Local home sales up 12% in 2012
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 4:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 4:17 p.m.
Home sales finished 2012 on a high note in Gainesville to push the total for the year to more than 2,000, 12 percent above 2011 figures.
Real estate agents closed on 194 existing single-family homes in December, up nearly 10 percent from 177 sales in December 2011, according to data from the Multiple Listings Service. For the year, sales totaled 2,084 compared to 1,862 in 2011.
While sales showed a clear trend toward recovery with year-over-year results up in 11 out of 12 months, prices fluctuated throughout the year, evidence of a market approaching stabilization.
The median sales price ended the year up 3 percent at $154,500 in December compared to $150,000 in December 2011.
Supply and demand indicators point to continued improvement. Pending sales of homes under contract that have not yet closed were up nearly 26 percent in December with 171 compared to 136 pending sales in December 2011, while the inventory of homes on the market was down nearly 11 percent over the same period.
"I think we're looking forward to a steady but slow upward trend," said Greta Rice, president of the Gainesville-Alachua County Association of Realtors.
She said local Realtors are swamped with calls from potential buyers, but are watching with caution new federal rules about mortgage qualifications.
"Right now we've got some pretty optimistic buyers," Rice said. "They're conservative. They're not just dumping lots of cash in the market. They are savvy but they are purchasing. That's what's looking very bright for our community."
Other indicators showed a market that is lagging behind the recovery at the state and national level. At December's pace of sales, Gainesville had a 9.3-month supply of homes on the market, down from 11.7 months in December 2011 but well above the 5.5-month supply statewide and 4.4-month U.S. supply.
A six-month supply is considered balanced, favoring neither buyers nor sellers.
Rice said that Gainesville has historically felt economic trends later and as other areas recover, Gainesville slowly feels the recovery.
"Gainesville is like in a little bubble — a good bubble — in the respect that we don't get hit the quickest or the hardest in a lot of transitions," she said.
While Gainesville home prices fluctuated in 2012, the median sales price in Florida was up year-over-year for the 12th consecutive month in December to $154,000, 14 percent above the $135,000 median of December 2011.
The Florida and national Realtors associations both said pent-up demand and a shortage of inventory is pushing up prices, including rising demand from investors in Florida.
Statewide, sales were up nearly 16 percent in December.
U.S. sales of all housing types were down 1 percent from November to December but were up nearly 13 percent over December 2011. The median sales price was up 11.5 percent to $180,800 over the year.
Total sales for 2012 were up 9 percent over 2011 to 4.65 million sales, the highest since 2007 when 5.03 million homes sold.
Gainesville sales of townhouses and condominiums rose from 45 to 52 over the year in December to finish the year up more than 9 percent to 570 total compared to 521 in 2011. The median sales price dropped nearly 20 percent to $56,250 in December from $70,000 in December 2011.
Florida condo sales were up nearly 9 percent in December and the median sales price up 26 percent to $117,500 from $93,000 a year ago.
In Gainesville, distressed sales brought the median sales price of single-family homes down by more than $20,000. Traditional sales of 131 homes sold for a median price of $176,000 compared to $105,000 for 39 foreclosure sales and $145,000 for 25 short sales.
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