Florida Housing Market Review: March 2012

Florida Housing Market Review: March 2012

While we cannot classify the Florida housing market as “booming,” there have certainly been positive indications that things are headed in the right direction. January and February proved to be good months for the Florida housing market and the month of March contributed to a continued, positive trend. According to the Florida Realtors®  latest housing data, “Florida’s housing market had increased pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in March.” But what does all this mean to the average consumer?

An increase in pending sales means that buyers have gotten more aggressive and are now willing (and able) to purchase property in the state of Florida. Furthermore, the higher median prices indicate that buyers have driven up demand, thus inversely affecting the inventory of available homes. According to Florida Realtors President, Summer Greene, “with the continued steep decline of inventory, historically low interest rates and buyers no longer willing to wait on the sidelines, Florida’s real estate market continues on its road to recovery.” With pending sales for single-family homes up nearly 30 percent and pending sales for condos up almost 20 percent, the number of available homes and condos will continue to shrink as these turn into sold properties.

According to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department, and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing, “the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in March was $139,000, up 10.3 percent from the year-ago figure.” Comparatively, the median price for single-family existing homes in March was up from $134,000 in February 2012. Additionally, The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $105,000, up 20.8 percent over March 2011″ (Florida Realtors). While Florida single-family home median sales prices are less than the  national median of $157,100 that was reported in February 2012, consumers should still be encouraged at the progress that has been made and the positive signs the market is showing.

As the Florida housing market continues to rebound, it is worth noting that the number of “statewide sales of existing single-family homes totaled 18,370 in March, down 5.7 percent compared to the year-ago figure” (Florida Realtors). However, consumers must remember that despite the slight decrease in the number of sales, the number of pending sales has increased dramatically.

With an increase in the median home prices, it shows that buyers are now looking at higher priced properties and that the demand for higher priced homes is increasing. Similarly, those looking to purchase homes are able to do so at historically low interest rates. According to Freddie Mac, “the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95 percent in March 2012, down from the 4.84 percent average during the same month a year earlier.” Though this rate is minutely higher than the 3.89 percent rate for the month of February, buyers can still lock in to very “buyer-friendly” terms.

As we look at the progress that has been made in the Florida housing market over the past year, it is clear that we are past the “correction” stage and are well into the “stabilization” stage of this cycle. With the trough of the market in the rear-view mirror of economists, consumers can now take advantage of the surge in Florida real estate. The positive trends are expected to continue, which will mean that home prices will continue to rise, the available inventory of homes will continue to diminish, pending sales will become finalized, and the interest rates will begin to increase. The next few months could paint a clear picture as to just how fast the Florida housing market will grow. As we move further into 2012, there could very well be an even higher influx of buyers looking to take advantage of the deals that are available on the market today. The question that remains: how long can buyers wait before all of the good deals are gone?

If you have interest in property on Florida’s Gulf Coast, please click here, Southwest Florida Real Estate For Sale. For more information on a specific property, please contact Jim Mulligan, Suncoasteam Realty at 941-235-7474 or jim@suncoasteam.com.


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