ORLANDO, FL - November was a busy month for Florida's housing market, with more sales, more new listings, rising median prices and fewer all-cash transactions, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Single-family home sales totaled 19,763, up 12.8 percent from November 2015, while townhouse-condo sales totaled 7,794, up 4.1 percent compared to a year ago.
"Continued low inventory of homes for sale remains the biggest challenge to sales growth in many areas across Florida," said 2016 Florida Realtors® President Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami. "While sellers are seeing the benefits of a market where prices have consistently been on the rise, it also presents a dilemma for those who may want to purchase a 'move-up' home and a challenge for first-time buyers."
Home sellers continued to get more of their original asking price at the closing table in November: Sellers of existing single-family homes received 96.1 percent (median percentage) of their original listing price, while those selling townhouse-condo properties received 94.7 percent (median percentage).
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $220,000, up 10 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in November was $162,000, up 8 percent over the year-ago figure.
In November, statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and townhouse-condo properties rose year-over-year for the 60th month in a row, Veissi noted. 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 October 2016 was $233,700, up 5.9 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $220,300. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in September was $513,520; in Massachusetts, it was $354,000; in Maryland, it was $274,797; and in New York, it was $230,500.
Closed sales data reflected fewer short sales and cash-only sales in November: Short sales for single-family homes declined 33.2 percent while short sales for townhouse-condo properties dropped 43.3 percent. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
"November's data showed some nice gains," said Florida Realtors® Chief Economist Brad O'Connor. "One possible contributor to the uptick in sales is the end of the election season. It's not uncommon for prospective buyers of second-homes or investment properties to wait for the election results to come in before pulling the trigger on a late-year home purchase – and this is particularly the case in presidential election years.
The expectation that the Federal Reserve would be raising short-term interest rates in December also likely played a part in the November data, O'Connor noted.
"The Fed had been telegraphing this rate increase for several months and then it actually took place," he said. "While not directly impacted, mortgage rates are expected to eventually respond to this increase, and many buyers likely felt the need to lock into a historically low rate while they had the chance."
Inventory dipped to a 4.1-months' supply in November for single-family homes and was 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 November 2016, down from the 3.94 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.
To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center.