October 6, 2011 (Shirley Allen)
Home buyers in the Miami area pushed the sales of new and resale homes to their highest levels in five years according to the latest data released from DataQuick as buyers took advantage of the lowest interest rates available in 50 years and the lowest home prices since 2002.
A total of 9,638 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties area in August, up from 8,820 sold in July. Sales were 9.3 percent higher than July and 24.9 percent higher than in August of 2010.
Home sales in the region typically decline 1.8 percent between July and August and were 19.4 percent lower than Miami’s average August sales rate of 11,951.
Existing home sales made up the bulk of sales activity in August as new home sales remained at unusually low levels. Sales of existing single-family homes and condos were at their highest level since 2005 but were still 6.2 percent below the monthly average for August since 1997
Last month’s sales benefitted from August having three more selling days than July. When total home sales are compared on a daily basis, sales actually declined by 5.0 percent from July to August, but were still 19.5 percent higher than August of last year. The large difference in home sales from a year ago is a result of the sharp drop in the number of homes sold following the expiration of the home buyer’s tax credit last year.
Cash buyers were responsible for 62.4 percent of the purchases in August, which was down from 62.8 percent in July, but up from 59.2 percent a year ago. The record for cash purchases was in March 2011, when 68.6 percent of the sales were for cash. Some cash buyers use alternative financing arrangements but at the time of purchase there was no indication of a purchase loan recorded.
Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 38.1 percent of all homes sold in August paying a median average price of $90,000, which was down from $93,000 in July and down from the same amount in August of 2010. In July, absentee buyers accounted for 37.5 percent of all purchases.
The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in August was $132,000, which was down 2.9 percent from July and down 5.7 percent from August of last year. The median home price is 54.5 percent below the peak median price of $290,000 in August 2007. It was also the 47th consecutive month that prices in the area have declined year-over-year.
Miami’s multi-million dollar luxury market also continued to cool off in August. Sales of houses and condos for $2 million or more were down 17.9 percent from July but up 36.2 percent from August of last year.
Tags: DataQuick, existing home sales, Miami, distressed properties, resale homes, condos, cash buyers, investors, median price