Home sales across Florida and Massachusetts dropped in February from their year-ago levels, according to Realtor associations in both states, while home prices posted mixed results.
In Florida, sales of single-family existing homes totaled 13,539 in February, down 20 percent from 16,916 homes a year ago, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.
The statewide median price for single-family existing homes last month was $244,200, up 24 percent from the February 2005 statewide median of $197,700. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.
Sales of existing condominiums in Florida also decreased last month, with a total of 4,342 condos sold statewide, compared with 5,643 in February 2005, for a 23 percent decline, according to FAR. The statewide median sales price for condos rose 11 percent to $218,700 last month; a year ago, it was $197,000.
Among the state’s larger markets, the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) reported a total of 1,200 single-family existing homes sold in the area in February, compared with 1,218 homes a year ago, for a 1 percent decrease. The median sales price rose 14 percent to $196,200; a year ago, it was $171,800.
As for smaller markets in Florida, the Tallahassee MSA, reported strong resales activity last month with a total of 330 single-family homes changing hands, compared with 298 homes a year ago, for an increase of 11 percent. The area’s median sales price rose 15 percent to $185,800; a year ago, it was $161,300.
In Massachusetts, sales of detached single-family homes declined for a fifth consecutive month in February, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported.
Across the state, 2,254 homes were sold during February, a drop of 1.7 percent from the same month last year when 2,294 homes sold. The more moderate sales pace mirrors the 2,255 homes sold in February 2003, offering further evidence the housing market is returning to normal after two years of record activity. Condo sales remain strong, however, setting a new February sales record, increasing 3.1 percent from 1,133 units sold in February 2005 to 1,168 this past February. It’s the 25th consecutive month condo sales have improved over the comparable month a year earlier.
As demand has started to ease, there has been a sharp increase in the inventory of unsold homes, which has risen over the past year by 40.5 percent, from 37,142 detached single-family homes and condos listed for sale in February 2005 to 54,520 listings last month. It’s the 20th consecutive month the supply of homes for sale has risen across the state, MAR reported.
“Today’s improved supply levels have brought much needed stability to home prices,” said MAR President David Wluka, of Wluka Real Estate in Sharon. “The days of bidding wars and double-digit price appreciation are over. We expect only modest increases in home values this year.”
Illustrative of the moderation in home prices, the statewide median selling price for detached single-family homes was essentially flat last month, off just 0.2 percent to $339,450 from a median of $340,000 in February 2005. Meanwhile, the statewide median selling price for condominiums rose 2.2 percent during the past year, increasing from $269,000 last February to $275,000 in February 2006. Similarly, on a month-to-month basis, the median selling price for condos rose 1.9 percent from January’s median of $270,000, but the median selling price for detached single-family homes slipped 2.6 percent from $348,500 in January. That’s symptomatic of buyers opting to purchase less home when mortgage rates rise, according to MAR.
“This spring, we expect to have a strong buyer’s market for the first time in more than a decade,” said Wluka.