Courtesy of New-Press.com, “Area can’t match housing spike” September 20,2012
Housing figures released Wednesday were good news for Florida and the United States.
Prices and sales both increased in August from a year earlier, according to statistics released by Florida and national Realtors.
The news was not quite as good in Southwest Florida.
Sales of single-family homes in Florida rose 10.8 percent in August from a year earlier. But Brett Ellis, head of the Ellis Team with Re/Max Realty Group in Fort Myers, said local numbers were much more tempered.
“We don’t have the inventory to sell like we did,” he said.
The local report put the inventory of single-family homes in August at 4,232, a 39.6 percent decrease (2,779 homes) from a year earlier.
“I could sell a lot more homes if we had the inventory,” he said. “Several years ago we had an inventory of about 15,000 homes.”
Ellis added the supply was putting a bit of pressure on prices.
“But we’re not going to get 2005 prices,” he said. “There’s no economy to support it.”
The National Association of Realtors said national sales of existing single-family homes, townhouses, condos and co-ops rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million units in August, up from an annual rate of 4.47 million in July. The rate exceeded analysts’ expectations.
In a separate release, the Realtor Association of Fort Myers and the Beach put the number of single-family homes sold in August at 875 — down 21.7 percent from August 2011. August 2012’s number was also down 2.5 percent from the 897 single-family homes sold in July.
Good news from the association included the higher selling prices of traditional homes that helped boost the area’s overall median price, an increase of 30.9 percent in August to $127,000 from $97,000 a year ago. It was the sixth month in a row that the median price has been above $125,000.
“The market indicators are up in Southwest Florida,” said Marion Briggs, association president, in a statement about the local numbers. “For the past six months the median price has remained above $125,000, due largely in part to the fact that traditional properties have been the majority of our single home sales, which is very good news.”
In Collier County, a report by the Naples Area Board of Realtors, showed overall pending sales up 16 percent in the $500,000 to $1 million category, from 939 units to 1,091 units, for the 12 months ending August 2012. Overall pending sales increased 10 percent in the $1 million to $2 million category, from 424 units to 466 units, for the same period.
Additionally, overall pending sales in the Naples coastal area increased 10 percent from 1,779 units to 1,950 units, and closed sales increased 9 percent, from 1,586 units to 1,732 units, for the 12-month period ending August 2012.
“The market is shifting to higher-priced properties,” Ernesto Velasquez of United Real Estate said in a press release from the Naples Realtors. “The number of sales under $300,000 decreased which indicates increased values of real estate and market advancement.”
On the national level, the median sale price was $187,400 in August, up 9.5 percent from a year earlier. It was the biggest year-over-year increase since January 2006, shortly before the housing bubble burst. August marked the sixth straight month of year-over-year price increase, which had not happened since early 2006, the Realtors group said.
The Florida Realtors also reported the median price of homes sold climbed, but not as dramatically. Half of the Florida homes sold in August cost more than $147,000, an increase of 5.8 percent from a year earlier.
While prices have risen, the inventory of available homes has dropped, a sign that prices may continue to rise as buyers compete for fewer homes on the market. There is now a 5.3-month inventory of homes, Florida Realtors Chief Economist John Tuccillo said in a statement released Wednesday with the statewide results.
“Everything that should be going up is going up, and everything that should be going down is going down,” said Tuccillo. “After the six years of turmoil that we had, it’s good to see the trends strongly moving in the right direction.”
Nationally, single-family home sales rose 9.3 percent in August from a year ago. The national median price for all housing types was $187,400 in August, up 9.5 percent from a year ago.
“The housing market is steadily recovering with consistent increases in both home sales and median prices,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “More buyers are taking advantage of excellent housing affordability conditions.”
On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott pointed to strong housing sales as a sign the economy was getting back on its feet. While unemployment and job-creation figures have shown mixed results and been interpreted differently, home sales continued to improve.