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Home sales down in nation, Florida and Tampa Bay

Nationally, the housing rebound didn't last long, as home sales dipped 2.2 percent in October, the first drop in three months.

Florida, once again, fared even worse, according to National Association of Realtors data released Tuesday.

Statewide, existing home sales sunk about 12 percent from September to October, although the median sales price rose 2 percent to $136,600. Condo sales dropped nearly 9 percent.

In the Tampa Bay area, existing sales plunged 16.9 percent from September to October.

On the bright side, year-to-date home sales across the state are up 7 percent compared with 2009.

The lackluster figures shouldn't be a surprise, said University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith. He cited three factors for the month-to-month drop: the market distancing itself from tax credits for first-time buyers that expired in the summer, high unemployment and not enough available credit for buyers.

The outlook will not improve, he added, until the jobs picture improves and credit becomes available.

"These things are conspiring to keep housing in a nether world," Snaith said.

The numbers were even worse when compared with October 2009.

Across the state last month, home sales dropped 21 percent compared with October 2009, and the $136,600 median sales price was 3 percent below October 2009's level.

The numbers were still more mulish for the bay area. Home sales sunk 25 percent compared with October 2009. The median sales price fell 2 percent to $137,900, according to figures released by the Florida Association of Realtors.

The recent sales pattern across the country should continue, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for National Association of Realtors.

"The housing market is experiencing an uneven recovery, and a temporary foreclosure stoppage in some states is likely to have held back a number of completed sales," he said.

Several major lenders temporarily ceased most or all foreclosures amid allegations that thousands of documents were signed improperly. Lenders such as Bank of America, Ally Financial's GMAC Mortgage and JPMorgan Chase & Co. suspended some or all of their foreclosure activity after the current foreclosure documents mess erupted in late September.

Mark Puente can be reached at or (727) 893-8459.

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Home sales down in nation, Florida and Tampa Bay 11/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 7:23pm]
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