The Real Deal Miami

Florida existing home sales jump 21 percent

March 23, 2010 02:29PM

Florida existing home sales rose 21 percent last month, up to 11,890 from 9,867 in February 2009, according to the latest report from Florida Realtors. Last month’s sales were also up 13.6 percent over January. Nationwide, sales of existing homes dropped 0.6 percent in February, to an annual rate of 5.02 million units, according to the Realtors’ national arm, the National Association of Realtors. February’s nationwide rate was 7 percent higher than in February 2009 — the eighth month in a row of improved year-over-year sales numbers — which indicates a “fragile” recovery, according to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Meanwhile, the country’s inventory of existing homes for sale rose 9.5 percent to 3.59 million, an 8.6-month supply at the current sales rate. The median sales price on those homes was $165,100 during the month, a 1.8 percent drop from February 2009. First-time homebuyers accounted for 42 percent of all purchases, up from 40 percent in January, while investors bought 19 percent of the homes sold during the month. “The key test for a durable recovery comes in the next few months as the tax credit deadline approaches,” Yun said. “If we see a surge in homebuying comparable to last fall in the months leading up to the original tax credit deadline, then enough inventory should be absorbed to ensure a broad home price stabilization.” TRD