Broward Home Prices Increase In June

broward home prices increaseBroward County home sellers enjoyed more pricing power in June.

The county’s median price for existing single-family homes hit $265,000, a 23 percent increase from a year ago, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said Monday.

It was the seventh consecutive month that the median jumped by more than 20 percent. Home sales rose 3 percent, to 1,356.

Broward’s median condominium price last month rose 22 percent to $105,000. But condo sales declined 9 percent from June 2012.

“At one time, buyers thought they could do what they want, when they wanted, but they’re realizing now that they don’t have the control they once did,” said Carrie Hazen, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in northwest Broward.

Palm Beach County and statewide figures were not released Monday because of a technical problem. Those numbers are expected Tuesday.

The median price means half the properties in Broward sold for more and half for less. The percentage increase does not reflect all home values countywide.

Sellers of single-family homes last month received 96 percent of their list prices, up from 93 percent a year earlier, the Realtor group said. The typical Broward home went under contract in 29 days, down from 37.

Ken H. Johnson, a professor at Florida International University’s Hollo School of Real Estate, said some prospective buyers are frustrated by the recent price increases and are staying out of the market. But he doesn’t recommend that strategy.

“A lot of people are upset that they missed the bottom. Yes, but big deal,” Johnson said. “Prices are still affordable. Nobody should be waiting.”

A shortage of homes for sale and an abundance of investors have helped fuel the housing recovery.

Broward had 4,225 homes on the market at the end of June, down 14 percent from a year ago.

Large investment firms, including Blackstone Group and Waypoint Homes, are buying thousands of homes in South Florida and across the country. The firms are pushing prices higher while keeping homes out of the hands of first-time and move-up buyers.

“That’s not a healthy market,” said Jack McCabe, a Deerfield Beach analyst.

Many first-time buyers are looking at new homes because they won’t face such stiff competition from investors, McCabe said.

The market gradually will even out, with investors pulling back and more sellers listing their homes, analysts say. Appraisals also could play a role in the transition to a more balanced market.

Some home appraisals have been slow to catch up to fast-rising prices in recent months. But the situation is improving — and that will benefit buyers with mortgages who are losing out to investors with cash, agents say.

Sellers prefer cash offers in part because no appraisal is needed, but offers with mortgages may soon be just as attractive, said Jim Heidisch, broker at Campbell & Rosemurgy in Pompano Beach.

“More sellers will take the higher offer even though there’s a loan behind it because they’re confident the home will appraise,” he said.


Source:  Sun-Sentinel