Home Sales Continue to Rise

Home Sales Continue to Rise

   Florida’s existing home sales rose in April – the eighth consecutive month that sales activity increased in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by the Florida Association of Realtors®.

    April’s statewide sales showed gains over the previous month’s sales level in both the existing home and existing condominium markets.

    Existing home sales rose 18 percent last month with a total of 13,111 homes sold statewide compared to 11,133 homes sold in April 2008. April’s statewide existing home sales were slightly higher than statewide activity in March.

   Florida Realtors also reported a 21 percent rise in statewide sales of existing condos in April. Existing condo sales last month increased 6.2 percent over the total units sold in March.

   Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $138,500; a year ago, it was $199,500 for a 31 percent decrease. Housing industry analysts with the National Association of Realtors® note, however, a significant downward distortion in the current median price due to many discounted sales, including a large number of foreclosures. 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 March 2009 was $174,900, down 11.5 percent from a year earlier.

  “The share of lower priced home sales has trended up, indicating a return of many first-time buyers,” says Chief Economist Lawrence Yun of the National Association of Realtors. “Buyer traffic has been rising, and real estate offices are getting phone inquires about the tax credit. By early summer we should be seeing a positive impact on home sales from record-low mortgage interest rates in addition to the stimulus provisions.”

   Among the state’s smaller markets, the Pensacola area reported a total of 316 homes sold in April compared to 272 homes a year ago, for a 16 percent increase.