Florida’s housing market continued its positive track in August with more closed sales, higher median prices and a tightening inventory, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Closed sales of existing single-family homes statewide totaled 23,605 last month, up 8.6 percent over August 2014.
“It’s been a summer of positive growth, showing strong gains in closed sales and median prices,” said 2015 Florida Realtors President Andrew Barbar. “Statewide, median sales prices increased year-over-year for both single-family homes and townhouse-condo properties for the 45th month in a row in August. Closed sales rose for single-family homes and for townhouse-condo units, and it’s taking less time to complete or close those transactions: a median of 45 days for single-family homes and 54 days for townhouse-condos.
“We will continue to monitor what appears to be a tight supply of homes available for sale in many markets, and any rise in interest rates that could possibly slow buyer activity.”
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $199,900, up 11.1 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in August was $150,000, up 10.3 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in July 2015 was $235,500, up 5.8 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $221,800. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in July was $488,260; in Massachusetts, it was $365,000; in Maryland, it was $282,107; and in New York, it was $242,000.
Looking at Florida’s townhouse-condo market, statewide closed sales rose last month with a total of 9,262, up 4.1 percent compared to August 2014. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales in August: Short sales for townhouse-condo properties declined 43.7 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 36.2 percent. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
“Home sales in Florida are beginning to moderate, even as inventory gets tighter,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “The August gains in sales for both single-family homes as well as condos and townhouses are lower than they were in the late spring and early summer. We expect the current pace of growth to be typical for the rest of the year.
“Both time on market and months of inventory are down, but they present very different pictures. Houses at all price levels are selling faster than they were a year ago, but months of inventory have actually increased somewhat at prices above $300,000. We are still seeing significant inventory tightness in the lower price ranges.That trend, together with rising rents, poses something of a challenge for companies seeking to relocate to Florida in need of potential workforce housing.”
Inventory continues to tighten, with a 4.3-months’ supply in August for single-family homes and a 5.2-months’ supply for townhouse-condo properties, according to Florida Realtors. Most analysts consider a 6-month supply of inventory as the benchmark for a balanced market between buyers and sellers.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.91 percent in August 2015, down from the 4.12 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.