Florida’s existing home and condo sales rose in February, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors.
Existing home sales increased 13 percent last month with a total of 13,701 homes sold statewide compared to 12,164 homes sold in February 2010, according to Florida Realtors. February’s statewide sales of existing condos rose 29 percent compared to the previous year’s sales figure.
“Current market conditions and very low mortgage rates continue to offer great opportunities to anyone looking to buy a home in Florida,” said 2011 Florida Realtors President Patricia Fitzgerald, manager/broker-associate with Illustrated Properties in Hobe Sound and Mariner Sands Country Club in Stuart. “Every day, Realtors help people realize their dreams of homeownership – they see the positive impact that homeownership has on families and communities.”
Seventeen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased existing home sales in February; 18 MSAs had higher condo sales. It’s the third month in a row that Florida Realtors has reported higher year-over-year existing home and existing condo sales statewide.
Ms. Fitzgerald added, “To showcase homeownership opportunities across the state, Florida Realtors is sponsoring its second annual Florida Open House Weekend, March 26-27. Realtors will host open houses on behalf of home sellers in neighborhoods from the Panhandle to the Keys, giving buyers a chance to tour dozens of homes in a single weekend. Talk to a local Realtor about Florida Open House Weekend and look for participating open houses throughout your community.”
Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $121,900; a year ago, it was $124,500 for a 2 percent decrease. Analysts with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 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. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in January 2011 was $159,400, down 2.7 percent from a year ago, according to NAR. In Massachusetts, the statewide median resales price was $284,500 in January; in California, it was $278,900; in New York, it was $227,000; and in Maryland, it was $222,535.
NAR’s latest outlook notes that continuing improvements in the economy is a positive sign for the housing sector. “The housing market is healing with sales fluctuating at times, depending on the flow of distressed properties coming on the market,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “The broad fundamentals for a housing recovery are developing. Job growth, high housing affordability and rising apartment rent are conducive to bringing more buyers into the market.”
In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 6,984 units sold statewide last month compared to 5,424 units in February 2010 for an increase of 29 percent. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $77,300; in February 2010 it was $90,400 for a 14 percent decrease. The national median existing condo price was $154,900 in January 2011, according to NAR.
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.95 percent in February, down slightly from the 4.99 percent average during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac. Florida Realtors’ sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.