Home sales, prices increase in SoFla

Traditional and distressed home sales are rising in South Florida, according to RealtyTrac.

The Irvine, Calif.-based housing data firm released its latest residential sales report this morning. South Florida had 171,508 combined sales last month, up nine percent from October 2012. The region’s median sales price ended the month at $155,000 for a year-over-year gain of 19 percent.

More than 70 percent of South Florida residential transactions in October were all-cash deals, compared with 63 percent in October 2012.

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The region had a significant increase in foreclosure auctions and real estate owned (or REO) sales. Auctions represented six percent of South Florida’s total sales activity, up from about five percent in October 2012. And REO transactions accounted for nearly 12 percent of the sales, compared with 10 percent a year ago.

Short sale activity is severely dwindling, however. After representing 23 percent of South Florida’s residential sales in October 2012, short sales only accounted for 14 percent last month.

That mirrors the national trend, RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist said.

“After a surge in short sales in late 2011 and early 2012, the favored disposition method for distressed properties is shifting back toward the more traditional foreclosure auction sales and bank-owned sales,” Blomquist said. “The combination of rapidly rising home prices — along with strong demand from institutional investors and other cash buyers able to buy at the public foreclosure auction or an as-is REO home — means short sales are becoming less favorable for lenders.” — Eric Kalis