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Regional Spotlight: Florida’s Existing Home, Condo Sales Up in Q2 2011

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Florida’s existing home and existing condo sales experienced an upswing in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the latest housing statistics from Florida Realtors®. Existing home sales rose 1 percent in 2Q 2011 with a total of 52,421 homes sold statewide; during the same period the year before, a total of 51,973 homes changed hands according to Florida REALTORS®. Statewide sales of existing condos in the second quarter rose 14 percent compared to the year-ago sales figure.

Statewide home and condo sales in the second quarter also increased over 1Q 2011′s sales figures, Florida REALTORS®’ records show. For 2Q 2011, statewide sales of existing homes rose 17.7 percent over the previous quarter’s activity; statewide existing condo sales increased 8.1 percent over the 1Q 2011 level.

The statewide existing-home median sales price was $134,600 for the three-month period; in 2Q 2010, it was $141,500 for a decrease of 5 percent. However, the 2Q 2011 statewide existing-home median sales price was 8.9 percent higher than the 1Q 2011 figure. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Looking at Florida’s housing sector in the second quarter of 2011, Dr. Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness, noted positive signs for a strengthening recovery. “Florida REALTORS second quarter housing data shows that momentum in sales of both single-family homes and condominiums continues to build, while median sales prices have also increased from first quarter to the second,” Snaith says.

“The fate of the housing market in Florida is tightly bound to that of the labor market,” he says. “They are like economic conjoined twins – improvement in one will invariably help the other. More jobs and lower unemployment will slow foreclosures as well as build the pool of potential buyers; both of these will work to help support prices. As single-family home and condo prices stabilize, the wealth effect of this will make owners more willing to spend, which in turn could boost hiring.”

Snaith adds, “This may sound like a classic ‘chicken and the egg’ scenario, but as far as Florida’s economy is concerned, it doesn’t matter which comes first.”

In the year-to-year quarterly comparison for existing condo sales, 25,263 units sold statewide in the second quarter compared to 22,137 units in 2Q 2010 for a 14 percent gain. The statewide existing-condo median sales price was $94,700 in the second quarter; a year earlier, it was $96,400 for a 2 percent decrease. However, the 2Q 2011 statewide existing-condo median sales price was 17.3 percent higher than the 1Q 2011 figure.

Low mortgage rates were another favorable influence on the housing sector. According to Freddie Mac, the national commitment rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.66 percent in 2Q 2011; one year earlier, it averaged 4.91 percent.

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