Miami Home Resales Reach Four-Year High

In the Miami real estate market, home resales reached a four-year high, while the median sale price fell the least in nearly two years. Nearly half of all …

In the Miami real estate market, home resales reached a four-year high, while the median sale price fell the least in nearly two years. Nearly half of all home sales were for condos, as buyers focused on homes in the lower price range. See the following article from DQNews to learn more.

Miami-area home sales in April dipped from March and remained well below average, but they shot up over the unusually low year-ago level for the 14th consecutive month as investors, first-time buyers and vacation-home buyers targeted lower-cost condos and other abodes. The median sale price fell slightly from March and was 9.1 percent lower than in April 2009, marking the smallest annual decline in almost two years, a real estate information service reported.

In April 8,257 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the metro area encompassing Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. That was down 4.6 percent from March but up 30.5 percent from April 2009, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego, Calif. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

Total escrow closings were the highest for an April since 2007, but they fell 30.0 percent short of the average for that month since 1997, when DataQuick’s complete Miami-area stats begin. On average, sales have increased 0.1 percent between March and April.

Although the federal home buyer tax credit didn’t appear to have had a huge impact on April sales, it’s difficult to know how much weaker sales might have been without that incentive. Most buyers who rushed last month to meet the April 30 federal tax credit deadline to sign a sales contract wouldn’t close escrow until May or June.

Last month’s resales (excludes new homes) of single-family detached houses and condos combined were the highest in four years. Resales have risen year-over-year for 17 consecutive months. New-home sales in April were higher than a year ago for the second consecutive month, but they were still the second-lowest for an April since at least 1997.

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New-home sales have suffered as builders struggle to compete with distressed sales. New homes made up 6.6 percent of total April sales, far below the decade average of 20 percent of monthly sales.

The 3,979 condos that resold in April marked a 7.7 percent decline from March but a 39.8 percent gain from April 2009. It was the highest number of condo resales for that month since April 2006, when 4,060 condos resold. Condo resales made up 48.2 percent of total Miami-area home sales in April, compared with 45.0 percent a year earlier and a monthly average of 32.6 percent over the past decade.

In the Miami market’s high end, the number of houses and condos that sold for $1 million or more dipped to 206 in April, down 6.8 percent from 221 in March but up 56.1 percent percent from 132 in April 2009. Forty percent of the $1 million-plus transactions were for resale condos. The figures are based on an analysis of public property records, where there was a purchase price or loan of $1 million or more. The peak month for $1 million-plus home sales was in June 2005, when 583 sold in the Miami area.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in April was $140,000, down 1.4 percent from $142,000 in March and down 9.1 percent from $154,000 in April 2009. April’s median brought the region back to its post-housing-boom low point of $140,000 – the same as in January this year. However, April’s 9.1 percent year-over-year decline was the smallest since the median fell 6.8 percent, to $260,000, in May 2008.

The March-to-April decline in the median was in part the result of a shift toward a greater percentage of homes selling below $200,000. In April, 65.1 percent of all sales were under $200,000, compared with 63.8 percent in March.

April’s overall median sale price stood 51.7 percent below the peak $290,000 median in June 2007. The Miami area’s median price has fallen on a year-over-year basis for 31 consecutive months.

The median price paid for resale condos in April slipped to $91,000, down from $95,000 in March and $103,000 a year ago. April’s level was the lowest since the resale condo median was $87,500 in January 2002. Last month the resale condo median stood 58.4 percent below its $219,000 peak in July 2006.

The median paid for resale single-family detached houses fell in April to $180,000, down 1.4 percent from March, down 2.7 percent from a year ago and down 47.1 percent from a June 2007 peak of $340,000. However, it was the lowest year-over-year decline for the resale detached house median since November 2007.

Another price gauge analysts watch, the median paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses, fell to $104 in April, down from $106 in March and down 1.0 percent from April 2009. It was the smallest annual decline since October 2006. Last month’s figure was 50.7 percent below the region’s $211 peak in summer 2006. The measure has fallen year-over-year for 43 straight months.

A popular form of financing used by first-time home buyers – government-insured FHA loans – accounted for 47.1 percent of all home purchase loans in April, up from 45.9 percent in March and 41.5 percent a year ago. Two years ago it was 12.6 percent.

Absentee buyers purchased 34.0 percent of all homes sold in the Miami area in April, essentially flat compared with March and up from 31.6 percent a year ago, according to public property records. In April absentee buyers paid a median of $98,000, down from $100,000 in March and down from $116,000 a year earlier. Absentee buyers are often investors, but could include second-home buyers and others who indicated at the time of sale that their property tax bill would be sent to a different address.

About 2.6 percent of the homes sold in April had been “flipped” within a three-week to six-month period, meaning they had been bought on the open market and then re- sold within that window. That was down slightly from a flipping rate of 2.6 percent of all sales in March and up from 2.1 percent a year earlier. Flipping rates were higher before the housing market correction: In April 2005, for example, the Miami-area flipping rate was 5.4 percent.

This article has been republished from DQNews. You can also view this article at DQNews, a real estate research and news site.

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