June 7, 2012
Miami-area home sales rose modestly in April compared with March but fell slightly short of the year-ago level as sales continued to drop for homes priced below $200,000, offsetting gains in higher price ranges. Price measures increased again, with the region's overall median sale price rising year-over-year for the fourth consecutive month to the highest level since November 2010, a real estate information service reported.
In April, 9,752 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the metro area encompassing Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. That was up 2.2 percent from the prior month and down 0.2 percent from a year earlier, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.
It's normal for Miami-area sales to change little between March and April. On average, sales between those two months have dipped 0.1 percent since 1997, when DataQuick's complete Miami-area statistics begin.
April's total sales were 14.5 percent below the average number of sales in the month of April since 1997. However, if newly built homes are excluded from the sales mix, then the number of houses and condos that closed escrow in April was just 1.0 percent below the historical average for the month. The region's new-home sales were the lowest on record for an April and were nearly 78 percent below average for the month.
When viewed by price segment, April sales in the Miami area dropped 10.6 percent year-over-year for homes priced below $100,000, and fell 4.5 percent for homes below $200,000. Sub-$200,000 sales have fallen year-over-year in each of the past four months. Sales between $200,000 and $600,000 posted a 7.5 percent annual gain in April, while the number of homes that sold above $800,000 rose 18.0 percent from the same month last year.
In the Miami region's multi-million-dollar luxury market, 101 homes sold for $2 million or more in April, up 36.5 percent from both the month before and a year earlier. During the first four months of this year, 286 homes sold for $2 million or more, up 14.4 percent from the same period in 2011. The figures are based on public property records, where either a price or loan amount was available.
In the overall Miami market, the median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in April was $140,000 - the highest for any month since the median was also $140,000 in November 2010. The April median rose 3.7 percent from $134,950 the month before and rose 12.0 percent from $125,000 a year earlier.
The Miami area's median sale price has increased year-over-year each month in 2012. It rose 6.1 percent from a year earlier in January, and rose 12.5 percent in both February and March. Prior to January this year, the median hadn't risen year-over-year since September 2007. The median stopped falling year-over-year in December 2011, when it was the same as a year earlier.
The April median was 16.7 percent higher than the current housing cycle's post-peak trough of $120,000 in January and February of 2011. April's figure was 51.7 percent lower than the Miami area's peak $290,000 median in June 2007.
The region's resale condo median rose 11.8 percent year-over-year in April, marking the seventh consecutive month in which that price measure has posted an annual gain. The median price paid for resale single-family detached houses rose 6.9 percent in April - the third month in a row with a year-over-year increase.
Another key price gauge analysts watch, the median price paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses, rose again in April to $91 for the overall region. That was up 3.4 percent from the month before and up 7.6 percent from a year earlier - the third consecutive year-over-year gain following 19 months of annual declines. The April figure stood 52.6 percent below the peak median of $211 paid per square foot for resale houses in May 2006.
At the county level in April, the median paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses edged up to $79 in Broward County, up 1.3 percent month-to-month and up 6.5 percent year-over-year. It was the fourth consecutive month with an annual gain. The median paid per square foot rose to $100 in Miami-Dade County, up 4.2 percent month-to-month and up 10.5 percent from a year earlier, marking the fifth consecutive month to post an annual gain. Palm Beach County's median paid per square foot increased to $99 in April, up 1.0 percent from the month before and up 0.5 percent from a year earlier, marking the second consecutive month with an annual gain.
For the overall region, the median price paid per square foot for resale condos in April rose to $86, up 2.4 percent from March and up 7.5 percent from a year earlier. The figure has risen year-over-year for seven consecutive months, but in April it was still 59.3 percent below its April 2006 peak of $211 per square foot.
Absentee buyers, including investors and vacation-home buyers, continue to snap up many of the region's condos and other lower-cost properties. Absentee buyers purchased 40.5 percent of all homes sold in the Miami area in April, down from 41.8 percent in March and up from 38.8 percent a year earlier. The peak for absentee purchases was 42.6 percent in February this year. (Absentee statistics go back to January 2000).
Absentee buyers paid a median $102,000 for all new and resale houses and condos that they purchased in April, up from $95,000 the month before and up 17.9 percent from $86,500 a year earlier. Absentee buyers are investors, second-home buyers and others who indicate at the time of sale that their property tax bill will be sent to a different address.
Many absentee buyers are also cash buyers, who purchased 66.9 percent of the Miami-area homes sold in April. That was down from 67.5 percent the prior month and up from 66.6 percent a year earlier. The peak was 68.7 percent in February this year. April's cash buyers paid a median $105,000, up from $100,000 the prior month and up 16.7 percent from $90,000 a year earlier. Cash deals are where there was no indication in the public record of a purchase loan recorded at the time of sale.
Meanwhile, use of a form of low-down-payment financing that's popular with first-time homebuyers - government-insured FHA loans - inched up in April to 36.1 percent of all home purchase loans. That was up from 35.2 percent in March and down from 40.4 percent a year earlier. The March and April figures are the lowest since late 2008.
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach MSA
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Media calls: Andrew LePage (916) 456-7157
Source: DataQuick; DQNews.com
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