Florida's Existing Home Sales Rise in November 2008

Florida's Existing Home Sales Rise in November 2008

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Michael Gerrity | December 24, 2008 10:30 AM ET

(News Source: Florida Assocation of Realtors®)

ORLANDO, FL -- For the third month in a row, Florida's existing home sales rose in November, with Florida Realtors® reporting a 4 percent increase in activity in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR).

A total of 8,571 existing homes sold statewide last month compared to 8,269 homes sold in November 2007, according to FAR. In September and October, Florida Realtors reported higher statewide existing home and existing condo sales compared to the year-ago levels.

Nine of Florida's metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased existing-home sales in November; seven MSAs also showed gains in condo sales, marking the fifth consecutive month that a number of markets have noted higher sales activity.

Florida's median sales price for existing homes last month was $158,300; a year ago, it was $217,000 for a 27 percent decrease. 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 October 2008 was $181,800, down 11.2 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median resales price was $311,060 in October; in Massachusetts, it was $294,950; in Maryland, it was $274,081; and in New York, it was $210,000.

Market conditions nationwide continue to vary with solid sales gains in some areas, including many Florida markets, according to the latest housing outlook from NAR. "We have favorable affordability conditions, but we need more than that to give buyers with jobs the confidence they need [to return to the housing market]," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "This is why a housing stimulus is so critical now to encourage more buyers to draw down the inventory and stabilize home prices. Without home price stabilization, there will not be an economic recovery."

In Florida's year-to-year comparison for condos, 2,278 units sold statewide compared to 2,474 sold in November 2007 for an 8 percent decrease. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $130,600; in November 2007 it was $185,600 for a 30 percent decrease. In the latest data available at press time, NAR reported the national median existing condo price was $193,000 in October 2008.

Last month, interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.09 percent, down from the average rate of 6.21 percent in November 2007, according to Freddie Mac. FAR's sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among the state's large to medium-size markets, the Orlando MSA reported a total of 1,277 homes sold in November compared to 1,108 homes a year ago for a 15 percent increase. The existing home median sales price was $167,900; a year ago, it was $239,000 for a 30 percent decrease. In the year-to-year comparison for the existing condo market, a total of 135 units sold in the MSA last month, up 8 percent compared to 125 condos sold the previous November. The market's existing condo median price was $76,100; a year ago, it was $140,600 for a 46 percent decrease.

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