Miami Region September Home Sales

November 1, 2012

Miami-area home sales rose to the highest level for a September in six years as a big gain in the number of deals over $300,000 compensated for a decline in activity in the lower price ranges. The median sale price rose above a year earlier for the ninth consecutive month, a real estate information service reported.

In September, 8,969 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the metro area encompassing Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. That was down 10.9 percent from the prior month and up 4.9 percent from a year earlier, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

Typically Miami-area sales dip between August and September, with that decline averaging 10.3 percent since 1997, when DataQuick's complete Miami-area statistics begin. Sales have risen year-over-year for five consecutive months.

Between January and September this year, the region's home sales totaled 83,872, up 2.7 percent from the same period last year. Sales of newly built homes during the first nine months of this year fell 7.0 percent from the same period last year, while they inched up 0.2 percent for resale condos and increased 6.8 percent for resale houses.

Total sales for the month of September fell 14.7 percent short of the average number of sales for that month since 1997. The number of existing (not new) houses and condos that closed escrow in September was 1.9 percent below the historical average for the month, though condo resales were 21.2 percent above average. New-home sales fell nearly 74 percent short of the September average.

When viewed by price segment, the Miami area's September sales dropped 14 percent year-over-year for homes priced below $100,000, and dipped 2.5 percent for homes below $200,000. Sales between $200,000 and $600,000 posted a nearly 19 percent annual gain in September, while the number of homes that sold above $800,000 rose 21 percent from the same month last year.

In the Miami region's multi-million-dollar luxury market, 68 homes sold for $2 million or more in September, down 25.3 percent from the month before and up 21.4 percent from one year earlier. Luxury sales can vacillate month-to-month. So far this year, luxury sales are up: Between January and September, 748 homes sold for $2 million or more, up 18.0 percent from the same period in 2011. The figures are based on public property records, where either a price or loan amount was available.

In the overall Miami market, the median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in September was $150,000. That was up 2.7 percent from August and up 15.4 percent from a year earlier After hitting a two-year high of $150,000 in June, the Miami median dipped to $148,000 in July and $146,000 in August.

Prior to January this year, the region's median hadn't risen year-over-year since September 2007.

The September median was 25.0 percent higher than the current housing cycle's post-peak trough of $120,000 in January and February of 2011, but it was still 48.3 percent lower than the Miami area's peak $290,000 median in June 2007.

The region's resale condo median rose 23.5 percent year-over-year in September, marking the twelfth consecutive month in which that price measure posted an annual gain. The median price paid for resale single-family detached houses rose 11.5 percent in September - the eighth month in a row with a year-over-year increase.

Another key price gauge analysts watch, the median price paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses, continued to rise in each of the area's three counties in September.

The median paid per square foot rose to $107 in Broward County, up 7.6 year-over-year. It was the ninth consecutive month with an annual gain. The median paid per square foot was $104 in Miami-Dade County, up 7.3 percent from a year earlier, marking the tenth consecutive month to post an annual gain. Palm Beach County's median paid per square foot was $105 in September, up 12.2 percent from a year earlier, marking the seventh consecutive month with an annual gain.

For the overall region, the median price paid per square foot for resale condos in September rose to $95, up 3.3 percent from the month before and up 22.5 percent from a year earlier. The figure has risen year-over-year for twelve consecutive months and in September it was the highest since February 2009, when it was $96. Still, September's level was nearly 55 percent below the April 2006 peak of $211 per square foot.

Other Miami region September highlights:

  • Absentee buyers purchased 40.6 percent of all homes sold in the Miami area in September, down from 40.7 percent the month before and up from 38.1 percent a year earlier. The peak for absentee purchases was 42.6 percent in February this year. (Absentee statistics go back to January 2000). Absentee buyers paid a median $112,000 for all new and resale houses and condos that they purchased in September, up from $104,000 the month before and up 24.4 percent from $90,000 a year earlier. Absentee buyers are investors, second-home buyers and others who indicate at the time of sale that the property tax bill will be sent to a different address.
  • About 25 percent of the homes sold to absentee buyers in September were purchased by people based outside of the Miami region. U.S. buyers from outside of Florida bought 9 percent of all the homes sold in the Miami region in September. The top states for these absentee buyers were New York (3 percent of total sales and 8.3 percent of all absentee buyers) and New Jersey (1.2 percent of total sales and 3.4 percent of absentee purchases).
  • Buyers who had a foreign mailing addresses in the public record accounted for 2.6 percent of all Miami-area home sales in September, and 4.3 percent of the region's existing condo sales. (Note: Not all foreign buyers use a foreign mailing address, hence cannot be tracked with public records.)
  • Cash buyers purchased 62.0 percent of the Miami-area homes sold in September. That was about the same as both the month before and a year earlier. The peak was 68.7 percent in February this year. September's cash buyers paid a median $112,500, up from $106,200 the prior month and up 25 percent from $90,000 a year earlier. Cash deals are where there was no indication in the public record of a purchase loan recorded at the time of sale.
  • Use of a form of low-down-payment financing popular with first-time homebuyers - government-insured FHA loans - fell to 30.9 percent of all home purchase loans in September. It was the lowest FHA level since September 2008, when it was 28.9 percent. September's FHA level was down from 31.4 percent the month before and down from 39.6 percent a year earlier.

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach MSA


Number of sales Sep-11 Aug-12 Sep-12 %Chng
Resale houses 3,935 4,851 4,234 7.60%
Resale condos 4,131 4,746 4,239 2.60%
New homes 480 465 496 3.30%
All homes 8,546 10,062 8,969 4.90%
         
Median price Sep-11 Aug-12 Sep-12 %Chng
Resale houses $165,000 $180,000 $184,000 11.50%
Resale condos $85,000 $104,000 $105,000 23.50%
New homes $311,950 $310,500 $304,400 -2.40%
All homes $130,000 $146,000 $150,000 15.40%

Media calls: Andrew LePage (916) 456-7157

Source: DataQuick; DQNews.com

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