ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 23, 2016 – Florida's housing market saw rising median prices, fewer all-cash closed sales and a tight inventory of for-sale homes in January, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 16,529 last month, up 2.7 percent over the January 2015 figure.
"Florida's housing market remains on a steady path," says 2016 Florida Realtors President Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami. "While inventory levels are tight, the months' supply of homes for sale remains stable and distressed property sales continue to fall. The current market offers a great opportunity for sellers, who are getting nearly 94 percent (for existing single-family homes) of their asking price at the closing table; existing townhouse-condo sellers are getting more than 93 percent of their asking price. And while mortgage rates are inching higher, they remain historically low, which gives consumers more buying power."
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $199,000, up 13.7 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Thestatewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in January was $152,000, up 10.9 percent over the year-ago figure.
January marked the 50th month in a row that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo properties rose year-over-year. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
Looking at Florida's townhouse-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 6,942 last month, down 4.8 percent compared to January 2015. However, the closed sales data reflected fewer short sales and cash-only sales in January: Traditional sales in Florida rose 21 percent for single-family homes and 7.1 percent for condo-townhouse properties. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
"Overall, statewide sales growth remained slow in January, but it's important to note that this trend has not been uniform across all price points," says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O'Connor. "Taking a closer look at the data, what we are seeing are large year-over-year declines in properties selling for less than $150,000. Sales in this price range, which comprised over a third of January's total sales, were down by nearly 17 percent compared to January 2015. Sales of homes in price tiers of $150,000 or more, on the other hand, were actually up over 14 percent, year-over-year.
"An overall rise in home values is partly responsible for these contrasting trends," adds O'Connor, "but the real culprit is a lack of inventory in lower price tiers that has resulted from high rates of investor activity and conversions into rentals."
Inventory was at a 4.5-months' supply in January for single-family homes and at a 5.9-months' supply for townhouse-condo properties.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.87 percent in January 2016, up from the 3.67 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.