Alachua County home sales up 29% over March 2012


Published: Monday, April 22, 2013 at 12:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 22, 2013 at 4:16 p.m.

Alachua County home sales rose 29 percent in March, the sixth straight month of double-digit increases compared with the prior year, but an increase in foreclosures and short sales led to a slight dip in the median sales price.

Realtors closed on 176 sales of existing single-family homes in Alachua County compared with 137 in March 2012, according to data from the Gainesville Multiple Listings Service. The median sales price, with half selling for more and half for less, was $161,900, down less than 1 percent from $162,300 a year ago.

The drop in the median sales price was largely because of an increase in distressed sales that sold at lower prices than last year, with 48 foreclosures and short sales compared with 38 a year ago. The median sales price on foreclosures was down 33 percent to $75,750 and was down 40 percent on short sales to $90,125.

Traditional sales actually saw an increase in the median sales price of 13 percent to $190,000 from $167,734 in March 2012.

Greta Rice, president of the Gainesville-Alachua County Association of Realtors, said a lot of pent-up inventory of distressed homes came onto the market after working its way through the bank process, and banks are having to lower prices to compete with other foreclosures and short sales.

At the same time, she said traditional sales are healthy, with many homes getting the full asking price and multiple offers.

New pending sales of homes under contract that have yet to close jumped 84 percent in March to 284 from 154 last year.

“It is unreal how busy it is,” said Rice, also broker of Tioga Realty. “We've got people working long hours to try to serve everybody who has either inquiries or questions or wants to write contracts. We haven't seen this in several years.”

Florida and U.S. sales of existing single-family homes were both up 9 percent in March over March 2012. The median sales price in Florida was up 15 percent to $160,000 from $138,900, while the U.S. median sales price was up 12 percent to $185,100.

With Florida sales up 9 percent and the inventory of homes listed for sale down 26 percent, the state has a 5.3-month supply of homes compared with 8 months a year ago, putting upward pressure on prices.

Inventory constraints were credited with lower sales of all housing types nationwide from February to March, with a 0.6 percent decline, although sales were up 10 percent compared with the same period in 2012. The combined median sales price of single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums was up 11.8 percent to $184,300, the strongest year-over-year increase since November 2005.

Alachua County townhouse and condo sales rose to 41 in March from 35 in March 2012 while the median sales price dropped 6 percent to $65,000 from $69,000 a year ago. Statewide condo sales were up 1 percent over the year, and the median sales price was up 16 percent to $120,000 from $103,500.

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