Thursday, February 23, 2012

Florida Median Home Prices Uptick in January as Inventories Decline

(ORLANDO, FL) -- According to the Florida Association of Realtors, Florida's housing market reported gains in median sales prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in January.

"We're seeing positive signs of a strengthening recovery in Florida's housing market," said 2012 Florida Realtor's President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. "In both the statewide single-family and condo-townhome markets, pending sales are higher and the statewide median sales price rose -- up 5.3 percent to $129,000 for single-family homes and up 18.8 percent to $95,000 for condo-townhomes. Improving the availability of affordable financing to qualified buyers and investors would continue to stabilize Florida's housing market and economy."

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. 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, according to housing industry analysts.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in December 2011 was $165,100, which is 2.5 percent below the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in December was $285,920; in Maryland, it was $222,934.

Statewide sales of existing single-family homes totaled 12,044 in January 2012, down 5.5 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing.

Looking at Florida's year-to-year comparison for sales of condos/townhomes, a total of 5,963 units sold statewide last month, down 22.6 percent from those sold in January 2011. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in December 2011 was $160,000.

"Even though closed sales are down from a year ago, there are two really bright spots in Florida's housing market," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. "One is a significant increase in pending sales. In fact, pending sales have been up every month since May. The barrier that stands between pending sales and closings is the difficulty consumers are experiencing in obtaining financing.

"The second positive is inventories, which are now at a point close to a balanced market," Tuccillo said. The month's supply of inventory stands at 6.4 for both the single-family homes market and the condos/townhomes market.

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.92 percent in January 2012, down from the 4.76 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. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Trulia Research Reveals More Than 1 in 3 Home Searches Cross State Lines

Trulia Names Best-Kept Secret Neighborhoods Across America Where Locals Want To Live

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Feb 02, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Trulia today released the latest findings from its Metro Movers Report -- the first housing report that starts with where homebuyers and renters are today and provides the inside scoop on where they want to live tomorrow. The Winter 2012 report examines all property searches on among all U.S. metropolitan areas between October 1 and December 31, 2011.

House Hunters Near and Far Eye Florida Real Estate Of the top 10 metros where demand among online house hunters is strongest, seven are located in the Sunshine state. Even with a backlog of homes unable to complete the foreclosure process, big price declines mean more people are looking to move to Florida than leave. In fact, one-third of all the home searches in Miami on originate from people living more than 500 miles away. As for who is looking at Florida, there are clear geographic preferences between house hunters in New York and Chicago. New York is the top source of long distance (100 miles or more) home searches for properties along the Atlantic coast and Central Florida (e.g., Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach). Meanwhile, more searches for Gulf Coast homes (e.g., North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota and Cape Coral) come from Chicago than from anywhere else.
                    Where Demand Among Online House Hunters Is Strongest
        #    U.S. Metropolitan Area                       # of Inbound Searches Per
                                                          Outbound Search
        1    Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL                       8.80
        2    Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL                               7.60
        3    North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL                       6.62
        4    Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL                               2.59
        5    Tulsa, OK                                               2.48
        6    West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach, FL            2.46
        7    Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield
             Beach, FL                                               2.44
        8    Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA                    2.43
        9    Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC             2.40
        10   Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL                           2.30

Housing Market In South Florida Ripe For The Picking

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