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Sales Of Used Homes Plunge

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http://www.palmbeachpost.com/business/cont...homes_0526.html

As mortgage rates continue to climb from last year's historic lows, existing-home sales in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast posted double-digit declines in April compared with the same month a year ago, the Florida Association of Realtors said Thursday.

Palm Beach County posted the biggest sales drop of all metropolitan markets in the state, the association report shows. Local buyers closed on only 804 resales last month, a staggering 43 percent decline from the same month a year ago, when 1,407 existing home sales closed, the report shows.

On the Treasure Coast — a smaller but still robust market comprising Martin County and fast-growing St. Lucie County — existing-home sales in April declined 28 percent, to 491 from 680 last year, the report shows.

Statewide, every market but two — Jacksonville and Tallahassee — also reported double-digit declines in existing home sales. Jacksonville sales fell 4 percent and Tallahassee sales rose 5 percent compared with the same month a year ago, the report shows.

Analysts say the slowdown is a "soft landing" from record-setting sales of the past five years.

"The big run-up in home prices is over," said Thomas Stevens, president of the National Association of Realtors. "After five years of booming sales, we are now experiencing normal market conditions across most of the country."

Buyers also are reacting to increased mortgage rates. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.51 percent in April, up from 5.86 percent in April 2005, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

"Since Jan. 1, even with rising interest rates, the cost of a mortgage payment has gone up less than $1.50 a day on the median-priced home in Palm Beach County and roughly $4 a day for a median-priced home on the Treasure Coast," said Jim Sahnger, vice president of Palm Beach Financial Network in Sewall's Point.

The local slowdown in sales means more homes are on the market, which puts downward pressure on prices as it signals an end to the seller's market of recent years.

The median price of an existing home in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast rose only 4 percent last month compared with prices in April 2005, the association said. The median is the midpoint at which half the homes sold cost more and half cost less.

Palm Beach County's median price rose to $386,500 compared with $372,300 in April 2005. That's down from a high of $421,500 in November, association records show.

Statewide, existing-home sales fell 31 percent, to 16,392 from 23,844, the report shows. The median price rose 13 percent, to $249,700 from $221,100 in April 2005.

"It's a buyer's market now," said Randy Bianchi, co-owner of Paradise Properties in West Palm Beach. "There are buyers out there, but they're asking sellers to assume some of the costs traditionally borne by buyers."

A look at the Regional Multiple Listing Service shows the number of single-family homes and condos for sale in Palm Beach County more than doubled in the past six months, Bianchi said. In October, there were 6,879 single-family homes on the market in Palm Beach County, he said, compared with 13,953 this month.

Local condo resales in the MLS also have skyrocketed, he said. In October, there were 4,560 condos listed for sale in Palm Beach County, a number that mushroomed to 10,085 this month, Bianchi said.

Sales of existing condos in Palm Beach County plunged 50 percent last month, to 522 from 1,043, the association said. The median price of an existing condo unit rose 14 percent, to $222,300 from $194,400 in April 2005.

"The growing number of condos for sale is truly shocking," said Jack McCabe of McCabe Research & Consulting. "We're going to go through some real pains from this previous boom, and it's statewide.

"Long-term, we're in one of the most vital markets in the country," he said. "But the next five years won't be pretty."

On the Treasure Coast, condo sales nose-dived 51 percent, to 71 closings from 144 in April of last year, the Florida Association of Realtors report shows. The median price of an existing Treasure Coast condo declined 0.5 percent, to $179,100 from $180,000 in April 2005.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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