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Florida’s Housing Market Continues Upswing in November 2012

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Florida real estateRegional Spotlight—Closed sales, pending sales, median prices and average prices rose in Florida’s housing market in November, while the inventory of homes and condos for sale shrunk, according to the latest housing data released by Florida REALTORS®.

“The sizzle is back,” said 2012 Florida REALTORS® President Summer Greene, describing the state of Florida’s real estate market. “With home sales strongly trending up and the supply of homes for sale drying up, the market is hot. And we expect these trends to continue into 2013 with the jobs market improving, low mortgage rates continuing and consumer confidence getting stronger.”

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 17,072 in November, up 24.4 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida REALTORS® Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes last month rose 45.8 percent over the previous November. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in November was $150,000, up 11.2 percent from a year ago.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in October 2012 was $178,700, up 10.9 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in October was $341,370; in Massachusetts, it was $287,000; in Maryland, it was $239,802; and in New York, it was $209,000.

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhome-condos, a total of 8,079 units sold statewide last month, up 18.3 percent compared to November 2011. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhome-condos in November increased 30 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $112,000, up 23.1 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in October 2012 was $177,500.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.1-months’ supply in November; inventory for townhome-condo properties was at a 5.3 months’ supply, according to Florida REALTORS®. Industry analysts note that a 5.5-months’ supply symbolically represents a market balanced between buyers and sellers.

“Particularly striking in this market is the degree to which prices have risen,” says Florida REALTORS® Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “This might be expected to be the case for median prices as investors absorb the inventory at the lower end of the market, but average prices are up dramatically as well – and that suggests we’re seeing real appreciation occur in the marketplace, another sign of how solid Florida’s real estate recovery has become.”

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.35 percent in November 2012, down from the 3.99 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.

For more information, visit www.floridarealtors.org.

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