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A drop in home sales for properties priced below $200,000 in Miami has brought averages down for the month of January despite significant performance in other price brackets, according to reports from DataQuick. Sales of new homes, resales and condos in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties slipped 17.1% and median prices across all home types were down 3.7% to $130,000 for the month. The Miami housing market has been experiencing higher sales volume thanks to increased interest from foreign buyers and absentee investors, which still make up a significant portion of purchasers despite the slip in overall transaction volume. For more on this continue reading the following article from TheStreet.

The number of homes sold in the Miami area in January dipped below the year-ago level as sub-$200,000 transactions fell, tugging down the region's overall sales tally despite annual gains for mid- to high-end deals.

The median sale price rose on a year-over-year basis for the first time in 52 months -- just one of several indications of widening price stability, a real estate information service reported.

In January, 7,443 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the metro area encompassing Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. That was down 17.1% from the prior month and down 3.3% from a year earlier, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

When sliced up by price segment, January sales saw year-over-year gains in the middle and top of the market and declines at the bottom. Sales below $100,000 fell 11.6% from a year earlier (the decline was 8.1 % for sub-$200,000 sales), compared with a 4.2% annual gain for sales between $200,000 and $600,000 and a 24.1% annual increase for deals over $800,000.

In the Miami region's multi-million-dollar luxury market, the 56 homes that sold for $2 million or more in January represented a 14.3% increase from a year earlier. In all of 2011, $2 million-plus home sales rose 13.5% compared with 2010. The figures are based on public property records, where either a price or loan amount was available.

In the overall market, the median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Miami region in January was $130,000, down 3.7% from December but up 6.1% from a year earlier. January's year-over-year increase was the first since September 2007. The median stopped falling on a year-over-year basis in December 2011, when it was exactly the same as a year earlier.

The January median stood 55.2 % below the peak $290,000 median in June 2007.

The median price paid for resale houses in the three-county area was $162,000 in January, down 1.8 % from December but up 1.3 % from a year earlier, marking the first year-over-year gain since May 2010. January's $90,000 resale condo median sale price was the same as the month before (and each month back to last October) and was 12.5 % higher than a year earlier. The resale condo median has risen on a year-over-year basis for four consecutive months, with January's gain being the largest.

Driving much of the demand for condos and other lower-cost homes are absentee buyers, who purchased a record 39.9% of all homes sold in the Miami area in January. That was up from 38% in December and 37.4% a year earlier. The former high was 39.4% in March 2011. Absentee buyers are investors, second-home buyers and others who indicate at the time of sale that their property tax bill will be sent to a different address.

This article was republished with permission from TheStreet.