South Florida’s existing home prices continued to rise in May

A shortage of supply is continuing to raise the sticker prices on single-family homes across South Florida, according to monthly data reports released Monday.

Median and average sales prices are still rising in nearly every sector in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Continuing 30 months of climbing, the median sales price of an existing single-family home in Miami-Dade County rose 12.6 percent to $250,000 from last May and was up 2.9 percent from April, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.

“The Miami real estate market continues to perform well as demand remains historically strong but while fueling more balanced price growth,” said Liza Mendez, 2014 chairman of the Board of the Miami Association of Realtors, in a statement.

The average Miami-Dade single-family home sales price rose dramatically to $495,525 from $408,021 last May, an increase of 21.4 percent, and 5.6 percent from April.

Christopher Zoller, the Miami Realtors Residential Board of Governors’ 2014 president-elect, attributed the increase to a surge in the high end of the market.

“There seems to be more demand for the luxury product,” Zoller said.

Miami-Dade condos and townhouses saw the only median sales price decrease. The 3.4 percent fall from April reflected an increase in sales of lower-priced units and foreclosures, Zoller said. The average Miami-Dade condo sales price was $384,900, up 3.8 percent from $370,843 last May, and up 2.4 percent from April.

The biggest change in Broward County was a 13.4 percent increase from April in the average price of single-family homes to $390,755 from $344,663, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors. That reflects a 12.1 percent increase from May 2013.

Richard Barkett, CEO of Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors, said the run-up in price is due to a decrease in inventory, causing demand to rise along with prices.

The median sales price of an existing single-family home in Broward also rose, by 9.8 percent to $280,000 from last May and was up 2.6 percent from April.

Broward median condo prices rose 16.8 percent from last May to $126,150, and 5.1 percent increase from April. Average sale prices jumped by 14.4 percent from a year earlier to $180,522 but just 1.4 percent from April.

“Buyers are feeling more confident as they are willing to pay more for a valuable home or property,” Marnie E. Allen, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors, said in a statement. “Sellers are equally confident that they will sell in a reasonable amount of time and receive close to what their original asking price was.”

The median time on the market for single family homes was 34 days in Broward County and almost two weeks longer, 47 days, in Miami-Dade.

While rising, inventory of single-family homes in Broward is still tight at 4.8 months, up from 3.4 in May 2013 and 4.6 in April. In Miami-Dade there was 5.5 months of inventory in May. Market-watchers consider six months of inventory a market balanced between buyers and sellers.

At the other end of the inventory spectrum are Miami-Dade condos, where there is a 7.7-month supply. In Broward, it’s 5.8 months. Miami-Dade’s buyer-favored market reflects a surge in condo construction, creating more options for buyers.

Despite a move toward a more balanced inventory, May still saw a decrease in new listings from April. In Miami-Dade, new listings decreased by 3.8 percent for single-family homes and by 6.8 percent for condos.

In Broward, new listings decreased by 4 percent for condos and remained flat for single-family homes from April.

New listings aren’t the only things affected by the run-up in prices, cash sales, too are down in both Miami-Dade and Broward.

Cash sales represented 66.9 percent of Miami-Dade condo transactions, down from 70 percent in April. Cash sales for Miami-Dade single-family homes were 42.5 percent of closings, down from 45 percent in April.

“The majority of the cash buyers are usually out-of-town purchasers,” said Zoller. “They probably have left the market temporarily or during the spring time they are not as active.”

In Broward, 73 percent of condo sales and 38 percent of single-family home sales were cash transactions, compared to 75 and 39 percent in April, respectively.

Barkett, of Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors, said higher prices are to blame.

“Cash buyers, even though they are still major players, are not as active as home prices increase,” he said.

Nationally, the trend toward increasing home prices continues. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $213,400 in May, up 9.4 percent from April and 5.2 percent from last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. Total existing home sales increased 4.9 percent from April, but were 5 percent below May 2013.