Prices were up across the board in January for Miami-Dade homes and condos, with the biggest gains coming from single-family homes.
Median sale prices for single-family homes increased by 13.7 percent in January over January 2015. Prices for condominiums and townhouses rose 8.75 percent during the same period, according to data released Wednesday by the Miami Association of Realtors, which tracks only existing properties.
The median sale price of a single-family home in January climbed to $270,000, versus $237,500 in January 2015. The median sale price of condos increased from $188,500 in January 2015 to $205,000 in January.
Duff Rubin, regional senior vice president of Coldwell-Banker, said he believes the price increase is because of the relatively low number of homes for sale relative to the high demand.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
“It’s a seller’s market,” he said. “With inventories being so low, other than the condo market, where we’ve seen new properties come online, I feel that appreciation comes from a lack of inventory. Buyers have few options.”
The number of listings for single-family homes fell from 6,524 in January 2015 to 6,372 in January 2016, a 2 percent drop.
At its current pace, the market for single-family homes is set to have a 5.5-month supply, slightly lower than the six-month repository that generally indicates a healthy housing market, Duffy said.
“You certainly don’t see a lot of single-family homes being built. Doral has some, and West Palm Beach, but … condos take less space.”
The number of condos available for sale grew by 14.1 percent in January, from 11,791 in January 2015 to 13,454.
Despite the increase in inventory, the actual number of condos sold year-over-year decreased by 10 percent, from 1,080 in January 2015 to 972 in January.
Single-family home sales dropped more sharply than condo sales, by 14.4 percent from 963 to 824 in the respective period.
Condos sold at list prices increased slightly, by 0.3 percent, to encompass 93.3 percent of sales. Meanwhile, more than 95 percent of single-family homes sold at list price, up 1.3 percent from the previous year.
“Single-family is really in demand,” said Douglas Elliman Realtor Jeff Morr. “I think we’re in a period where things that are priced well will sell. This year is a year of opportunity for real buyers to get nice deals.”
Morr pointed to areas like Skylake, in North Miami, and Hollywood as hotbeds of value.
“Growing up, it’s where all my rich friends lived. Those people, who are now my friends’ parents, are selling their 1970s homes that are still good homes but totally outdated. So people are buying those homes, gutting them,” he said. “These places have phenomenal value.”
For Realtors and buyers, the sweet spot was far more affordable than the luxury sales that typically snag headlines: Sales of single-family homes in the $250,000 to $400,000 range spiked by 18.3 percent in January, accounting for more than 30 percent of all single-family home transactions.
“These are local people buying their first or second home,” Morr said. “People of middle-income means are finally able to get loans again,” after the subprime-mortgage scare of the 2008 crash. With mortgage rates at 3.87 percent in January, according to Freddie Mac, and interest rates sitting below 4 percent, the housing market is friendly to potential buyers.
Still, cash remains king, with 52.6 percent of all sales coming in all-cash sales. Though that is more than double the national average of 26 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors, it represents a decrease from 2015, when cash sales accounted for 57.3 percent of sales.
The shift hints at troubled economies across the world and a strong dollar.
“If you have a slowdown in Canadian, Latin, Russian, European, Asian economies, you’ll see a decrease in cash buyers,” said Rubin of Coldwell-Banker. “You’re seeing more traditional, local buyers represented, and traditional buyers usually go with mortgage.”
Distressed sales — including short sales and foreclosure sales — decreased to 22.2 percent of all residential sales in the county, from 34.9 percent a year ago. That’s well above the national average of 9 percent but a significant improvement post-recession; in January 2009, 49 percent of all Miami-Dade sales involved distressed homes.
Debora Lima is on Twitter @dtdlima