According to the Florida Association of Realtors, Florida's housing market reported both an increase in median home prices and an uptick in inventory levels during the month of May 2014. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 23,013 last month, up 3.6 percent over the May 2013 figure.
"Inventory levels continue to improve in Florida, and the months' supply of homes for sale remains stable - all good signs for the housing market," said 2014 Florida Realtors President Sherri Meadows, CEO and team leader, Keller Williams, with market centers in Gainesville, Ocala and The Villages. "Right now, the market offers a great opportunity for sellers, who are seeing nearly 93 percent of their asking price at the closing table. And mortgage rates, though rising, remain historically low - giving consumers more buying power."
New listings for single-family existing homes in May rose 13.1 percent year-over-year, while new listings for townhouse-condos rose 3.9 percent over the previous year.
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $180,000, up 4.3 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis (IDA) department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in May was $145,000, up 13.7 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 April 2014 was $201,100, up 4.7 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $205,500. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in April was $449,360; in Massachusetts, it was $320,000; in Maryland, it was $256,608; and in New York, it was $215,000.
Looking at Florida's townhome-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 10,558 last month, down 7.0 percent compared to May 2013. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales last month compared to the previous year: Short sales for condo-townhome properties declined 61.2 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 54.3 percent. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
Dr. John Tuccillo
Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo said, "Ordinarily, a market that is flattening out after a rise can be of concern. But this market has been in recovery mode and is now catching its breath after a long run-up. We are still seeing improvement in sales and prices, and are continuing to see drops in days on the market, cash sales and short sales. All of these are signs of a market that has stabilized.
"Going forward, we're concerned about affordability. In particular, the difficulty of first-time buyers to access mortgage financing and the lag in providing a much-needed supply of new homes may hold back Florida's housing market."
Inventory was at a 5.7-months' supply last month for single-family homes and at a 6-months' supply for townhouse-condo properties - the same level as the previous two months, according to Florida Realtors.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.19 percent in May 2014, up from the 3.54 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.