Home sales up 30% last month over previous September

Published: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 3:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 3:08 p.m.

Alachua County's housing market started its typical seasonal slowdown in September as new homeowners settled in for the school year, but sales continued at a brisk pace compared to the same time a year ago.

Realtors reported 169 closed sales of existing single-family homes, a 30 percent boost over the 130 sales of September 2012, according to data from the Gainesville Multiple Listings Service. That marked the fourth month of 2013 in which sales topped 30 percent in year-over-year comparisons. The trend is expected to continue with a 37 percent boost in pending sales that have yet to close.

September's total was down from the 225 sales in August.

The median sales price in Alachua County was $157,760 in September, a 5 percent increase over $150,750 in September 2012. It was down from August's median sales price of $170,000, largely as the result of a large drop in sales of homes in the $150,000 to $300,000 range. The median sales price of short sales also dropped from $158,000 to $112,500 over the month.

Statewide sales were up 19 percent over the year, and the median sales price was up 17 percent to $170,000 from $145,000 in September 2012.

U.S. sales of all housing types - including single-family homes and condominiums - were up 11 percent over the year, but dropped nearly 2 percent from August, which saw the highest level of sales in nearly four years.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, said the drop was expected.

“Affordability has fallen to a five-year low as home price increases easily outpaced income growth,” he said in a news release.

Affordability will be a growing concern with mortgage interest rates expected to rise, according to Yun.

The average rate for a conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.49 percent in September, the highest rate since July 2011, according to Freddie Mac.

The national median sales price for all housing types was $199,200 in September, up 12 percent from September 2012.

Condo and townhome sales in Alachua County jumped 52 percent from 31 a year ago to 47 in September, while the median sales price was up 25 percent from $60,000 to $75,000. Statewide condo sales were up 11 percent over the year while the median sales price was up 24 percent to $130,000.

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