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Business Observer Monday, Sep. 28, 2009 12 years ago

Florida bucks trend in home sales

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While most major news outlets have been reporting a 2.7% decline in existing home sales nationwide, the state of Florida is instead enjoying sales growth.

While most major news outlets have been reporting a 2.7% decline in existing home sales nationwide, the state of Florida is instead enjoying sales growth.

While the market for existing homes continues its search for equilibrium, Florida as notched its twelfth consecutive month of a year-to-year increase in sales of existing homes.

More homes were sold in August 2009 than in August 2008, according to a press release from Florida Realtors. 13,850 homes were sold statewide in August of this year, as opposed to 10,813 in August of 2008.

The same release reports existing condo sales are up 45% in the year-to-year comparison.

“This is encouraging news, and while it shows the beginnings of recovery, the housing market still needs time to continue its gradual absorption of housing inventory that will help stabilize home prices,” says Florida Realtors President Cynthia Shelton.

Shelton is right about those prices, as the numbers continue to fall despite increased sales. The median sales price for existing homes in Florida last month was $147,400. That's down 22% from last year, when the number was $188,500.

In the Tampa Bay area, the median sales price for existing homes is down 17%, slightly less than the statewide number. The same metric is down 25% in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, and 39% down in the Fort Myers-Cape Coral region.

Those price declines are likely motivating Shelton's desire for an extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit, an $8,000-per-home boost that has helped some during the downturn.

Just so you don't have to do the division: the $8,000 figure represents roughly 5.4% of the August 2009 median existing home price.

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