Many Realtors, including Ron Shuffield, president of EWM Realty International in Coral Gables, say they would prefer a more gradual rise in prices to allow for income levels and other factors to keep pace.
“I don’t want to spook anyone here. Over my career, I would much rather see a steadier increase in the 7 percent to 10 percent [annual] range for a long period rather than a burst of increases over a shorter period,” he said.
Still, Shuffield stressed that the large percentage gains are from very low prices that overcorrected in the crash, and that the market still has plenty of room to keep rising.
“Now is the time to jump in and buy,” he said. “Interest rates are at their lowest in a lifetime. There is credit available, and properties are still selling at below replacement costs.”
With strong demand and limited inventory, homes are selling fast. In Broward, single-family homes were on the market an average of just 30 days before being snapped up, compared with 46 days last year. Condos and townhomes sold, on average, in 44 days, down from 46 days in March 2012.
In March, Broward had just a 3.5-month of supply of existing single-family homes, a measure of the absorption rate, compared with 5.2 months a year earlier. The inventory of Broward condos and townhouses fell to a 4.4-month supply, down from 5 months in March 2012, Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said.
Miami-Dade had a 5.1-month supply of existing single-family homes in March, down from 6.3 months a year earlier. For condos, Miami-Dade had a 5.9-month supply in March, down from 6.3 months a year ago.
A six-month supply is generally considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers.
Amid the tight inventory and strong demand, homes fetched closer to their asking prices. Broward sellers got 95.6 percent of the listing price for single-family homes in March, up from 91 percent a year earlier. Condos went for 93.7 percent of asking price, up 2.7 percentage points from a year earlier.
In Miami-Dade, single-family homes went for 95.3 percent of the asking price, up from 92.5 percent in March 2012; condos sold at 96.6 percent of asking price in March, compared with 95.1 percent a year earlier.
South Florida’s housing revival comes amid a national rebound. The national median existing-home price rose 11.8 percent year over year.
The increase in March was the strongest since November 2005, when it was 12.9 percent year over year, according to the National Association of Realtors. Nationally, existing-home sales were up 10.3 percent in March from a year earlier.
Across Florida, the median prices of an existing single-family home rose 15.2 percent year over year; for condos, it was 15.9 percent.