Sun Begins to Break on Florida Housing Market
After a few years of torrential storms blowing against the housing market, residential real estate in the Sunshine State is breaking through the dark clouds. Although the forecast calls for scattered rain showers in 2011, the media is starting to report rays of light that signal a recovery.
Consumers are definitely shopping—and they are buying even if it is for good deals.
On the shopping front, an Experian Hitwise webinar reveals traffic to real estate web sites is up 27 percent in February. That’s the highest gain since the first half of 2009. Although rentals are the key beneficiary, it still bodes well for investors trying to rent property and hold on until property values rise.
But consumers are also buying single-family homes and condos across Florida, and specifically in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Seems that confidence is starting to slowly come back even if prices are not moving much.
Home and condo sales rose in Florida rose during February, according to the Florida Realtors. Existing home sales increased 13 percent in February with a total of 13,701 homes sold statewide compared to 12,164 homes sold in February 2010. And February’s statewide sales of existing condos rose 29 percent compared to the previous year’s sales figure. Meanwhile, Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $121,900. A year ago, it was $124,500 for a 2 percent decrease.
The Miami Association of Realtors and the Southeast Florida Multiple Listing Service is also reporting good news. Single-family homes and condominiums sales in Miami-Dade County increased 22 percent in February compared to a year earlier. One stand out on the condo front is Canyon Ranch in Miami Beach, where 46 units have sold since October 2010. Ft. Lauderdale posted an 8 percent month-over-month gain in February even as housing inventory declined.
“The housing market is healing with sales fluctuating at times, depending on the flow of distressed properties coming on the market,” says National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “The broad fundamentals for a housing recovery are developing. Job growth, high housing affordability and rising apartment rent are conducive to bringing more buyers into the market.”
I want to agree with Yun. Although there are still areas of South Florida where the housing market is raw, the massive bleeding has eased. Distressed properties are getting worked out, albeit slowly. With the economy showing signs of improvement and the job market seeing an uptick in South Florida, there is hope for investors and homeowners alike that the worst of the torrential storms may have blown past us.
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