Miami Homes Sales See End-of-Year Spike

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties experienced the largest number of home sales in five years in November 2011 as rock-bottom prices and favorable mortgage rates continued to …

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Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties experienced the largest number of home sales in five years in November 2011 as rock-bottom prices and favorable mortgage rates continued to spur investment. Statistics by DataQuick reveal both foreign and domestic buyers are seeking opportunities in the area, driving purchases of new and resale homes and condos up 5% on the month and 17.5% for the year. Absentee buyers, who were also cash buyers in many instances, made 38.5% of purchases for the month in the area and demonstrates a continued interest in vacation homes and investment speculation. For more on this continue reading the following article from TheStreet.

Miami-area homes sold at the fastest pace for a November in five years as lower prices and mortgage rates continued to drive robust demand from investors and vacation-home buyers — both foreign and domestic. The region’s median sale price rose from October but fell short of the year-ago level for the 50th consecutive month, a real estate information service reported.

In November, 7,855 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the metro area encompassing Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. That was up 5% from the prior month and up 17.5% from a year earlier — to the highest level for a November since 2006, when 10,369 homes sold, according to San Diego-based DataQuick, which tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

Through November, Miami’s housing market was on pace to post the highest annual sales total for any year since the housing boom ended. January-through-November 2011 sales totaled 96,986, the highest since 144,912 homes sold during that 11-month period in 2006.

The market’s top and bottom price segments saw the biggest year-over-year sales jumps in November. The number of new and resale houses and condos that sold for less than $100,000 rose 21.2% from a year earlier, compared with a 7.2% annual gain for sales between $200,000 and $600,000 and a 26.9% annual increase for transactions above $800,000. Sales over $950,000 rose 33.1% compared with November 2010. However, only 3.6% of all sales in November were for $800,000 or more.

In the Miami region’s multi-million-dollar luxury market, the 60 homes that sold for $2 million or more in November represented a 33.3% gain from October and a 36.4% increase from a year earlier. During the first 11 months of this year, 742 Miami-area homes sold for $2 million or more, up 15.2% from the same period last year and the highest for that 11-month period since 869 homes sold for $2 million or more between January and November 2008. 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 November was $134,950, up 5.4% from October but down 3.6% from a year earlier. November’s median price was the highest for any month since July 2011, when it was $136,000. Although the median sale price has declined year-over-year for the past 50 months, the dips over the last five months have been relatively low – less than 6%.

The November median stood 53.5% below the peak $290,000 median in June 2007.

In November, absentee buyers purchased a near-record 38.5% of all homes sold in the Miami area, down slightly from 38.9% in October but up from 35.7% a year earlier. The all-time 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. (Absentee statistics go back to January 2000).

The absentee buyer share jumps to 52% in November when focusing solely on existing (not new) condos. Within that group of November absentee condo buyers, about 40% had mailing addresses in the public record that were outside of Florida, whether domestic or foreign.

Resale condos were the main target for November’s out-of-state buyers (foreign and domestic combined), accounting for 70.7% of their Miami-area purchases. Resale detached houses made up 24.3% of their purchases, while newly built homes represented 5.0% of their deals.

Many absentee buyers are also cash buyers, who purchased 63.7% of the Miami-area homes sold in November. That was up slightly from 63.4% the prior month and up from 62.4% a year earlier. The peak for cash purchases was 68.6% in March 2011.

Meanwhile, use of a form of low-down-payment financing that’s popular with first-time homebuyers — government-insured FHA loans — dipped slightly in November, to 38.3% of all home purchase loans. That was down from an FHA share of 39.9% of purchase loans in October, 42.5% a year earlier, and 47.1% two years earlier.

This article was republished with permission from TheStreet.

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