Record Miami condo activity fuels Florida’s strengthening home sales market

Florida sales activity jumped 10 percent in September for both condominiums and single-family homes compared to the same month a year ago, according to a National Association of Realtors report released today, thanks largely to huge increases in South Florida sales volume.

The condo market in the Miami area showed the greatest strength of any market in the state, as prices are on the rise and activity is at a record pace. The median price of a condo in Miami spiked 17 percent since last September, while activity rose 58 percent, bringing the 2011 sales pace to 29,000 transactions. According to the Miami Association of Realtors that would surpass the record set in 2005 (although condo sales prices still remain far below those witnessed during the peak). Miami single-family homes also performed well, as sales volume increased 46 percent year-over-year, although the median price dropped some 6 percent to $131,000.

Sixty-three percent of Miami buyers in September paid in all cash, well above the national average of about 30 percent.

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“There is great demand from international and domestic buyers and investors for South Florida REOs,” said 2011 Miami Association of Realtors Residential President Ralph De Martino. “Based on the current robust level of sales activity, it is expected that regardless of any shadow inventory — distressed properties pending foreclosure or short sales or REOs yet to be listed for sale — that may come on the market, there is insufficient supply to satisfy demand.”

Elsewhere in South Florida, sales volume increased by about one-third in the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton area for both single-family homes and condos. But price dropped significantly. The median single-family home went for $180,300, 20 percent less than last year’s price, while the median condo experienced an 11 percent sales price drop to $76,700.

In the greater Fort Lauderdale area, sales activity increases hovered slightly below the statewide level, at 8 percent, thanks mostly to the 11 percent increase in the number of single-family homes that traded. However, the median price for those homes fell 7 percent to $188,800. On the other hand, condo prices rose 3 percent to $71,900, but activity increased just 6 percent from last year’s level.

Across the state, condominium prices increased 7 percent to $87,200, but single-family homes experienced a 1 percent decline to $133,900. — Adam Fusfeld

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