Broward County

South Florida home prices and sales rose in September

Juiced by foreign buyers and investors, South Florida’s housing market registered strong gains in September.

The latest price and sales increases — mirroring a string of similar results in prior months — underscore a solid housing recovery for a region hard-hit by the real estate crash.

The median price of a single-family home in Miami-Dade County jumped 18.4 percent in September to $225,000 from $190,000 a year earlier, while the median condo price rose 21.3 percent year over year to $181,875 from $150,000, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.

In Broward, the median price for a single-family home jumped 31.7 percent in September to $270,000 from $205,000 a year earlier, and was up 18 percent to $104,999 from $89,000 for condos and townhouses year over year, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors.

Sales of Miami-Dade single-family homes rose by 21.8 percent with 1,108 closings in September, up from 910 a year earlier, while Miami-Dade condo sales increased 4.6 percent to 1,352 closings from 1,292 a year earlier.

Miami-Dade — ground zero during the real estate bust — has now chalked up 27 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases for condominiums and 22 months of year-over-year price increases for single-family homes.

The housing market kept humming in Broward County, as well.

Sales of Broward single-family homes rose 13.4 percent in September to 1,211 from 1,068 a year earlier, and condo sales rose 6.6 percent to 1,252 units from 1,174 a year earlier.

“Everything is still trending up,” said Stephen B. McWilliam, president and broker at Florida StateRealty Group in Fort Lauderdale and immediate past president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors.

Cash continues to be king: 71 percent of Miami-Dade condo closings in September were cash deals.

“It’s putting a lot of strain on buyers with 5 percent or 10 percent down. They can’t have choices,” said Michael Davalos, an agent with Coldwell Banker in Miami Beach who just helped a buyer nail a deal on a foreclosed house after a protracted search.

Eric Schneider, a first-time homebuyer who was looking to put down 20 percent, said he made several offers in the past eight months that didn’t pan out before he finally clinched a foreclosed property in the Richmond Heights neighborhood. “Certainly, at times, there’s been a lot of competition,” said Schneider, who works in healthcare.

Inventory remained relatively tight in both counties during September, although the supply of Miami-Dade condos listed for sale jumped 20.5 percent to 8,970 units from 7,442 units a year earlier. That amounted to a 6.3-month supply, up from a 5.6-month supply in September 2012. Meanwhile, condos newly listed in Miami-Dade in September totaled 2,727, up from 2,212 a year earlier.

“It’s moving toward a more balanced market for condominiums,” said Lynda Fernandez, a spokeswoman for the Miami Realtors.

The inventory of Miami-Dade single-family homes rose 4.8 percent in September from a year earlier. With homes selling at a rapid clip, that amounted to just a 4.9-month supply in September, or 4.9 times the number of homes sold, down from a 5.6-month of supply a year earlier.

A supply of less than six months is typically regarded as a sellers’ market, in which sellers can call the shots and prices rise at a brisk pace.

Single-family homes in Miami-Dade took a median of 41 days to sell, compared with 42 days a year earlier.

In Broward, amid tight inventory and robust demand, the median period to sell a home was 27 days, down from 42 days in September 2012.

The number of homes listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service in Broward in September was 4,737, up 0.9 percent from 4,693 a year earlier. That is just a 3.8-month supply, or 3.8 times as many homes on the market as were sold in a month, down from a 4.2-month supply a year earlier.

The inventory of condos for sale rose 9 percent to 6,430 from 5,901. But with units selling quickly, the supply inched up to 4.6 months in September from 4.4 months a year earlier. That is still a very tight supply.

Condos in Broward sold at a median pace of 36 days in September, down from 38 days a year earlier.

“We certainly have a shortage of inventory, which is leading to price increases,” said Philip Vias, a broker associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty in Fort Lauderdale. Homebuyers are motivated, he said, as “they have seen the prices go up and the interest rates are so low.” It’s a great time to buy.”

While the year-over-year gains remain strong, both Miami-Dade and Broward sales softened from the peak summer month of August.

The median prices for both single-family homes and condos in Miami-Dade were down 4.3 percent in September from August. The volume of condo sales dropped 15 percent month-to-month, while single-family home sales were down 8.4 percent from August to September. “We think that year-over-year comparisons are more meaningful. There are fluctuations month-to-month,” Miami Realtors’ Fernandez said.

Compared with August, the median price of a Broward single-family home in September was essentially flat, while the median price of a condo fell 11 percent. Sales of condos were down 17 percent from 1,513 closings in August, and single-family home sales dropped 13 percent month to month, from 1,396 closings in August.