Home prices continued to rise in February as sales slow, reflecting a dearth of inventory in South Florida, Realtors say.
BY INA PAIVA CORDLE
Home prices in Miami-Dade and Broward counties jumped for the third consecutive month in February despite flat or declining sales volume, as the inventory of listings dwindles, real estate figures released Wednesday show.
Realtors say that heightened demand for bank-owned properties and an improvement in the processing of short sales has resulted in rapid absorption of listings and has contributed to rising prices in South Florida.
At the same time, the bulk of purchases continue to be from buyers who pay with cash, and many of them are international purchasers.
In Miami-Dade, the median sales price of condominiums surged 40.4 percent to $131,950 in February compared to a year earlier, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. The median sales price of single-family homes rose 19 percent to $175,000.
In Broward, the median sales price of single-family homes in February increased 8 percent to $180,000, compared to February 2011. The median sales price for condominiums increased 12 percent to $75,000, compared to the same month last year.
“We definitely have rebounded a lot stronger than we expected,” said Patricia Delinois, president of the Miami Association of Realtors.
Statewide, median sales prices in February increased 15.9 percent to $95,000 for condominiums and 7.2 percent to $135,000 for single-family homes, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Date and Analysis and partner 10K Research and Marketing. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $156,000 in February, a 0.3 percent increase from February 2011.
Meanwhile, the volume of local sales are stagnating or falling.
In Miami-Dade, sales of existing single-family homes increased just 1.9 percent in February, from 746 to 760, compared to February 2011. Sales of condominiums dropped 11.7 percent, from 1,230 to 1,086, compared to February 2011.
In Broward, single-family home sales volume was virtually flat (913 last month compared to 909 in February 2011). Condominium sales dropped 8.8 percent in February compared to a year earlier, from 1,357 to 1,238.
Statewide, sales of existing single-family homes fell 4.8 percent in February to 14,270, compared to a year ago. Statewide condominium sales dropped 16 percent to 7,545, from February 2011. Nationally, sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops were 8.8 percent higher than they were in February 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Inventory in South Florida is clearly declining, as banks modify loans or hold onto properties before putting them on the market. At the same time, owners whose property values have fallen are preferring to rent them out rather than sell them.
“Our market is really shifting into a lack of inventory, which then changes it,” Delinois said. “When you have a lower supply and higher demand, it becomes more of a sellers’ market. … We don’t have enough listings.”
From February 2011, the inventory of residential listings in Miami-Dade has decreased 45.1 percent to 13,610.
In Broward, the inventory has fallen by 33.7 percent to 12,483.
“In [February] 2008, we had 46,000 properties for sale, and now we have only 13,610 properties for sale,” Delinois said. “So that is 33,000 fewer residences on the market.”
In February, 54 percent of all closed residential sales in Miami-Dade County were distressed, including bank-owned properties and short sales, compared to 69 percent in February 2011.
Cash also continues to be the primary means of making a purchase. In Miami-Dade, 65 percent of total closed sales in February were all-cash sales, compared to 67 percent a year earlier. Cash sales accounted for 46 percent of single-family and 79 percent of condominium closings. Nearly 90 percent of international buyers in Florida purchase properties all cash. Nationally, all-cash sales were 33 percent of transactions in February.
In Broward, 48 percent of all closed residential sales in February were distressed, compared to 59 percent in February 2011.
Cash sales accounted for 68 percent of all residential sales in Broward in February, 47 percent of single-family and 84 percent of condominium closings.
Delinois said the top countries currently for international buyers are Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and France.