ORLANDO, Fla. – April 20, 2011 – Florida’s existing home and existing condo sales rose in March, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Existing home sales increased 12 percent last month with a total of 18,522 homes sold statewide compared to 16,540 homes sold in March 2010, according to Florida Realtors. Statewide sales of existing condos last month rose 24 percent compared to the year-ago sales figure.
Seventeen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported higher existing home and existing condo sales in March; 17 MSAs also had higher condo sales. It’s the fourth consecutive month that Florida Realtors has reported higher year-over-year existing home and existing condo sales statewide.
“A variety of housing opportunities is available at attractive prices across the state, while mortgage interest rates remain historically low,” said 2011 Florida Realtors® President Patricia Fitzgerald, manager/broker-associate with Illustrated Properties in Hobe Sound and Mariner Sands Country Club in Stuart. “Favorable conditions like these spark the interest of buyers – who should consult a local Realtor to find out more about their local markets.”
Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $126,300; a year ago, it was $136,000 for a 7 percent decrease. 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 February 2011 was $157,000, down 4.2 percent from a year ago, according to NAR. In California, the statewide median resales price was $271,320 in February; in Massachusetts, it was $270,000; in New York, it was $245,000; and in Maryland, it was $208,258.
According to NAR’s latest industry outlook, a strengthening economy will continue to bolster the housing market’s slow recovery. “Housing affordability conditions have been at record levels and the economy has been improving, but home sales are being constrained by unnecessarily tight credit,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 9,703 units sold statewide last month compared to 7,830 units in March 2010 for an increase of 24 percent. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $84,300; in March 2010 it was $94,800 for an 11 percent decrease. The national median existing condo sales price was $150,400 in February 2011, according to NAR.
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.84 percent in March, down slightly from the 4.97 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.