up, but so were new listings and pending sales. Despite this, inventory, as measured in months, remained about the same in a range that indicates a balanced market. So, more houses are coming on the market and more people are buying.
"We are seeing continued pressure on the lower end of the market where listings have not increased, and there is more activity at the luxury end of the price spectrum. The good news is that investors appear far less interested in the lower end of the market, opening up opportunities for potential owner-occupants. Investors and foreign buyers, however, are still very active in the market for townhouses and condos."
Inventory was at a 5.4-months' supply in September for single-family homes and at a 5.8-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 4.16 percent in September 2014, down from the 4.49 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.
To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center.