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Sales of previously owned homes in Florida rise 27 percent; prices up 1 percent

Sales of previously owned homes in Florida rose 27 percent in April compared to a year ago, a surge partly attributed to the looming expiration of federal home buyer tax credits.

The median sales price statewide ticked upward to $140,100, 1 percent higher than the price a year ago, the Florida Realtors reported Monday.

Compared to a month ago, sales were up 3 percent and prices were up 2.3 percent.

In the Tampa Bay area, home sales also jumped 27 percent from last April, but the median sales price fell 2 percent to $132,900. In recent months, a rise in foreclosures has helped push up the number of home sales while curtailing any rebound in sales prices at the same time.

Condo sales rose 55 percent statewide, with prices slipping another 3 percent to $103,600. In the bay area, condo sales surged 77 percent, with median prices up 3 percent to $102,200.

Florida Realtors president and Jacksonville Realtor Wendell Davis cited several reasons for April's upward trend, starting with a rush to buy before the home buyer tax credits expired. Also spurring sales, he said, were the wide variety of housing options available and continued low mortgage interest rates.

Thanks to the European debt crisis, mortgage rates have fallen even further this month to historic lows. The current average rate for a 30-year fixed loan is 4.87 percent, reports Bankrate.com. That's the lowest rate for the 30 years since Bankrate started keeping track 25 years ago.

Florida home sales numbers mirror the national front, where existing home sales in April rose a better-than-expected 7.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.77 million homes changing hands. That was the best showing in five months and better than the 5.63 million units economists had expected.

The median price for a new home nationally rose to $173,100, up 4 percent from a year ago.

Times wires contributed to this report.

Sales of previously owned homes in Florida rise 27 percent; prices up 1 percent 05/24/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 24, 2010 10:17pm]
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