Florida home sales "sizzled" in November

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Florida’s housing market continued to rebound in November, with existing home sales and median prices making double digit increases over last year, reports Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida.

Existing home sales closed during the month were 24.4 percent higher than a year ago. Pending sales, those signed but not closed, were even stronger. Sales expected to close within 90 days catapulted 45.8 percent last month from November 2011.

The increase was accompanied by a boost in median price, a combination that Florida Realtors President Summer Greene said is expected to continue through 2013.

In November, half of homes sold for more than $150,000, up 11.2 percent. The average price was $223,301, a 10.6 percent increase.

“The sizzle is back,” Greene said in a statement Thursday. “With home sales strongly trending up and the supply of homes for sale drying up, the market is hot.”

Condominium sales were also robust. Closed sales of townhomes and condominium units jumped 18.3 percent in November from last year. Pending sales were up 30 percent during the same period.

Florida Realtors chief economist, John Tucillo, said the state’s housing stock is becoming more valuable across the board, a sign that buyers are back. Interest rates also appear to be assisting, with the interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropping to 3.35 percent, down more than half a percentage point from a year ago.

Nationally, home sales rose 14.5 percent from November 2011. In the South existing-home sales rose 7.9 percent in November from October and 17.2 percent a year ago. The median price in the South was $157,400, up 10.5 percent from a year ago.

Median prices across the nation rose for the ninth consecutive month, the longest streak of year-to-year increases prices since 2004.

“Momentum continues to build in the housing market from growing jobs and a bursting out of household formation,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

Florida’s housing stock inventory fell to a 5.1 month supply and is half of what it was two years ago.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.