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Latest data reveals these tips for South Florida home-buyers: Go vertical, shop Dade

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For home-buyers seeking single-family homes, South Florida remained a sellers’ market in December, as the inventory of single-family homes continued to tighten in both Miami-Dade and Broward. But when it comes to condos, home-buyers had greater choice in Miami-Dade than in Broward.

Those findings come from the January report from the Miami Association of Realtors, which covers data through December 2019. The data confirmed trends that have continued throughout the fall.

Existing home sales in both counties continued to increase, thanks largely to a drop in interest rates, say experts. Thirty-year fixed rates dropped to 3.75% in November 2019 from 4.94% in November 2018, noted Craig Garcia, president of Capital Partners Mortgage.

“Every time interest rates go down it creates excitement in the marketplace,” said Nancy Klock Corey, regional vice president of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate’s Southeast Florida region. “It motivates the buyer to buy sooner.”

MIAMI-DADE

In Miami-Dade, sales of existing homes and condos jumped 16.4% to 2,424 in December 2019 from 2,083 in December 2018. With an increase of 16.7%, condo sales picked up slightly more than sales of single-family homes, which grew by 16%.

As sales grew, inventory decreased, dropping by 10% — from 6,877 to 6,190, or 5.6 months supply. A supply of six to nine months is considered a balanced market. The median price for a single-family home rose 7%, from $355,000 December 2018 to $380,000.

For existing condos, inventory dwindled by 7.6%, from 15,871 to 14,662 active listings. Still, with 12.5 months of supply, buyers continue to have the upper hand. Existing condo prices increased by 4.3%, from $235,000 to $245,000.

Condo activity could be even stronger, Garcia said, if more buildings were pre-approved by the Federal Housing Administration for low-cost FHA-backed mortgages. Despite changes implemented in October designed to increase FHA-qualified buildings nationwide, only 13 buildings in Miami-Dade currently have approval, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.

“The leasing restrictions is a large barrier,” Garcia said. Condo associations that screen tenants typically don’t receive approval, he said, “because the agency considers that as potential discrimination.”

Klock Corey expects condo sales to continue to outpace sales of single-family homes, she said, “as long as sellers are astute about pricing.”

In the luxury market, existing condo sales outpaced sales of single-family homes priced more than $1 million. Condo transactions grew by 47.5%, to 87 transactions, up from about 45 transactions in December 2018. The number of single-family home transactions grew by 35.9% to 109 sales, up from about 69 sales, during the same period.

About 90% of both condo and single-family homes sold at or near the asking price.

Total cash transactions comprised 33.9% of total sales, a dip of 0.9% from December 2018. But the percentage remains significantly higher than the national average of 20%.

BROWARD

In Broward, total home sales increased by 14.2%, from 2,361 in December 2018 to 2,697 in December 2019, according to the Miami Association of Realtors’ Broward report.

The inventory of single-family homes dropped by 18.2%, leaving a tight 3.6 months of supply. The median price for single-family homes increased by 8.6%, to $380,000 from $350,000.

Supply of existing condos dropped by 8.6%, from 8,130 to 7,434 active listings. There remained 5.4 months of supply, indicating a seller’s market. Median existing prices increased by 12.5%, from $160,000 $180,000.

In the luxury market, sales of single-family homes jumped by a whopping 48.1%, to 77 transactions, up from about 39 sales in December 2018. Existing condo sales grew by 22%, for a total 22 sales.

More than 90% of transactions of both existing condos and single-family homes sold at or near the asking price.

Total cash transactions comprised 33.7% of total sales, a 3.2% drop from December 2018.

BY REBECCA SAN JUAN – Miami Herald

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