HOUSING

South Florida home prices up again in December

 
 
Broward home sales and prices rose again in November.
Broward home sales and prices rose again in November.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

mbrannigan@MiamiHerald.com

More people want to own homes in South Florida, and they’re spending more money to do so, as the local market finished 2013 with solid price increases.

“Despite more homeowners listing homes for sale in Greater Miami, strong demand continues to yield rapid absorption,” Francisco Angulo, residential president of the Miami Association of Realtors, said in a statement Thursday. “Such demand is driving significant price appreciation.”

Still, after a frenzied pace of price increases over two years, experts expect slower price gains through 2014. “It should be in the single-digit range,” said Liza Mendez, chairman of the Miami Association of Realtors and broker/owner of Pedro Realty International in Hialeah. “That’s the expectation —and that’s a solid market.”

“With inventory levels going up a little bit, prices are going to be a little more steady, which is a good thing. I think they were going up a little too much a little too quickly,” said Nelson Gonzalez, a luxury broker and senior vice president at EWM Realty International in Miami Beach.

The median price of a single-family home in Miami-Dade County rose 15 percent to $246,180 in December from $214,060 a year earlier and was up 5.9 percent from November 2013, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.

Miami-Dade single-family home sales rose 9.8 percent in December, with 1,140 closings, up from 1,038 a year earlier, the Realtors’ group said. Single-family home sales in Miami-Dade jumped 16 percent from November 2013 levels, which had showed a modest dip in sales.

The median price of a Miami-Dade condo rose 7.4 percent to $175,000 from $163,000 a year earlier, but was down 2.8 percent from November. Miami-Dade condo sales rose 2.2 percent in December to 1,426 closings from 1,395 a year earlier and were up 11.9 percent from November.

Those results reflect a slowing from earlier in 2013, when double-digit gains in price and sales volume were common.

Broward County’s housing recovery also stayed on track as the median price of a single-family home rose 16.9 percent to $268,950 in December from $230,000 a year earlier. It was essentially flat with November.

Single-family home sales in Broward rose 5 percent to 1,300 closings from 1,238 in December 2012 and were up 20.8 percent from November, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said.

The median price of a Broward condo jumped 26.2 percent to $120,000 from $95,100 a year earlier and was up 2.6 percent from November, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said. Condo sales in Broward slipped 1.5 percent to 1,340 closings in December from 1,361 a year earlier. Sales increased 11.1 percent from the prior month.

“The moderate supply of inventory, continued leveling of the number of homes coming on the market and a slight moderation in housing prices indicates that Broward County ended 2013 with a stable housing market,” Marnie E. Allen, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors, said in a statement.

The sharp rise in home prices over the last couple years is encouraging more homeowners to list their properties for sale. In Broward, the inventory of single-family homes increased 16 percent year over year, and condo listings on the Multiple Listing Service expanded 18.9 percent from December 2012.

The solid trend of rising prices has lifted many mortgaged homes out of negative equity, freeing homeowners to sell without having to worry about cutting a check at the closing table.

Buyers’ enthusiasm remained strong in Broward in December: Single-family homes sold at a median pace of 31 days, down from 37 a year earlier, and condos went at a median of 40 days, down from 41 a year earlier.

With strong demand, Broward had just a four-month supply of single-family homes listed for sale and a 5.1-month supply of condos in December. That signals it’s still a seller’s market, where sellers have the upper hand to stand firm on prices. Single-family homes fetched 95.2 percent of their original asking price and condos reaped 94.2 percent, the Realtors group said.

In Miami-Dade, the inventory of single-family homes jumped 16 percent from a year earlier and condos listings rose 27.2 percent year over year. Miami-Dade had a seven-month supply of condos listed for sale in December, shifting the balance more toward buyers compared with a year earlier when there was a 5.7-month supply. Experts consider a six-month supply to be a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

It took a little bit longer to sell a Miami-Dade condo in December: The median was 52 days on the market, up from 46 days a year earlier, Miami Realtors said. Single-family homes in Miami-Dade sold at a median of 41 days on the market compared with 42 in December 2012.

Read more Broward stories from the Miami Herald

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