Miami Region August Home Sales

by 05 Oct 2011
Miami-area August home sales shot up 25 percent from a year earlier, the result of a relatively high number of business days this August and especially large gains in transactions below $200,000 and above $800,000. Price measures trended lower, with the overall median sale price dipping year-over-year for the 47th consecutive month, a real estate information service reported.   In August, 9,638 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the metro area encompassing Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. That was up 9.3 percent from the prior month and up 24.9 percent from a year earlier – to the highest level for an August in five years, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.   On average, sales have fallen 1.8 percent between July and August since 1997, when DataQuick’s complete Miami-area statistics begin.   August’s total sales fell 19.4 percent below the average August sales tally of 11,951 since 1997. However, that’s mainly because new-home sales remain unusually low as builders struggle with the weak economy and competition from the resale market, especially distressed sales. The resale market is faring much better: The number of resale single-family houses and condos sold in August was the highest for that month since 2005 and only 6.2 percent below average for the month of August since 1997.   The overall sales picture in August changes a bit when viewed in terms of the average number of homes sold daily. That’s because August had 23 business days on which home sales could be recorded, compared with 20 business days in July and 22 in August 2010. The average number of homes sold daily in August fell 5.0 percent from July and rose 19.5 percent year-over-year (vs. the 9.3 percent month-to-month gain and the 24.9 percent annual gain for the total number of homes sold in the month).   Another reason it was easier to beat the year-ago sales numbers in August: Home sales fell off sharply beginning early last summer as federal and state homebuyer tax credits expired.   The 25 percent annual gain sales gain in August also reflects a sharp rise in deals below $200,000 and above $800,000. The number of homes that sold for less than $200,000 jumped 27.3 percent in August compared with a year earlier, while sales above $800,000 spiked 33.2 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, sales between $200,000 and $600,000 rose 20.3 percent.   In the Miami region’s multi-million-dollar luxury market in August, 64 houses and condos sold for $2 million or more, down 17.9 percent from July but up 36.2 percent from a year earlier. During the first eight months of this year, 581 homes sold for $2 million or more, up 17.6 percent from the same period last year. The figures are based on public property records, where either a price or loan amount was available.    In the overall market, the median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Miami region in August was $132,000, down 2.9 percent from July and down 5.7 percent from a year earlier.   The August median stood 54.5 percent below the peak $290,000 median in June 2007.    Another key price gauge analysts watch, the median price paid per square foot for existing single-family detached houses, fell to $96 in August, down from $99 in July and down 6.8 percent from $103 a year earlier. The August figure stood 54.5 percent lower than the peak of $211 reached in May 2006.    At the county level in August, the median paid per square foot for resale houses dropped to $96 in Broward County, down from $99 in July and down 6.9 percent from a year earlier. The figure dropped to $94 in Miami-Dade County, down 6.9 percent from July and down 4.8 percent from a year earlier. Palm Beach County’s median paid per square foot rose a hair to $98 in August, up from $97 in July but down 9.9 percent from a year earlier.   In August the use of a popular form of low-down-payment financing used by first-time homebuyers – government-insured FHA loans – rose slightly to 39.4 percent of all home purchase loans. That was up from 37.9 percent in July but down from 44.3 percent a year ago and 45.1 percent two years ago.   Absentee buyers purchased a near-record 38.1 percent of all homes sold in the Miami area in August, compared with 37.5 percent in July, 35.7 percent a year ago, and an all-time high of 39.4 percent this March. August’s absentee buyers paid a median $90,000, down from $93,000 the month before and the same as a year earlier. Absentee buyers are investors, second-home buyers and others who indicate at the time of sale that their property tax bill will be sent to a different address. (Absentee statistics go back to January 2000).   Many absentee buyers are also cash buyers, who purchased 62.4 percent of all Miami-area homes sold in August. That was down slightly from 62.8 percent the prior month and a record 68.6 percent this March. A year ago the figure was 59.2 percent. Specifically, these were transactions where there was no indication of a purchase loan recorded at the time of sale. Some of these “cash” buyers could have used alternative financing arrangements outside of a typical, recorded purchase mortgage, and in some cases they might take out mortgages after their purchases.   On the lending front, use of adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) dropped a bit in August, when 10.3 percent of all home purchase loans were ARMs. That was down from 11.5 percent in July, which was the highest ARM rate since August 2008. A year ago ARMs made up 7.0 percent of purchase loans. The low point for ARM use in the current real estate cycle was 4.4 percent in May 2009. Though the ARM rate has generally trended higher over the past year it remains far below the Miami area's decade-long monthly ARM average of 30 percent of all purchase loans.   (chart below)  
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, FL  MSA    
         
Number of sales

Aug-10

Jul-11

Aug-11

%Chng

Resale houses

3,623

4,109

4,550

25.6%

Resale condos

3,660

4,253

4,591

25.4%

New homes

433

459

497

14.8%

All homes

7,716

8,821

9,638

24.9%

         
Median price

Aug-10

Jul-11

Aug-11

%Chng

Resale houses

$180,000

$170,000

$165,000

-8.3%

Resale condos

$86,000

$90,000

$90,000

4.7%

New homes

$310,000

$325,000

$295,000

-4.8%

All homes

$140,000

$136,000

$132,000

-5.7%

         
Source: DataQuick, DQNews.com      

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