Miami-Dade new home sales far below ’04 levels

Even as sales of existing homes near the 2004 peak, new home sales are far more sluggish, according to Miami-Dade Realtors.

Existing homes sold by Realtors are down 4 percent from 2004, but closings on new homes tracked by research firm Metrostudy are still 80 percent below peak levels, the Miami Herald reported.

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Home construction virtually stopped in 2008, and cash-paying investors are driving the rebound.

“If an investor wants to speculate on home price movements or get current income, there is a much stronger seeming opportunity in the existing-home market,” Metrostudy economist Brad Hunter told the Herald.

Speculators were key to the fast pace of new home sales during the last cycle, but tougher mortgage requirements and an industrywide preference for cash have downplayed their role in the current market, Hunter said. [Miami Herald]Emily Schmall