Median price of home sales rises in area


Published: Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 1:49 a.m.
January home sales in Gainesville continued the downward trend of recent months, but pending deals are expected to reflect a spike in sales that close in March. And despite decreasing sales, patient sellers continue to drive up the median price.
Sales of existing single-family homes were down 20 percent - from 182 in January 2006 to 145 last month - in the Gainesville Metropolitan Statistical Area, consisting of Alachua and Gilchrist counties. Statewide, sales were down 27 percent January to January.
The median sale in the Gainesville MSA was $237,500, up 6 percent. Only the Lakeland-Winter Haven MSA appreciated faster at 10 percent. The state median price was down 2 percent to $239,300, but is up 85.6 percent over five years.
Jonathan Colon of Watson Realty said sellers are keeping homes on the market longer to get a price they can live with. He said 90 percent of listings are on the market 90 days or longer, a first in his 11 years in the business with a norm of 30 days. "They might not get as much as they like, but they're still getting more than they paid."
The Multiple Listings Service for Alachua County reported sales of new and existing homes of 198 in December, 120 in January and 99 in February. A lot of year-end sales are spurred by tax considerations, according to Steve Elwood, senior vice president with Coldwell Banker/M.M. Parrish Realtors. And despite the sales slide, 360 deals are currently pending a March closing, he said.
"February's last couple of weeks have been way better than January," Colon said. "More people are out there looking."
With sales down, Colon said all of his sellers are offering incentives such as picking up closing costs, paying homeowners association dues, buying down mortgage rates or buying out leases.
Elwood said inventories of Alachua County homes over $100,000 were 1,354 on Wednesday, up from 1,151 on Dec. 31.
"New subdivisions are coming online and January and February is a better time to list a property than October, November, December, so this is typical," he said of the inventory increase. "This is our listing time when we have more inventory every year."
Condominium sales were down 51 percent in the Gainesville MSA, from 70 to 34, from January to January, while the median price was up 3 percent to $165,000. A rush on condo conversions last year have created an inventory glut.
Statewide condo sales were down 30 percent and the median price down 1 percent.
The National Association of Realtors is predicting a gradual rise of home sales this year and into 2008 and modest price gains as inventories balance out.
"This is our listing time when we have more inventory every year."

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