Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Florida's home resales' median price rises in October

Home sales statistics from the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR) show that home prices continued to rise but the number of sales fell in October, notably in southern areas directly impacted by Hurricane Wilma's march across the state. Most insurers stopped issuing new policies when the hurricane neared Florida, and, following the storm, some lenders required a re-inspection of properties before they would release mortgage money.

Despite storm problems, however, the state's median home price rose 28 percent in October to $241,000 from $188,800 in October 2004. In September 2005, the median price was $247,800. In October 2000, FAR records show the statewide median sales price was $116,100, resulting in an increase of 107 percent over the five-year-period.

Many Realtors across the state report gains in housing supply, giving buyers a larger selection of homes to consider. Statewide, a total of 16,029 existing single-family homes sold last month compared to 16,844 homes a year ago for a decrease of 5 percent, according to FAR.

The national median existing-home price in September was $212,000, up 13.4 percent from the previous September's median price of $187,000, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median resales price was $543,980 in September; in New York, the median price was $275,000; and in North Carolina, the average resales price was $208,097.

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.07 percent in October, a slight increase from the average 5.72 percent in October 2004. However, they did edge back down in early November. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among the state’s larger markets, the Daytona Beach metropolitan statistical area (MSA) reported that 1,037 homes sold in October for an 18 percent gain over October 2004 home sales of 881. The median home price in Daytona Beach rose 35 percent over the same time period, from $165,000 in October 2004 to $223,300 in October 2005.

Shawn M. Goepfert, president of the Daytona Beach Area Association of Realtors and owner of Ideal Realty of Volusia, says that demand for Daytona-area homes is now catching up with supply. "We started 2005 off with only about 1,000 residential listings, really robust sales and it taking only about two or three weeks to get a contract," Goepfert says. "That demand really pushed up our sales price, but in the last 30 days, our inventory has increased to about 3,000 residential listings."

Other larger MSAs with strong sales and price increases include Jacksonville, with 1,504 home sales in October for a 38 percent gain over October 2004 sales numbers; and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, with 3,735 homes sold for an increase of 4 percent over the same time period. Prices also rose in both markets over the year. In Jacksonville, the median price rose 20 percent to $191,600; in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater the median price rose 35 percent to $225,700.

Among the state’s smaller MSAs, Lakeland-Winter Haven posted a 24 percent gain in home sales in October, with 513 homes changing hands compared to 414 homes a year ago. The market’s median sales price rose 50 percent in October to $173,500; last year, it was $115,500.

"I think people have discovered our little secret," says Peggy Daley, treasurer of the Lakeland Association of Realtors and a Realtor with ImperiaLakes Realty Services in Lakeland. "We've got the best of everything. People are moving here in droves from South Florida, plus people from the North keep coming down and quickly realize that we're centrally located with easy access to Tampa or Orlando -- but without the traffic."

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