The median price of an existing single-family home in Florida increased significantly in the third quarter from a year ago, while home sales posted more modest gains, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

The statewide median sales price for third-quarter 2005 rose 31 percent to $248,600; a year ago, it was $189,900. For third quarter 2000, the statewide median sales price of existing single-family homes was $119,700, which translates as an increase of about 107.6 percent over the five-year period. The median is a typical market price where half of the units sold for more and half sold for less.

Realtors reported a total of 64,978 homes changing hands during the three-month period for a 7 percent increase over the 60,462 homes sold in third quarter 2004.

Interest rates for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.76 percent for the three-month period, even lower than the 5.89 percent reported during the same quarter in 2004. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among the state’s larger markets, the Jacksonville metropolitan statistical area (MSA) reported a strong boost in sales volume and median price for the quarter. A total of 4,999 existing homes sold in the Jacksonville market, compared with 4,332 homes last year for a 15 percent gain. Over the same period, the market’s median sales price rose 18 percent to $193,800; it was $164,500 a year ago.

Other larger MSAs reporting higher resales activity for third quarter 2005 include: Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, where 13,973 homes sold for a 12 percent gain; and West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, where 3,802 homes changed hands for a 5 percent increase. The median sales price in those markets also rose: in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, up 29 percent to $216,100; and in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, up 24 percent to $399,900.

As for smaller Florida markets, the Ocala MSA had a total of 1,556 homes sold during the quarter, compared with 1,512 a year ago for a 3 percent increase. The median sales price rose 32 percent to $151,600; a year ago, it was $115,000.

Several other smaller MSAs reported strong home sales for the third quarter, including: Gainesville, where 1,030 homes sold for a 13 percent gain; and Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, where 2,243 homes changed hands for a 12 percent increase. The median sales price in those markets also rose: in Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, up 35 percent to $237,800; and in Gainesville, up 11 percent to $185,700.

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