Homebuilder confidence is high across the nation. And in Florida, at least, builder optimism is borne out by market numbers: the latest figures show Florida’s home sales are approaching, and even surpassing, pre-recession levels.
The Miami Herald has this report (see: “Single-family home sales in Miami break all-time monthly record,” by Nicholas Nehamas). “Nearly 1,400 single-family homes were sold in Miami-Dade County in June, an all-time record monthly high,” the paper reports. “The previous record was set during the housing bubble in June 2005 when about 1,320 single-family homes were sold, according to a report released Wednesday by the Miami Association of Realtors. Overall home sales in Miami, a figure that includes condos and townhomes, jumped 6.4 percent in June 2015 compared to June 2014.”
The Orlando market is just as hot, reports the Orlando Sentinel (see: “Orlando sets record for home sales,” by Mary Shanklin). “Home sales in the core market of Orange and Seminole counties set a record of 3,435 sales,” the paper reports. “From a year ago, monthly sales were up more than 20 percent.” But strong sales haven’t brought exploding prices, the paper reports: “The median price for a house in the core Orlando market in June was $181,500, up about a quarter of a percent from May. From a year ago, prices are up about 7 percent.”
Foreclosures get the blame (or the credit) for holding prices down, the Sentinel notes: “Only 55 percent of pending sales for the Orlando market in June were traditional home sales, and the rest were distress sales.”
The long, drawn-out aftermath of Florida’s real-estate bubble has left the Orlando market with a heavy backlog of foreclosures, the Sentinel reported in a companion story (see: “Orlando foreclosures persist despite recovery signs,” by Mary Shanklin). “Orlando, ranking eighth, and seven other Florida metro areas ranked among the top 10 nationally for foreclosure rates from January through June, according to a report released this week by RealtyTrac,” the paper reports. “Of the country's top ten metropolitan areas for foreclosures, eight are in the Sunshine State: Tampa, second; Polk County, third; Jacksonville, fourth; Ocala, fifth; Miami, sixth. And trailing Orlando was Fort Walton Beach, tenth.”
But the foreclosure backlog isn’t holding back the housing market in the coastal counties of Volusia and Flagler, reports the Daytona Beach News-Journal (see: “Volusia home sales in June most since 2007; Flagler's could be new record high,” by Clayton Park). “Home sales in June rose sharply in both counties to the highest level in at least eight years while median sale prices also jumped,” the paper reports. “Realtors in Flagler County closed sales of 247 homes last month — the most in at least the past decade, according to Matthew Wilson, president of the Flagler County Association of Realtors… In Volusia County, Realtors on Wednesday reported 997 closed sales of existing single-family homes last month, up 10.8 percent from the 900 sold in June of last year.”
In the Volusia market, conditions are improving for newcomers to the market, Ryan Tucholski, association executive of the West Volusia Association of Realtors, told the paper: "People are moving up, which is freeing up inventory (of lower-priced existing homes) for emerging buyers," he said.