Based on the latest housing data released today by the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR), Florida existing home and existing condo sales rose in April.
Existing home sales increased 2 percent last month with a total of 17,192 homes sold statewide compared to 16,781 homes sold in April 2010, according to Florida Realtors. Statewide sales of existing condos last month rose 17 percent compared to the year-ago sales figure.
Twelve of Florida's metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported higher existing home sales in April; 14 MSAs also had higher condo sales. It's the fifth consecutive month that Florida Realtors has reported higher year-over-year existing home and existing condo sales statewide.
"Market conditions remain optimal for qualified buyers with strong credit," said 2011 Florida Realtors President Patricia Fitzgerald, manager/broker-associate with Illustrated Properties in Hobe Sound and Mariner Sands Country Club in Stuart. "Mortgage interest rates are under five percent, a range of housing options is available at very affordable prices, and the economic recovery continues to strengthen. Realtors across the state are reporting increased interest from buyers ready to find their Florida dream home."
Florida's median sales price for existing homes last month was $131,700; a year ago, it was $140,300 for a 6 percent decrease. However, April's statewide existing home median price was 4.3 percent higher than it was in March. 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 March 2011 was $160,500, down 5.3 percent from a year ago, according to NAR. In California, the statewide median resales price was $286,010 in March; in Massachusetts, it was $273,475; in New York, it was $215,000; and in Maryland, it was $215,000.
NAR's latest industry outlook predicts that existing home sales will continue to rise gradually but unevenly. "Existing home sales have risen in six of the past eight months, so we're clearly on a recovery path," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "With rising jobs and excellent affordability conditions, we project moderate improvements into 2012, but not every month will show a gain - primarily because some buyers are finding it too difficult to obtain a mortgage."
In Florida's year-to-year comparison for condos, 8,987 units sold statewide last month compared to 7,703 units in April 2010 for an increase of 17 percent. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $91,900; in April 2010 it was $100,200 for an 8 percent decrease. April's statewide existing condo median price was 9 percent higher than it was in March. The national median existing condo sales price was $153,100 in March 2011, according to NAR.
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.84 percent in April, significantly lower than the 5.10 percent averaged 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.