Solid demand for South Florida houses and condos drove the number of sales higher in October from a year earlier, though price increases slowed from their previous gallop amid a growing inventory of houses and condos for sale.
In Miami-Dade County, sales of existing single-family homes rose 13.6 percent year over year to 1,204 closings in October and were up 3.3 percent from September, the Miami Association of Realtors said.
Miami-Dade existing condo sales increased 6.5 percent in October from a year earlier to 1,508 closings and were up 5.8 percent from September.
The median price of a single-family home in Miami-Dade rose 9.1 percent year over year to $240,000 in October, while the median condo price rose 8.8 percent from a year earlier to $185,000. Those were solid price increases, but far below the double-digit gains of last year.
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In Broward County, the slowdown in home prices was more marked. The median price of a single-family home in Broward inched up 1.9 percent to $275,000 in October compared with a year earlier, while the median condo price rose 2.9 percent to $119,900 year over year, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said.
Those anemic price gains in Broward contrast with double-digit price spikes in 2013 as the housing market rebounded from its historic crash.
Amid the stabilizing prices in Broward, home and condo sales were strong in October.
Single-family home sales rose 14.8 percent to 1,393 closings in October from a year earlier. Broward condo sales rose 5.3 percent year over year to 1,441 closings, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said.
Homebuyers are finding a lot more to choose from as the inventory of homes and condos for sale in Miami-Dade and Broward counties continues to expand.
Those rising inventories are creating a more balanced market between buyers and sellers. “It’s an even playing field,’’ Anthony Askowitz, broker/owner of RE/MAX Advance Realty in Miami.
In Miami-Dade, existing condos are plentiful, and sellers face rising competition from the growing inventory of resales and the boom in new condo construction.
In October, 11,362 existing condo units were listed on the Multiple Listing Service — the highest level since April 2011. That was 8.2 months of supply, or 8.2 times the number of condos sold in a month, up from 6.5 months in October 2013.
Experts generally consider six months of supply to be a balanced market between buyers and sellers, with less than that favoring sellers and more giving buyers leverage to negotiate.
“A lot of buyers and investors are targeting new construction, as opposed to resales. They tend to like the newest, best and shiniest things — like a new car,’’ said Michael V. Smith, an agent with Fortune International Realty in Miami. “There’s been a cooling effect on the [existing condo] market.’’
The inventory of Miami-Dade single-family homes for sale remained more balanced, rising to 6,439 units, a 5.8 month supply, with listings up 15.6 percent from a year earlier.
In Broward, the inventory of single-family homes rose 36.3 percent to 6,574 units in October from 4,822 a year earlier. That amounted to 5.2 months of supply, up from a tight supply of 3.8 months in October 2013.
The inventory of Broward condos for sale jumped 24.4 percent to 8,325 units from 6,691 units in October 2013. That marked 6.1 months of supply for existing condos in Broward, up from 4.7 months a year earlier.
Realtors say many sellers have unrealistic expectations of how much their homes will fetch and haven’t adjusted to the new reality where buyers have more leverage than in the recent past.
“It’s a very balanced market, and the problem is, sellers don’t realize it,’’ said Stephen B. McWilliam, president of Florida State Realty Group in Fort Lauderdale and district vice president of Florida Realtors. “I’ve seen a couple of deals where buyers made serious offers,’’ and sellers overplayed their hands by demanding more and losing the sale, he said.
Houses and condos are sitting on the market a bit longer before finding a buyer.
In Miami-Dade, condos sold in a median of 58 days on the market — two weeks longer than in October 2013, while single-family homes sold in a median of 43 days, up from 40 days a year earlier.
In Broward, single-family homes sold in a median of 45 days, up from 30 days in October 2013. Condos sold at a median pace of 53 days, up from 37 days a year earlier.
Amid the growing inventory, buyers are negotiating slightly bigger price cuts. In Miami-Dade, single-family homes sold at an average of 95.3 percent of original list price, one percentage point below the prior year. Condos sold at 93.7 percent of original list price, down 3.9 percentage points year over year.
Broward single-family homes sold at an average of 93.6 percent of their original list price, a drop of 2.3 percentage points from a year earlier. Condos on average fetched 92.4 percent of original list prices, down 2.4 percent from October 2013, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said.