Home sales in Miami rose year-over-year for the 11th consecutive month in March. The March report from DataQuick also revealed sizeable increases in mid- to high-end activity and a record level of sales to investors and other absentee buyers.
Miami’s median price paid for a home rose 14.1% year-over-year, marking the 15th consecutive month that the city saw a gain.
In March, there were 10,215 new and resale houses and condos closed in the metro area that encompasses Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. Sales in March rose 18.8% from February and 7.1% from one-year prior, according to DataQuick.
However, while a sharp gain between February and March is normal, the change between those two months has averaged 26.7% since 1997.
During the first quarter of 2013 — January through March — a total of 28,294 homes sold in the region, a 14.2% increase from the first-quarter of 2012.
Sales of homes that were priced below $100,000 dipped 11.2% year-over-year, while sub-$200,000 homes dropped 3.3%.
In Miami and other markets slammed by foreclosures in recent years, you tend to have the greatest inventory restraints in the most affordable areas — the bottom third or so of the market, says Andrew LePage, a spokesperson for DataQuick.
Supply can't meet demand. Why? Because typically there aren't as many homes being foreclosed on today compared with a year ago, meaning fewer foreclosed properties are up for sale.
"The more affordable neighborhoods are also where you have the highest concentration of folks who still owe more than their homes are worth. They can't afford to sell, further limiting the supply of homes on the market," said LePage, who notes that price appreciation has also pushed a number of homes out of the sub-$200,000 market and into a higher bracket.
Conversely, the number of homes sold between $200,000 and $600,000 increased 24.9% year-over-year, while the number of homes sold above the $800,000-mark jumped 27% from March 2012. This is where we’re seeing a lot of pent-up demand, LePage adds.
Over the past year we've seen more strength in the economy and housing market. Gradually more and more folks have gained enough confidence in their jobs, the economy and the housing market to buy a home. Meanwhile, mortgage interest rates fell to historic lows, yanking more people off the housing market sidelines, says LePage.
"Among buyers there's been a big shift in psychology in the span of a year, where fewer worry about prices falling and more worry they'll rise (making it harder to buy)," LePage said. "Also, keep in mind that price appreciation means that a greater portion of the housing stock will sell for more than $200K this year, helping to boost sales at the lower end of that $200,000-to-$600,000 range."
The multi-million-dollar luxury market in Miami saw 124 homes sold for $2 million or more in March, a 63.2% increase year-over-year. In 2013’s first quarter, 278 homes sold for $2 million or more, a 48.7% jump from the same period last year.