County home sales jump 31 percent, while median price also rises


Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 4:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 11:16 p.m.

The housing market heated up in May with double-digit increases in sales over last year at the local, state and national levels, including a 31 percent jump in sales in Alachua County.

Closings of single-family existing homes jumped to 236 from 180 in May 2012, according to the Gainesville Multiple Listings Service. The median sales price rose 9 percent to $180,500 from $165,450 a year ago.

Realtors are seeing an increase in homes getting multiple offers, sometimes leading to sales prices well above the original listing prices, said Greta Rice, president of the Gainesville-Alachua County Association of Realtors.

“We hadn’t seen that since 2006,” said Rice, who is also a broker at Tioga Realty.

Traditional sales, as opposed to short sales and foreclosures, were up 41 percent to 177, while the median price for traditional sales was up 10 percent to $210,000 from $191,500 a year ago.

The number of short sales dropped to 16 from 22 a year ago, while foreclosure sales rose to 43 from 32 a year ago. Rice said local Realtors have interpreted that to mean that with prices stabilizing, banks would rather put a little money into a home and put it back on the market to cover their loss instead of having it sit as a short sale.

Nationwide, short sales were on the market for a median of 79 days compared with 43 days for foreclosure sales in May, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Statewide, sales were up 19 percent in May over the prior year, and the median sale price was up 16 percent to $171,000 from $147,500. U.S. sales of single-family homes were up 13 percent over the year and the median price up 17 percent to $208,700.

Florida Realtors President Dean Asher of Orlando said the momentum is prompting many people to list their properties for sale.

New listings increased 10 percent statewide in May and in Alachua County were up 30 percent.

Sales still outpaced new listings locally, dropping the total inventory of houses for sale 15 percent to a 7.6-month supply from an 11-month supply last year.

Rice said Realtors have been cautioned by appraisers that values are going up so quickly that appraisals might not keep up and will come in lower than sales prices.

Condominium and townhouse sales in Alachua County dropped 7 percent in May to 67 from 72 in May 2012, while the median sales price was up 13 percent to $72,000 from $64,000. It was still the highest total since June 2012, when 76 condos sold.

Statewide condo sales were up 12 percent in May, and the median sale price up 13 percent to $128,000 from $113,275 a year ago.

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