Florida’s Housing Market Off 30 Percent from Last Year; Realtors Remain Optimistic

As the housing slowdown continues, Florida’s resale market continues to be hit hard, according to statistics released today by the Florida Association of Realtors. A total of 11,912 existing single-family homes sold statewide last month, a decrease of 30 percent from the 17,088 homes sold during the previous November. The statewide existing-home median price was $242,500 last month, a 3 percent drop from one year ago, when the median price stood at $250,400. In Florida’s condominium market, sales of existing units declined 36 percent from one year ago, with a total of 3,346 condos sold statewide compared to 5,198 in November 2005. The statewide median sales price for condos was reported at $206,000 for November, off 4 percent from one year ago. Among the state’s larger markets, the Orlando MSA reported 1,705 existing homes sold last month, compared to 2,656 homes sold a year ago — a 36 percent decrease. The market’s median existing home price increased 4 percent to $263,600, however, from one year ago. Condo prices have dropped 6 percent in Orlando over the same time period, according to the FAR.

Randy Martin, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association and a broker-associate with RE/MAX 200 Realty Inc. in Winter Park, struck an optimistic tone in spite of the gloomy resale numbers being reported. “With inventory at an all-time high and mortgage interest rates at an all-time low, it offers a great opportunity for buyers – one that is unlikely to be replicated,” he said. “The latest economic forecasts suggest that the real estate market correction is coming to an end, and that home prices will not be going any lower.” Of the state’s smaller markets, the Fort Pierce-Port St. Lucie MSA reported a total of 305 existing homes sold in November compared to 459 homes sold a year earlier for a 34 percent decrease. The area’s median existing home sales price was $247,600 last month; a year ago, it was $261,000 for a 5 percent decrease. Fifty-three existing condos sold in the MSA last month for a 2 percent decrease from the 54 condos sold a year ago. The market’s median existing condo price remained relatively flat at $174,000; a year ago, it was $173,300. “New business and industries are taking a strong interest in the region, following the lead of the Torrey Pines molecular research institute,” said Jerry Mabus, president of the Realtors Association of St. Lucie and broker associate with All Florida Realty Services in Port St. Lucie. He said he believes booming growth is in the area’s future despite the flat sales numbers reported for November. “Once an international player comes into a community, it changes everything,” he said. “Our area is prime for this kind of business development, and all factors are in play for the area to experience booming growth. Looking to 2007 and beyond, I see only good things ahead for the St. Lucie area.”

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