Florida real estate agents report signs of recovery in property market as sales move up

Florida, one of the most popular US states with overseas real estate buyers and one of the areas to suffer the largest property price falls in the global economic downturn, is well on the way to recovery, it is claimed.

Property sales in November climbed 61% from the same month in 2008, the 15th straight month in a row in which existing home sales increases year on year, says a report from Florida Realtors. While condo sales increased 111% from last year, the report also shows and total sales are not far from peak levels in 2005 when Florida Realtors reported 17,219 state wide home sales that November.

The state’s prices though are still far from 2005’s peak of $250,500. Florida’s median sales price has fallen 12% from $158,200 a year ago to $139,000 in November. In 2004, November’s median sales price was $192,400, which shows how quickly the bubble grew. Prices after the burst, however, seem to be inching toward 2004 levels, the report points out.

‘The continued, gradual absorption of housing inventory will help stabilize home prices. National research notes that housing affordability is at its peak and the highest on record,’ said Cynthia Shelton, Florida Realtors’ president.

‘Along with still low mortgage rates, it means that the buying power of a typical family has never been better,’ she added.

For the second consecutive month, all of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased home and condo sales. Of the smaller markets, Tallahassee reported 174 homes sold in November, an increase from 100 a year earlier. That market’s median sales price dropped 5%, however, to $162,000 from $170,000 a year ago.

Meanwhile the latest report from the US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development shows that overall in the US sales of new, single family homes in November dropped 11.3% from the previous month.

Sales in November reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 355,000, according to the report, a fall from 400,000 in October and a 9% drop from November 2008’s 390,000. The South led all regions in sales, totalling 179,000 sales in November, according to the data. The West was second with 79,000 sales. The Midwest had 68,000 sales, and the Northeast moved 29,000 homes in November.


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