Florida home, condo sales rise for third year as prices fall
Home and condo sales in the Sunshine State rose for the third straight year in 2011, though prices continued their descent, according to Florida Realtors. Single-family existing home sales across the state increased 8% to 185,291 from 2010. Condo sales for 2011 jumped 15% to 87,581. The Florida totals outpace nationwide trends in existing home sales. The National Association of Realtors reported 1.7% growth in U.S. existing home sales for 2011. Summer Greene, president of Florida Realtors, said the state's economy is improving but lending requirements continue to create barriers for homebuyers. "To re-energize the housing market and the economic recovery, we need improved access to affordable financing options for qualified buyers and investors," Greene said in a release Friday. The median sales price dipped 3% for existing homes in 2011 to $131,700 and condo prices fell 2% to $88,300. Florida fell behind the national yearly median price of $166,100, according to NAR. December sales in Florida dipped 2% for both homes and condos from the year earlier, as Florida Realtors reported 15,290 homes and 6,836 condos sold. The figures, however, rose from 12,993 homes and 5,590 in November. Despite the December declines, John Tuccillo, chief economist for Florida Realtors, said the group expects sales to continue to increase in 2012. "Prices are moderating, but we don't expect too much movement owing to the continuing significance of distressed properties," Tuccillo said. The Florida trade group said 16 of the state's 19 metro areas recorded increases in home and condo sales for 2011. That includes Miami, which posted gains in home and condo sales of 36% and 54%, respectively. Write to Andrew Scoggin. Follow him on Twitter @ascoggin.