ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 29, 2005 — The pace of Florida’s housing market eased somewhat in November — traditionally a slower month for home sales — with statewide sales of existing single-family homes totaling 17,219 for a 1 percent increase over last year’s sales activity of 17,110 homes, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR). Housing markets nationwide are starting to see a better balance between demand and supply, according to many housing industry analysts, placing homebuyers and sellers on a more even footing.
The statewide median sales price rose 31 percent in November to $250,500; a year ago, it was $191,300. In November 2000, the statewide median sales price was $117,900, which is an increase of about 112 percent over the five-year period. The median is the midpoint, which is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half for less.The national median sales price for existing single-family homes was $216,200 in October, up 16.6 percent over last year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median resales price was $538,770 in October; in Maryland, it was $297,682; in New York, it was $269,000; and in North Carolina, the average resales price was $215,762.Interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.33 percent in November, up from the 5.73 percent rate recorded last year. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.Among the state’s larger metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
MSA reported higher figures in both sales and median price last month, with a total of 3,799 existing single-family homes changing hands for a 16 percent increase over the 3,276 homes sold last year. The market’s median sales price increased 33 percent to $222,900; a year ago, it was $167,100.George Bodmer, president of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors and co-owner of Bayside Realty Group Inc. notes that mortgage rates, while edging up, remained favorable in November, which encouraged buyers to enter the market.
“The real estate market follows the jobs, and this area is basically a community that goes to work,” he says. “We’ve got places to work, places to play, good schools and even with high demand and a tight inventory, we’ve been fortunate in that we still have homes available to buy. Buyers know housing is a good investment.”Other larger markets reporting higher sales in November include: Jacksonville,
where 1,425 homes sold for a 20 percent gain; and Orlando, where 2,656 homes changed hands for a 2 percent increase. The median sales price also rose in both markets: in Orlando, 45 percent to $254,600; and in Jacksonville, 17 percent to $190,000.
Among the state’s mid-sized MSAs, Fort Myers/Cape Coral reported a 4 percent increase in home sales last month, with a total of 810 homes sold compared to 778 homes changing hands last year. The area’s median sales price rose 49 percent over the same period to $295,400; a year ago, it was $197,800
Brett Ellis, a Realtor with The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group had a feeling November would turn out like it did. “After Hurricane Wilma, the market slowed dramatically, which isn’t surprising really. Like last year, it took several weeks for cleanup and recovery, so people were busy doing other things, combined with entering the Holiday season. Additionally, numbers at the bottom of the scale were down most, which is a large percentage of the sales. With rising prices, rising taxes, insurance costs, and interest rates, it was bound to catch up at some point, and the first-time home buyer are usually the first to feel the effects.”
Among the state’s smaller MSAs, Tallahassee reported a 21 percent increase in home sales last month, with a total of 357 homes sold compared to 296 homes changing hands last year. The area’s median sales price rose 12 percent over the same period to $179,800; a year ago, it was $160,600.
“Tallahassee has a lot to offer and buyers are realizing it’s a great place to live,” says Mike Ferrie, president of the Tallahassee Board of Realtors and sales associate with Blue Chip Realty Inc. “Our economy is strong, with diverse business and employment opportunities. And the forecast for jobs in this area continues to be good for the future as well.”
Other smaller MSAs in the state also had higher home resales last month, including: Lakeland-Winter Haven, where 475 homes changed hands for a 17 percent boost; and Gainesville, where 275 homes sold for a 13 percent gain. The median sales price in those markets also rose over the same period: in Lakeland-Winter Haven, 37 percent to $166,900; and in Gainesville, 18 percent to $197,100.
A chart showing statistics for Florida and its 20 MSAs is available by clicking here. The chart compares the volume of existing, single-family home sales and median sales prices in November 2005 to November 2004, based on Realtor transactions.