Tuesday, October 23, 2012

South Florida home values up 8 percent, surpassing national average

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
South Florida’s home values were up nearly 8 percent in the third quarter of the year from the same time in 2011 and are expected to outpace national price hikes through 2013.
Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties are forecast to experience a 3.8 percent rise in value over the next year compared to a national increase of 1.7 percent, according to a report to be released today by the online real estate firm Zillow.
A nationwide home value increase of 1.3 percent in the third quarter from the second quarter was the biggest quarterly gain since March 2006.
But analysts cautioned that the pace of real estate gains are uneven across regions and that 52 percent of markets nationwide saw dips in value in the third quarter.
“While that doesn’t mean the recovery has come off the rails — in fact, most markets have hit bottom — it does present a confusing environment for consumers,” said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.
South Florida hit bottom in late 2011, according to Zillow. In its analysis, Zillow considers the value of all homes, not just those that sold during the measurement period.
Today’s report puts the median value of single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes in Palm Beach County at $146,900 during the third quarter of the year, up 6.3 percent from the same time in 2011. About 38 percent of South Florida homes sold for a loss in September, meaning the buyer purchased the home at a cheaper price than the previous owner.
Nearly all cities or regions in Palm Beach County saw higher home values during the third quarter, ranging from a 2.3 percent increase in Boynton Beach to Jupiter’s nearly 9 percent jump. Statewide, there was a 4 percent increase in home values.
Zillow was one of a handful of real estate companies to put out studies Monday or today, possibly hoping to capitalize on the presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton.
Humphries noted that more than half of nine electoral battleground states showed quarterly declines in housing values. Those include New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
“Despite the national recovery we are seeing significant polarization among markets,” Humphries said. “This demonstrates that for many pivotal voters who will decide the upcoming election, housing is still a key issue.”
The Irvine, Calif.-based company RealtyTrac, released a special report Monday focused on whether housing is better today than it was four years ago. The study considered average home prices, unemployment, foreclosure inventory, new foreclosures and distressed property sales.
In 65 percent of 919 counties reviewed, at least three of the five areas are worse off than in 2008.
Palm Beach County ranked worse off in four categories, including sales prices, unemployment, foreclosure inventory and the share of distressed sales. New foreclosure filings were down 44 percent during the first nine months of this year compared to 2008.
“The U.S. housing market has shown strong signs of life in recent months, but many local markets continue to struggle,” said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist.

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