Housing Market Report
In Florida, buyers closed on 18,159 single-family homes in January 2016, up 0.4 percent, but condo sales fell 5.4 percent to 7,658 units.
Homes statewide sold for a median $200,000, 11.1 percent more than last year, while condos traded for $150,000, a 5.6 percent gain.
“The trends we’re seeing in closed sales and new listings have led to two straight months of rising inventory levels in both property type categories,” said Florida Realtors chief economist Brad O’Connor. “Single-family home inventory was still 3.8 percent lower than it was at the end of February 2015, but this is still an improvement over January’s 7.4 percent year-over-year decline.
“Year-over-year inventory growth in the condo/townhome market, on the other hand, was strongly positive for a change, at 6 percent,” he said.
The trade group has revised prior-years’ results to reflect a new data collection system started last month, but it said revisions were minor.
In the nation
Nationwide, Americans retreated from home-buying in February, reversing months of prior gains as low inventories pushed up prices to levels that restrict sales.
The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes fell 7.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million. The decline follows robust yearly sales rates of 5.47 million in January and 5.45 million in December.
The housing market enters the traditional spring buying season facing a quandary: There are relatively few properties listed for sale, even as steady job gains and low mortgage rates have bolstered demand from would-be buyers. The limited supplies have fueled rising prices that have, in turn, reduced affordability and limited sales levels. These cost pressures were further enhanced by a volatile stock market that hit down payment savings.
“We assume the plunge in the stock market in the first six weeks of this year persuaded some potential homebuyers to reconsider, at least temporarily,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Shepherdson noted that sales momentum “stalled” in February, but sales volumes might pick up in the spring.
The national median home sales price was $210,800 in February, a 4.4 percent annual increase from a year ago.
Herald Tribune March 21, 2016