July home sales up 29% over 2012


Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 5:42 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 5:42 p.m.

June was the best month for home sales in Alachua County in at least four years. July was the second best month.

Local Realtors closed on 246 sales of existing single-family homes in July, up 29 percent from 191 in July 2012, according to data pulled from the Gainesville Multiple Listings Service released Wednesday.

The median sale price was up 6 percent to $170,000 from $160,500 a year ago.

Rising interest rates and home values are causing a lot of buyers to get off the fence about buying a home, said Patti Moser, president of the Gainesville MLS.

“The last few weeks have been reminiscent of the old days. We’ve got people sitting at houses wanting an agent to be there immediately — ‘Come show it to me’ — and literally having two, three people sitting in front of the houses wanting to see them now,” said Moser, who is also broker and owner of Horizon Realty of Alachua.

Sellers are also getting off the fence, which she attributed to more confidence in the job market, housing and the economy in general. New listings were up 19 percent in July with 297 compared with 250 a year ago.

Overall inventory was still down 12 percent to 1,246 listings, which, combined with higher demand, has pushed prices up slightly.

“It’s just very refreshing to see a lot of positive Realtors,” Moser said. “It’s incredibly refreshing to see new construction going on.”

Moser said builders are now confident enough to build model homes that are not for sale to entice buyers.

“That’s a really exciting segment of the market that’s come back,” she said.

Florida home sales statistics were delayed Wednesday by problems with a couple local MLS data systems, according to Florida Realtors.

Nationwide home sales were up 7 percent from June to July for all housing types and were up 17 percent over July 2012. Single-family home sales were up 6 percent over the month and 16 percent over the year, while the median sale price was up 14 percent from July 2012 to $214,000.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun also credited rising interest rates with pushing buyers off the sidelines.

The national average for a 30-year conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.37 percent in July, the highest rate in two years.

In Alachua County, foreclosure sales rose from 22 to 52 over the year while short sales dropped from 22 to six.

Moser said banks are not opting to do more foreclosures instead of short sales because they can recoup their money better with values up.

She also said fewer owners are seeking short sales.

“I actually think that we’re at a point where sellers have paid down their mortgage some and the market has rebounded to where we’re able to get them out of their properties without having to do a short sale,” she said.

Townhouse and condo sales in Alachua County were up 26 percent to 73 in July from 58 a year ago. It was the highest sales total since June 2012. The median sale price was up 7 percent to $75,000 from $70,000 a year ago.

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