Palm Beach home prices drop while sales soar

By Palm Beach

DELRAY BEACH — More of the same from the Florida Association of Realtors: Used-home sales soared in July, compared to the same month a year earlier, while prices plummeted.

Statewide, sales rose 37 percent last month with a total of 15,882 homes sold, compared to 11,595 in July 2008, according to FAR. Sales increased 0.2 percent in July compared to June. Florida Realtors also reported a 48 percent rise in statewide sales of existing condos in July.

The median price statewide fell 24 percent to $147,600 from $193,800 a year earlier.

Palm Beach County followed the pattern: sales increased 32 percent to 859 from 652 a year earlier, while the median price fell 16 percent to $245,200 from $291,300 in July 2008.

"I think we're on the road to recovery and even though most markets report they've seen the bottom, it's going to be a long climb," said Timothy Becker, director of the University of Florida's Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. The center conducts a quarterly survey of real estate industry experts..

Becker said that the investment outlook for single-family development increased to its highest level since the survey began, with more survey respondents than ever believing it is a good time to buy.

Eighteen of Florida's metropolitan statistical areas reported increased used-home sales in July; the same number of MSAs also showed gains in condo sales. A majority of the state's MSAs have reported increased sales for 13 consecutive months.

In Broward County, used-home sales increased by 56 percent to 907 in July from 581 a year earlier; the median price fell to $219,000 from $303,600 and 28 percent decline.

In Miami-Dade, the number of sales increased 64 percent to 643 from 392 a year earlier. The median price fell to $192,700 from $323,700, a 40 percent decline.

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