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Florida’s home sales slower in October

ORLANDO, Fla. — Nov. 28, 2007 – Disruptions in the mortgage market and tightening credit continued to impact Florida’s housing sector in October. Statewide, sales of existing single-family homes totaled 9,165 last month while 12,846 homes sold in October 2006 for a decrease of 29 percent in the year-to-year comparison, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR).

While the latest market outlook from the National Association of Realtors’® (NAR) expects conditions for the mortgage industry to improve in the coming months, it predicts that the impact of the credit crunch will continue to be felt through the end of this year, leaving home sales fairly flat. Keeping the current housing market in perspective, 2007 will be the fifth highest year on record for existing-home sales, according to NAR Senior Economist Lawrence Yun. “It appears raw inventories are stabilizing, but the housing supply is a bit inflated now because the sales pace does not reflect underlying market conditions – sales were dampened by the mortgage cancellations,” he says.

Florida’s median sales price for existing single-family homes last month was $222,100; a year ago, it was $242,700 for an 8 percent decrease. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. In October 2002, the statewide median sales price for single-family homes was $140,900, for an increase of 57.6 percent over the five-year-period, according to FAR records.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in September 2007 was $210,200, down 4.9 percent from a year ago, according to NAR. In California, the statewide median resales price was $530,830 in September; in Massachusetts, it was $340,000; in Maryland, it was $295,121; and in New York, it was $213,600.

Sales of existing condominiums in Florida also decreased last month, with a total of 2,819 condos sold statewide compared to 3,508 in October 2006 for a 20 percent decline, according to FAR. The statewide median sales price for condos last month was $192,400, down 8 percent from October’s 2006’s condo median price of $209,500. NAR reported the national median existing condo price was $221,700 in September 2007.

Last month, interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.38 percent, according to Freddie Mac, just slightly higher than the average rate of 6.36 percent in October 2006. 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 497 existing homes sold last month compared to 665 homes sold a year ago for a 25 percent decrease. The market's median sales price for homes was $184,600; it was $215,800 in October 2006 for a 14 percent decrease. A total of 61 existing condos changed hands in the MSA last month, down 25 percent from the 81 condos sold the previous year. The existing condo median sales price in October was $218,800; a year ago, it was $236,500 for a 7 percent decrease.

“This is a beautiful place to live, with great beaches and a convenient location,” says Jalene Stockhausen, president of the West Volusia Association of Realtors and a salesperson with Bill Mancinik Realtor. “And this is a great time to buy a home. It’s one of the best investments you can make for your future and the future of your family. From a buyer’s perspective, now there’s an opportunity to choose from a variety of housing options, plus mortgage rates remain low.”

Among the state’s smaller markets, the Gainesville MSA reported a total of 175 homes sold in October compared to 208 homes a year ago for a 16 percent decrease. The existing home median sales price was $198,200; a year ago, it was $225,600 for a 12 percent decrease. A total of 38 existing condos sold in the MSA last month compared to 40 condos the previous October for a 5 percent decrease. The market’s existing condo median price was $156,000; a year ago, it was $162,500 for a decrease of 4 percent.

J. Parrish, vice president of the Gainesville Alachua County Association of Realtors and president of Coldwell Banker MM Parrish Realtors, points out that the area’s friendly, laid-back lifestyle and college-town amenities attract new residents. “The Gainesville area has a strong and stable underlying economic foundation,” he says. “The University of Florida and other governmental entities really drive the local economy and offer great job opportunities.”


  Related Topics: Home sales
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