Palm Beach, Florida home sales rise as prices fall

By Palm Beach

DELRAY BEACH — More of the same from Florida’s housing market: more homes selling but for fewer dollars as short sales and foreclosures dominate.

Used home sales in Palm Beach County rose 5 percent in May to 737 from 702 a year earlier, while the median price dropped to $232,900 from $330,900, a 30 percent decline. Palm Beach County is the only market in the state where the median — half of sales are for more, half for less — is above $200,000.

Those numbers are from the Florida Association of Realtors report for May.

For all of Florida, May sales totaled 13,921, a 16 percent gain from the 12,044 sold in May 2008. The median price fell to $144,400 from $203,400, a 29 percent decline.

By comparison, the national median was $173,000 in May, according to the National Association of Realtors, which also released its May housing report on Tuesday.

Nationally, sales rose 2.4 percent in May to an annualized rate of 4.77 million homes. A year ago, the rare of sales was 4.95 million.

NAR said the increase in sales was less than expected because poor appraisals stalled transactions. Pending home sales indicated much stronger activity, but some contracts fell through because of valuations that kept buyers from getting a loan.

Lower prices, low mortgage rates and federal tax credits are boosting the market.

"Now the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit is beginning to impact the market," NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. "Since first-time buyers must finalize their purchase by Nov. 30 to get the credit, we expect greater activity in the months ahead and that should spark more sales by repeat buyers."

Other numbers from the FAR report: Broward County sales increased 47 percent to 780 from 530 a year earlier; the median price dropped 36 percent to $190,000 from $296,000 a year earlier. Miami-Dade sales increased 76 percent to 597 from 339 a year earlier; the median price dropped 39 percent to $194,700 from $320,900 a year earlier.

Statewide condo sales increased 21 percent to 4,839 from 3,998 a year ago, while the median price fell 38 percent to $113,400 from $181,700. In Palm Beach County, sales increased 3 percent, to 676 from 655, while the median price dropped 33 percent from $107,500 from $159,800.

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JUNE 23, 2009 click to go home
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