The frenzied pace of existing-home sales in Florida eased in July, while the statewide median sales price rose 33 percent to $252,300, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

A year ago, the statewide median price was $190,300; in July 2000, the statewide median price was $119,600, according to FAR records.

“The slowing of unit sales will lessen one pressure point lying behind the abnormally high rates of change in median sales prices,” said David Scott, executive director of the Dr. Phillips Institute for the Study of American Business Activity and professor of finance at the University of Central Florida. “Expect the ascent in median prices to begin a gentle leveling off. Several factors lie behind this: (1) Inflation rates as recently reported have increased substantially; (2) rising gasoline prices are negatively pressuring household units on the spending side of economic activity; (3) Federal Reserve policymakers continue to increase short-term interest rates; and (4) wages are rising at rates less than the various rates of inflation, which will reduce the number of borrowers easily qualifying for conventional mortgages.”

A total of 21,669 existing single-family homes changed hands in Florida last month, declining 8 percent compared to 23,646 homes sold in July 2004.

Among the state’s larger metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), Jacksonville reported a 7 percent increase in resales activity last month, with a total of 1,647 homes changing hands, compared with 1,536 homes sold a year ago. The area’s median sales price rose 20 percent to $190,500; a year ago, it was $159,000.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater was another larger MSA reporting higher sales in July compared to a year ago, with 4,742 homes sold for an increase of 1 percent. The market’s median sales price rose 30 percent last month to $217,400.

Among the state’s smaller MSAs, Fort Pierce-Port St. Lucie posted gains in July home sales, with a total of 654 homes changing hands, compared with 623 homes a year ago for a 5 percent boost. The area’s median sales price rose 37 percent to $265,300; a year ago, it was $193,500.

Other smaller MSAs reporting major increases in resales activity last month compared to a year ago include: Tallahassee, where 502 homes sold for a 13 percent gain; and Gainesville, where 389 homes changed hands for a 7 percent increase. The median sale price in those markets also rose: in Tallahassee, up 15 percent to $176,700; and in Gainesville, up 11 percent to $185,600.

The Florida Association of Realtors provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its more than 130,000 members in 68 boards/associations.


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