(Orlando, FL) -- According to Florida Realtors latest housing data, Florida's housing market had increased pending sales and higher median prices in April, along with a greatly reduced inventory of homes and condos for sale.
"Here in Florida, we're seeing some strong numbers that show positive momentum for the state's housing recovery and our economy," said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. "Home prices continue to rise in many markets. Inventory is down to extremely low levels while pending sales are on the rise - almost 38 percent for single-family homes and 25 percent for townhomes and condos. It is not unusual to see multiple offers.
"Now the challenge will be for appraisals to catch up. Overall, we are very happy to see the market move in this direction and expect this trend to continue."
Pending sales refer to contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed; closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in April was $144,350, up 10.2 percent from the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department, and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $108,000, up 16.1 percent over April 2011.
The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in March 2012 was $163,600, up 1.9 percent from the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in March was $291,080; in Massachusetts, it was $267,500; in Maryland, it was $225,601; and in New York, it was $215,000.
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.
Statewide sales of existing single-family homes totaled 17,544 in April, down slightly, 0.7 percent, compared to the year-ago figure. Looking at Florida's year-to-year comparison for sales of townhomes/condos, a total of 9,765 units sold statewide last month, down 4.9 percent from those sold in April 2011. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in March 2012 was $165,200.
In April, there was a 5.8-month supply of single-family homes in inventory and a 5.7-month supply for townhomes/condos, according to Florida Realtors.
"The housing numbers for the state of Florida continue to signal recovery," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. "Sales in 2012 are above where they were in 2011, a harbinger of a third straight year of improvement. More importantly, pending sales are up dramatically, and inventory is still falling. Financing constraints still mean that a significant percentage of these will not lead to closed sales, but with the numbers up, we are confident that closed sales will continue to rise.
"The increase in both median and average prices suggests that investors are having a strong impact on the market, soaking up lower priced inventory and causing buyers to move up the price ladder."
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.91 percent in April 2012, down from the 4.84 percent average during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.