South Florida Sales Get Boost From Investors, First-Time Buyers

Miami-region July home sales rose to the highest level for any month in nearly two years, as investors and first-time buyers continued to dominate the market, according to MDA DataQuick. The median price paid for all new and resale homes combined held steady, marking the third consecutive month in which the median has not fallen from the previous month.

In July, 7,942 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the region encompassing Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. That was up 2.8% from June and up 24.4% from 6,383 in July 2008, says DataQuick, which tracks real estate trends via public property records.

Total escrow closings were the second-lowest for a July – behind last year – since at least 1997, when DataQuick's complete South Florida region statistics begin. July marked the fifth consecutive month in which the region's sales have risen on a year-over-year basis. The July sales total was the highest for any month since 9,214 homes sold in August 2007.

The number of single-family houses and condos that resold has risen on a year-over-year basis for eight straight months. Sales of newly built homes, which fell to a record low for a July, have fallen on a year-over-year basis for 38 consecutive months, DataQuick adds.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos combined in July was $160,000, the same as in June, but down 36% from $250,000 in July 2008. The July median stood 44.8% below the peak $290,000 median in June 2007. Prior to this past May, the median had fallen month-to-month for 11 consecutive months.

Federal Housing Administration loans accounted for 46% of all July purchases, DataQuick says, while absentee buyers bought 30.4% of all homes in July.



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