Home sales stay strong despite four hurricanes


Published: Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 12:08 a.m.

Facts

FYI: By the numbers

  • Average price of a Gainesville home was $172,500 last year
  • The average sales price of all homes increased by $10,000 each month from January through April, dropping slightly to $165,397 in May before hitting the mid $170,000s in June and July, according to GACAR's records. While the average price dropped to $166,691 in September, the month of most of the hurricanes, sales prices crept up to $172,827, $182,599 and dropped slightly to $177,979 the next three months, respectively.
  • There were 291 two-bedroom homes and 2,060 three-bedroom homes sold by GACAR members through 2004, with an average price of about $98,300 and $154,250, respectively. A goodly number of four- or more bedroom homes sold during the year: 967, with an average price of about $265,150. That average price, however, doesn't reflect the fact that many of those larger homes sold for more than $250,000 and 54 of them went for more than $500,000.
  • In numbers of homes sold, 2004 was a slightly slower year than the previous year for two-bedroom homes, but prices have risen since then. According to GACAR records, in 2003, 353 two-bedroom homes sold for an average $83,500; 1,939 three-bedroom homes sold for an average selling price of about $137,200; and homes with four or more bedrooms - 972 of them - sold for an average $240,000. Of those higher-end homes, 345 cost more than $250,000; 43 of those sold for more than $500,000.

  • Mere mention of the dramatic effect the 2004 hurricanes had on Florida is beginning to sound like a broken record.
    But business - particularly the real estate business - has rebounded despite the billions of dollars in property damage wrought by the four large named storms in August and September.
    The Florida Association of Realtors reports that despite the impact of the storms, existing home sales remained strong for most of 2004. Up until the storm season hit, sales of single-family existing homes hit record highs in many of the state's metropolitan statistical areas. The median price of homes also showed a 22 percent increase over the same period in 2003.
    Gainesville-Alachua County Association of Realtors' data show a similar pattern. GACAR tracks homes sold by its members, and the majority are existing homes rather than brand-new construction. The figures do not include homes sold by real estate agents who are not GACAR members; neither do they include homes sold by owners.
    GACAR's total home sales - including condominiums and apartments - started off at $26,108,951 in January 2004 and increased by almost $10 million each month until May, when it leaped to a nearly $90 million volume for two months. In July and August, total sales were about $80 million.
    But then came Frances and Jeanne, and the sales volume dropped dramatically to about $50 million during each of the next three months. December's sales showed a recovery, with $58,199,412 worth of homes changing hands.
    The average sales price of all homes increased by $10,000 each month from January through April, dropping slightly to $165,397 in May before hitting the mid-$170,000s in June and July, according to GACAR's records. While the average price dropped to $166,691 in September, the month of most of the storms, sales prices crept up to $172,827, $182,599 and dropped slightly to $177,979 the next three months, respectively.
    There were 291 two-bedroom homes and 2,060 three-bedroom homes sold by GACAR members through 2004, with an average price of about $98,300 and $154,250, respectively. A goodly number of four- or more bedroom homes sold during the year: 967, with an average price of about $265,150. That average price, however, doesn't reflect the fact that many of those larger homes sold for more than $250,000 and 54 of them went for more than $500,000.
    In numbers of homes sold, 2004 was a slightly slower year than the previous year for two-bedroom homes, but prices have risen since then. According to GACAR records, in 2003, 353 two-bedroom homes sold for an average $83,500; 1,939 three-bedroom homes sold for an average selling price of about $137,200; and homes with four or more bedrooms - 972 of them - sold for an average $240,000. Of those higher-end homes, 345 cost more than $250,000; 43 of those sold for more than $500,000.
    Sellers were getting pretty much what they were asking for their homes or condos both years, with the average selling price consistently 98 percent or better of the asking price, according to GACAR.
    Florida Association of Realtors' records indicate that prices of existing single-family homes reached new heights this past year. Across the state, the median sales price - with half the sales above that figure, and half below - was $192,400; for 2003 it had been $103,200. This shows a 22 percent increase over the course of the year, the report states.
    In Gainesville, the average sales price - a figure arrived at by dividing the total sales value by the total number of sales - was about $172,500. The National Association of Realtors predicts the median existing-home price will rise to $214,600.
    According to FAR records, the Naples MSA reported the highest median price at $369,900, while the Ocala MSA had the lowest, $113,000.
    Fueled by interest rates for 30-year fixed mortgages remaining below 6 percent, the National Association of Realtors predict there will be 6.48 million sales transactions in 2005.
    Bonnie Mott, president of GACAR, said that from all the indicators, "the interest rate will have very little movement this year. In turn, this will make the housing industry viable again this year.
    "This is absolutely a good year to buy a home. And the big thing here will be finding that affordable house. It's hard to say what is 'affordable,' because that depends on who the buyer is, what they can pay.
    "And sometimes we forget we have a lot of attached housing that is reasonably priced, just right for people who are newlyweds, or single professionals, who don't want to be saddled with the maintenance" usually associated with free-standing homes, Mott said. During 2004, there were 776 condominiums, townhomes or apartments sold for an average price of $112,650. The previous year, 637 units sold for an average of about $104,000.
    Marina Blomberg can be reached at 374-5025 or blombem@gvillesun.com.

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