Broward County’s existing-home prices rise in July

Broward County’s housing market showed more signs of moderating in July as the diminishing crowd of investors was replaced by buyers who plan to live in their homes.

The median price of an existing single-family home rose 3.3 percent to $285,000 in July from a year earlier and was up 1.8 percent from June, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said.

Sales of single-family Broward homes increased 3.1 percent in July to 1,516 closings, from 1,471 a year earlier, and rose 6.4 percent from June. That marked the highest level of single-family home sales in Broward in recent years.

Those are healthy gains, but a far cry from the double-digit sales and price increases seen as the housing market rebounded from its historic crash.

The condo market in Broward, meanwhile, continued to soften. Year-over-year sales of existing Broward condos flattened in October 2013 and were down eight of the past nine months.

Sales of existing Broward condos plunged 7.1 percent in July to 1,420 closings and were down 5 percent from June, fueled in part by the pullback by investors.

The median condo price rose 18 percent year over year in July to $128,000, but fell 1.5 percent from June, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said.

Stephen B. McWilliam, president of Florida State Realty Group and Broward County district vice president for the Florida Realtors, said the decline in investors is being offset by a healthy increase in owner-occupants wading into the market as mortgages become more available.

“There are a lot more mortgage options for people than there were a year ago,” said McWilliam, who also heads Florida State Mortgage Group. “The mortgage market has loosened up completely.”

The inventory of existing condos listed for sale in Broward rose 33.5 percent in July to 7,986 units, and the supply increased to 5.9 months from a tight market of 4.3 months’ supply in July 2013.

Experts generally consider six months of supply, or six times the volume of monthly sales, to be a balanced market between buyers and sellers, with less than that tipping the balance toward sellers and more than that favoring buyers.

The Miami Association of Realtors expects to release Miami-Dade County data Friday.