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Miami-Dade home and condo sales increased in May

Miami-Dade’s single-family home sales rose 14 percent in May from a year earlier, as buyers rushed to snap up a dwindling supply of houses, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.

The number of condo sales rose 10 percent in May from the prior year, the association said.

The median sales price of a single family home in Miami-Dade rose 6 percent to $190,000 in May from the prior year, marking the sixth month in a row of increases. The median condo price climbed 22 percent to $151,000, the Realtors’ group reported.

The inventory of residences on the market shrunk 33 percent since May of last year and was down 3 percent between May and April.

“The number of applications coming in for new purchases is just crazy,’’ said Adam Cohn, senior mortgage banker of Main Street Financial a mortgage bank and brokerage in Deerfield Beach. “A lot of the feedback we get from people is they want to jump in because home prices are creeping up a little bit in value.’’

Across Florida, single family home sales rose 7.2 percent in May from the year-ago month, while condo sales were up 5.4 percent in May compared with a year earlier.

The number of existing homes sold nationwide in May fell 1.5 percent from April, but posted a 9.6 percent increase over May 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors.

In a statement, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, attributed May’s decline in sales from April to tight inventory, “rather than softening demand.’’

The national median price on an existing home rose 7.9 percent to $182,600 in May from a year earlier, marking the third month in a row to show a year-over-year increase, the NAR said Thursday.

Distressed properties remain in high demand in South Florida, though they are a dwindling part of the overall home sales.

The Miami Realtors’ group said 46 percent of all home closings in Miami-Dade in May were distressed sales, down from 57 percent in May 2011 and 47 percent in April 2012.

While the housing market in South Florida is recovering, the road will likely be long and rocky. Foreclosures are again on the rise, a trend that is expected to continue. The recent settlement of massive litigation brought against banks by 49 state attorneys general has provided lenders with more clarity on proper procedures in moving against delinquent mortgages.

At a town hall meeting set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the West Dade Public Library at 9445 SW 24 St. in Miami, a group of community-action organizations plan to talk with struggling homeowners to explain the various options available to stave off foreclosure or lower payment burdens.

“A lot of people know there was a $25-billion settlement with the attorneys general, but they don’t know what it means,’’ said Camila Gallardo, a spokeswoman for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group that is working with HOPE Fair Housing Center, Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida and the Cuban American National Council on the town hall program.