ORLANDO, FL - Florida's housing market continued its positive track in March, reporting more closed sales, higher median prices, increased pending sales and new listings, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors. Closed sales of existing single-family homes statewide totaled 24,811 last month, up 24.6 percent over March 2014.
"Positive growth in Florida's housing market is encouraging sellers and buyers," said 2015 Florida Realtors President Andrew Barbar, a broker with Keller Williams Realty Services in Boca Raton. "Inventories for existing single-family homes and for townhouse-condo properties remain in a stable range with a 5 to 6 months' supply. On the buyers' side, new pending sales for existing single-family homes in March increased 12.9 percent year-over-year, while pending sales for townhouse-condo units increased 1.4 percent. On the sellers' side, new listings for single-family homes rose 8.6 percent year-over-year and new townhouse-condo listings rose 5.5 percent."
Barbar noted that March marked the 40th consecutive month that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and townhouse-condo properties rose year-over-year. "Strong price growth has helped many Florida homeowners rebuild home equity, but it can also pose a challenge for first-time buyers hoping to close on their dream home before rates rise," he added.
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $190,000, up 9.2 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 $152,000, up 8.6 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 2015 was $204,200, up 8.2 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $190,200. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in February was $428,970; in Massachusetts, it was $317,000; in Maryland, it was $232,283; and in New York, it was $230,000.
Looking at Florida's townhouse-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 11,083 last month, up 13.7 percent compared to March 2014. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales in March: Short sales for townhouse-condo properties declined 36.9 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 30.5 percent. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
"The housing market continues to thrive on the growing Florida economy – jobs are up and so are sales," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. "The continued fall of cash sales as a percentage of total sales suggests that demand is increasingly coming from household owner-occupants, a trend that bodes well for market stability. Days on the market are down as is inventory, particularly at the low end of the market. This points to a potential sweet spot for homebuilders.
"If there is a concern in the market, it lies in the upper middle price ranges, where inventories and time on the market are up even though sales growth is strong. This will bear watching over time."
Inventory was at a 5.1-months' supply in March for single-family homes and at a 6.1-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 3.77 percent in March 2015, down from the 4.34 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.
To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center.