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Fla.'s Housing Market Gained Strength, Momentum In 2012

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida's housing market wrapped up 2012 with more closed sales, higher pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale compared to the year before, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110314/DC64568LOGO)

"Throughout 2012, we've seen increasingly strong signs that the state's housing market is in solid recovery," said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. "These positive fundamentals in the housing sector continue to attract potential homeowners and investors; however, they're facing a limited inventory of available for-sale homes in many areas. Florida's economy is growing, more jobs are being created and mortgage interest rates probably will stay favorably low for some time – which will help drive the housing market forward in 2013."

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 204,414 in 2012, up 8.5 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations.  In the fourth quarter, closed sales of single-family existing homes totaled 52,624, up 21.2 percent from 4Q 2011. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes rose 17.6 percent in 2012 compared to 2011's figure. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 2012 was $145,000, up 9 percent from the previous year. Looking at 4Q 2012, the statewide single-family existing-home median price was $150,000, up 11.1 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the preliminary national median sales price for existing single-family homes for all of 2012 was $176,600, up 6.3 percent from 2011 – and the strongest annual price gain since 2005. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes for 2012 was a preliminary $319,340; in Massachusetts, it was $298,000; in New York, it was $215,000; and in Illinois, it was $139,000.

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.

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