March 6, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Home sales in the Miami area fell on both a monthly and yearly basis in January but home prices increased year-over-year for the first time since September of 2007 according to the latest housing data released by DataQuick.

A total of 7,443 new and resale homes and condos closed escrow in the Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties area in January. Sales were 17.1 percent lower than the 8,982 homes sold in December and 3.3 percent lower than the 7,700 homes sold in January of 2011.

Home sales in the region typically decline 19.1 percent between December and January and were 19.0 percent lower than Miami’s average January sales rate of 9,187.

New home sales in Miami continued to remain near all-time lows. Although new home sales were 7.4 percent higher than in January of last year, they were still the second lowest on record for that month.

Take out the effect that new home sales had on this month’s data and you would find that existing home sales were only 3.3 percent below the average for January.

Cash buyers accounted for 64.4 percent of the purchases in January, which was down slightly from 65.4 percent in December but up from 65.4 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.

The price that cash buyers paid for the homes they purchased in January fell to $95,000 from $98,000 in December, but still up from $85,000 in January of last year.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for a record 39.9 percent of all homes sold in January paying a median average price of $94,899, down from $96,000 in December but up from $85,000 in January of 2011. Almost six percent of the absentee buyers had a mailing address outside of Florida or from a foreign country.

The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in January was $130,000, which was down 3.7 percent from December, but up 6.1 percent from January of last year.

The median home price is 55.2 percent below the peak median price of $290,000 in June 2007. It was also the first time in 52 months, dating all the way back to September 2007, in which year-over-year home prices have increased in the area.

Miami’s multi-million dollar luxury market also picked up some steam in January. Sales of houses and condos for $2 million or more were up 14.3 percent higher than in January of last year.

Tags: existing home sales, Miami, distressed properties, resale homes, condos, cash buyers, investors, median price