Home/Mortgages/Miami Home Sales Highest in Five Years

April 3, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Home sales in the Miami area improved from the previous month and from a year ago, reaching their highest level in five years in February, while year-over-year home prices iincreased for the second consecutive month according to the latest housing data released by DataQuick.

A total of 7,690 new and resale homes and condos closed escrow in the Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties area in February. Sales were 2.0 percent higher than the 7,443 homes sold in January and 3.3 percent higher than in February of 2011.

Home sales in the region typically decline 5.3 percent between January and February and were 11.8 percent lower than Miami’s average February sales rate of 8,720.

New home sales in Miami were 2.7 percent higher than a year ago but were still 75 percent below average. Take out the effect that new home sales have on the monthly data and you would find that home sales were 4.7 percent higher than average for a February.

Cash buyers accounted for a record 68.7 percent of the purchases in February, which was up from 64.4 percent in January and 68.2 percent a year ago. The previous 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 February increased to $105,000 from $95,000 in January and were up from $95,000 in February of last year.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for a record 42.6 percent of all homes sold in February paying a median average price of $102,000, up from $94,899 in January and from $82,500 in February 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 February was $135,000, which was up 3.8 percent from January and 12.5 percent from February of last year.

The median home price is 53.4 percent below the peak median price of $290,000 in June 2007. It was the second consecutive month that year-over-year prices have increased after falling for the previous 52 consecutive months.

Miami’s multi-million dollar luxury market also continued to pick up steam in February. Sales of houses and condos for $2 million or more were 5.8 percent higher than in February of last year.

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