Homes Sales Slow in January, but Prices Remain Hot

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After a record-setting 2015, homes sales cooled off in Southwest Florida to start the new year. But prices stayed hot, with single-family homes continuing to post double-digit gains in January in Southwest Florida.  Cape Coral land sales also grew. The stock of existing homes for sale remained low, pressuring prices but helping sellers close deals more quickly and get closer to their asking prices.

Buyers closed on 1,622 existing homes and condominiums in Southwest Florida in January, down 2.3 percent over the year. Single-family sales rose slightly in Sarasota, but were down by 5.4 percent in Manatee and by 11.6 percent in Charlotte, according to data released by the Florida Realtors trade group.

January sales often show a seasonal sales dip, reflecting fewer deals signed during the year-end holiday season. Homes sales in Southwest Florida hit a second-straight annual high in 2015, again outpacing the historic boom of the mid-2000s. But setting a third-straight record could be a challenge. Pending sales — deals signed but not yet closed — fell sharply in January, and inventory levels declined again over the year.

Home prices jumped 21.3 percent to a median $230,500 in Sarasota last month. In Manatee, the median price — half were higher, half lower — rose 10 percent to $274,900. Charlotte reported a 9 percent increase to a median $180,000.

Those price hikes did little to deter buyers. In Manatee, for example, single-family homes sold in a median 45 days, 12 days faster than last year. Sellers pocketed 95.2 percent of their original list price, up from 93.8 percent.

Condo sales were down 2.1 percent in Sarasota-Manatee last month. Buyers paid a median $192,500, nearly 9 percent more than last year. In Charlotte, condo sales climbed 35 percent over the year, on a modest volume of 77 units. Prices increased 3.9 percent to $145,000. Statewide, buyers closed on 16,529 single-family homes in January, up 2.7 percent, but condo sales fell 4.8 percent, to 6,942 units. Homes sold for a median $199,000, 13.7 percent more than last year, while condos traded for $152,000, a 10.9 percent gain.

Nationwide, home sales crept upward in January, a sign that demand for housing remains strong amid signs of slower growth across the broader economy. But U.S. buyers face the same dilemma as those in Southwest Florida including buyers of property Cape Coral: The number of listings on the market has fallen, giving them fewer choices and pushing prices to rise quickly.

Sales of existing homes rose 0.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million, the National Association of Realtors said. The gains build on a strong 2015, when sales reached their highest level in nine years. Last year ended with a 12.1 percent surge in December sales, as new regulations had delayed closings in November.

Yet, real estate enters 2016 at a crossroads. Job growth and low mortgage rates have fueled demand and boosted home sales to levels last glimpsed in the waning months of the housing bubble that triggered the Great Recession. But fewer homes are available to purchase, causing price growth to eclipse wage grains and capping the potential for sales to rise further.

To learn more about the South Florida real estate market visit 9 Core Realty on the web!

 

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