Make us your home page
Instagram

Florida home sales rise 3 percent from July, but prices slip

Pummeled by record foreclosures and stubbornly high unemployment, Florida's housing market is still struggling to find its footing.

Home sales remained troubled in August, as sales rose 3 percent from July, but the median sales price slipped 3 percent to $134,000. Compared with a year ago, sales are up just 1 percent and the median sales price is down 9 percent.

The month-to-month snapshot for Tampa Bay area home­owners was slightly better, with 2,408 homes changing hands in August with a median sales price of $135,400. That's a 5 percent increase in sales and 4 percent increase in price from July. Compared with August 2009, however, bay area sales were down 6 percent and prices down 4 percent.

Nationally, existing home sales rose a more respectable 7.6 percent between July and August, but that wasn't enough to keep August from being the second-worst month for sales in more than a decade. Despite a slight upward revision in the numbers, July remained the worst month for sales in 15 years.

Vernon Taylor, broker-owner of VET Realty in Lutz and president of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, cited numerous reasons why he expects the housing market to remain in flux:

Some homeowners won't move because they're scared about losing their jobs. The glut of foreclosures and short sales continue to push prices lower, with housing prices nationally now at the lowest level in six years. GMAC Mortgage has halted evictions in Florida and 22 other states amid allegations of mishandled affidavits. And banks are holding onto some abandoned homes until pricing improves, indicating another round of foreclosures lies ahead.

"Every time we turn around, we hear banks haven't released all their foreclosures," Taylor said. "We're going to have another year or so of really trying to push the ball up hill. It's not easy."

In the spring, homes sales briefly showed a spark when the federal government offered home-buying tax credits. But the housing industry has struggled to rebound since the credits expired, despite record-low interest rates.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.37 percent Thursday, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. Earlier this month, the rate fell as low as 4.32 percent, the lowest level on record dating back to 1971.

One problem often cited: Many potential buyers are on the sidelines waiting to see if foreclosures will drive prices even lower. About 2.5 million homes have been lost to foreclosure nationally since the recession started in December 2007, according to RealtyTrac Inc. And, according to Moody's Analytics, another 2.2 million homes could be lost to foreclosures or distressed sales over the next four years.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, said after the tax credits ended, the housing industry entered a "pause period" that he expects to last through September. The encouraging news, he said, is that the huge drop in home prices since 2006 have made housing affordable again.

"Given rock-bottom mortgage interest rates and historically high housing affordability conditions, the pace of a sales recovery could pick up quickly, providing the economy consistently adds jobs," he said.

Florida, with an unemployment rate of 11.7 percent, isn't anticipating any quick recovery. Some metro areas have added jobs since last year. Tampa Bay, however, is among those still on the down side, having shed 4,300 jobs year over the year.

The August report on Florida's condo market, which was also released Thursday, showed mixed results.

Condo sales statewide were up 22 percent from year-ago levels and up 3 percent from a month ago, but that could be because buyers were getting good bargains. The median condo sales price fell to $81,600, down 24 percent from a year ago and down 6 percent from July.

Times wires contributed to this report. Jeff Harrington can be reached at jharrington@sptimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jeffmharrington.

August numbers

Home

sales
1-month changeYear-over-

year change
Florida13,997Up 3 percentUp 1 percent
Tampa Bay2,408Up 5 percentDown 6 percent

Home

prices
1-month

change
Year-over-

year change
Florida$134,000Down 3 percentDown 9 percent
Tampa Bay$135,400Up 4 percentDown 4 percent

Source: Florida Realtors

Florida home sales rise 3 percent from July, but prices slip 09/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 24, 2010 6:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Marina at Hudson Beach poised to become 24-unit condominium-hotel

    Business

    HUDSON — One of the mainstay businesses at Hudson Beach is poised for redevelopment into a 24-unit condominium-hotel.

  2. Have your say Tampa Bay on the region's future transit options

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — It's time, yet again, for Tampa Bay residents to tell officials what kind of transit options they want for their region.

    The Cross-Bay Ferry docks at the Tampa Convention Center on its maiden voyage on Nov. 1, 2016. A regional premium transit study will determine whether a ferry, or other options such as express buses or light rail, would be a good addition to Tampa Bay. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  3. SOCom seeks civilian drone pilots to develop new technology through ThunderDrone

    Macdill

    TAMPA — For the last three years, Nicole Abbett has been using drones as part of her photography business, with clients like the city of Tampa and construction companies.

    Josh Newby, 31, Palm Harbor, of Tampa Drones fly's a drone in England Brothers park, Pinellas Park, 8/25/16. As drone popularity increases as a hobby and business, local governments are navigating a legal grey area- where, when, and how should drone flights be allowed?
  4. New apartment complex delivers unique floor plans



    Business

    RIVERVIEW — A new luxury apartment community has opened in the Progress Village area touting itself as a distinct living option just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.

    Alta at Magnolia Park dubs its new apartment community, that opened earlier this year in Riverview, a modern and distinct option for living just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.
  5. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]