Make us your home page
Instagram

Home sales in June fall across U.S., Tampa Bay area

WASHINGTON — People are buying homes at the weakest pace in 14 years.

Sales of previously occupied homes fell in June for a third straight month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.77 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

This year's pace is lagging the 4.91 million homes sold last year — the fewest since 1997. In a healthy economy, people buy about 6 million homes per year.

The median sales price rose in June to $184,300, according to the Realtors' group, mainly because of an annual post-spring bump that drove prices higher in the Northeast and West.

The glut of unsold homes rose slightly in June to 3.77 million homes. At last month's sales pace, it would take 9.5 months to clear those homes. Analysts say a healthy supply can be cleared in six months.

In the Tampa Bay area, sales and prices of existing homes slumped in June.

Tampa Bay area sales fell 11 percent compared to a year ago, with just 2,860 homes changing hands. The median sales price, meanwhile, dropped to $126,500, down 9 percent from the $138,400 average a year ago.

Fewer first-time home buyers are entering the market. Many can't obtain a loan or meet larger down-payment requirements.

Another problem is that a growing number of contracts are being canceled before sales are finalized, many because of lower appraisals that are scuttling loans. And the slowdown in hiring is making people think twice about taking on extra debt.

High unemployment, millions of foreclosures and tighter credit are likely to keep people from buying homes in the second half of the year, economists say. Even low home prices and cheap mortgage rates are unlikely to draw buyers to the market.

"Given the state of the job market, and some reluctance among banks to lend and households to borrow, this lackluster pace of sales is not too surprising," said Alistair Bentley, an economist at TD Economics.

First-time home buyers, who are critical to a strong and stable housing markets, have shrunk to 31 percent of sales, the lowest percentage since January 2010. Normally, first-time buyers make up about half of all home sales.

Home sales have fallen in four of the past five years, forcing prices down in most markets. Declining home values have made people feel less wealthy, and as a result they are spending less.

Some sales are falling apart at the last minute. Roughly 16 percent of home deals were canceled last month. That's four times the percentage in May and the highest level since such records began being kept more than a year ago. A sale isn't final until a mortgage is closed.

Buyers have canceled purchases after appraisals showed that the homes were worth less than the buyers' initial bids. Millions of foreclosures have made it harder to get accurate appraisals that all parties can agree on.

Foreclosures and short sales — when a lender agrees to sell for less than what is owed on a mortgage — made up about 30 percent of all home sales last month, up from about 10 percent in past years. And a wave of foreclosures are being held up, either by backlogged courts or lenders awaiting state and federal probes into troubled foreclosure practices.

Tampa Bay area sales

2,860 Homes sold in June,

a drop of 11 percent

compared to a year ago.

$126,500 Median sales price in June, down 9 percent from the $138,400 average a year ago.

Home sales in June fall across U.S., Tampa Bay area 07/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 9:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. The Iron Yard coding academy to close in St. Petersburg

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Iron Yard, a code-writing academy with a location in downtown St. Petersburg, will close for good this summer.

    Instructors (from left) Mark Dewey, Jason Perry, and Gavin Stark greet the audience at The Iron Yard, 260 1st Ave. S, in St. Petersburg during "Demo Day" Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at The Iron Yard, which is an immersive code school that is part of a trend of trying to address the shortage of programmers.  The academy is closing this summer.  [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Florida's unemployment rate drops for fourth straight month

    Markets

    How low can Florida's unemployment go? Pretty low, according to the state's latest unemployment numbers. The Sunshine State's unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent for June, down from 4.3 percent in May, state officials said Friday morning.

    Florida's unemployment level dropped to 4.1 percent in June from 4.3 percent in May. |  [Times file photo]
  3. Is sinkhole damage sinking Tampa Bay property values?

    Real Estate

    On a scale of desirability, the house for sale on Whittner Drive in Land O' Lakes would rank fairly low. It's a short sale; it sits on an unstabilized sinkhole and it's within a few miles of two houses that collapsed into a gargantuan hole July 16.

    A gated community in Hernando's Spring Hill area, Pristine Place has long been susceptible to sinkholes with nearly a third of its houses with documented sinkhole damage by 2012. Today, however, many houses with repaired sinkhole damage are selling for more than houses without any issues. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times file photo]
  4. The real estate pros in charge of Tampa's $3 billion makeover are younger than you think

    Working Life

    TAMPA — Brooke May, a 36-year-old senior construction project manager, knew she wanted to work for Strategic Property Partners the minute she met some team members involved with the group's massive downtown Tampa makeover.

    Matt Davis, Vice President of Development posed for a portrait in the Strategic Property Partners office in Channelside on July 12, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  5. St. Pete Beach may loosen beach drinking rules for hotel guests

    Local Government

    ST. PETE BEACH — Drinking a beer, a cocktail or a glass of wine may soon be legal on this city's beaches, but only for hotel guests in and around their hotel's beachfront cabanas.

    Registered hotel guests would be able to drink alcoholic beverages at their cabanas on the beach under a new rule the St. Pete Beach City Commission is considering.