“In many cases properties are selling above appraised value and sellers are getting multiple offers,” McWilliam said. “You’ve got frustrated buyers and they’ve missed out on homes and they’re not going to miss out again.’’
The outlook for Broward also appears good: The number of pending sales of single family homes in Broward spiked 70.8 percent to 1,981 in October from 1,160 in October 2011. For townhouse and condos, pending sales, or the number of transactions under contract, leaped 45.5 percent year over year to 1,992 units from 1,369, the Realtors said.
Also buoying sales: historically low mortgage rates. Carlos Delpino and his wife closed last week on a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Westchester after shopping since last spring. The neighborhood is great, “and you’re getting the money almost for free. At 3.5 percent, the rates are low,” said Delpino, an engineer who plans to live in the 1950s vintage house with his wife, two daughters “and a dog.”
Meanwhile, state-wide sales of single-family homes jumped 25.3 percent in October from a year earlier with a 9 percent gain in the median sales price, Florida Realtors reported. The inventory of homes available statewide plunged 31.2 percent from last October.
Cash-rich foreign buyers, especially Latin Americans, continue to play a pivotal role in South Florida’s housing market.
Searching for a safe haven amid uncertainty around the globe, and in some cases at home, Latin Americans continue to plunk down cash for condos and houses in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Capital flight from Argentina and Venezuela are particularly visible, agents say. At a real estate roundtable Nov. 15 sponsored by The Real Deal magazine and Vizcayne condominium, Philip Spiegelman, principal of International Sales Group, a Miami-based condominium marketing firm, said the recent re-election of Venezuela’s leftist president, Hugo Chavez, prompted his peers to jokingly name Chavez “salesman of the year,” spawning laughter throughout a standing-room-only crowd of real estate agents at the glittering Vizcayne condominium complex downtown.
For foreign and domestic buyers, cash is king.
In Miami-Dade, 63.7 percent of closed sales were all cash in October, on par with the 64 percent in October 2011 and 62.4 percent in September 2012. Cash sales totaled 46 percent of single-family closings and 77.6 percent of condo sales, the Miami Realtors group said.
South Florida’s housing picture still has considerable challenges. A key reason that inventory is tight: Many people in South Florida owe more on their homes than they could sell them for. Zillow reported last week that 41.4 percent of Miami-Fort Lauderdale area homes with mortgages had negative equity in the third quarter.
In addition, Florida ranks No. 1 in the nation for foreclosure activity: One of every 312 Florida housing units in October got some type of foreclosure filing, ranging from default notices to scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, RealtyTrac reported last week..
While upbeat about South Florida real estate, Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell in Coral Gables, told a roundtable last week “The one thing I worry about sometimes: The foreclosure market is still out there.”