ORLANDO, FL - Florida's housing market reported higher median prices, more new listings and the continued stabilization of inventory in January, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 16,087 last month, up 10 percent over January 2014.
"Home price gains in areas across Florida mean that home equity continues to improve and that, coupled with historically low interest rates, generates a great opportunity for sellers," said 2015 Florida Realtors President Andrew Barbar, a broker with Keller Williams Realty Services in Boca Raton. "Many homeowners who have been on the sidelines are now ready to list their properties for sale: Statewide, new listings for single-family homes in January rose 7.9 percent year-over-year, while new townhouse-condo listings rose 1 percent."
Barbar noted that January marked the 38th month in a row that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and townhouse-condo properties rose year-over-year.
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $175,000, up 7.4 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 January was $137,000, up 5.4 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 December 2014 was $210,200, up 6.3 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $204,000. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in December was $452,570; in Massachusetts, it was $332,925; in Maryland, it was $250,482; and in New York, it was $230,000.
Looking at Florida's townhouse-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 7,294 last month, down slightly (-1.7 percent) compared to January 2014. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales in January: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties declined 57.9 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 39.4 percent. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
"The major features of the market – prices and inventory – have settled into a path that will be characteristic of the whole year," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. "But there are some interesting wrinkles in the detailed numbers. First, inventories for both single-family homes and townhouses and condos are shrinking, a sign of a continuing need for supply in the less than $250,000 area of the market. Right now, new construction remains the best option for households of moderate income. Adding to this is the continuing rapid decline in short sales, an ongoing trend that is likely to continue.
"Secondly, the percentage of condo sales accounted for by cash dropped dramatically in January. This shows the impact of a strengthening dollar on foreign demand, as well as the continuing decline in market participation by volume investors."
Inventory was at a 5.3-months' supply in January for single-family homes and at a 6.2-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 3.67 percent in January 2015, down from the 4.43 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.
To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center.