The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage. NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Miami-area August home sales shot up 25 percent from a year earlier, the result of a relatively high number of business days this August and especially large gains in transactions below $200,000 and above $800,000. Price measures trended lower, with the overall median sale price dipping year-over-year for the 47th consecutive month, a real estate information service reported. In August, 9,638 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the metro area encompassing Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. That was up 9.3 percent from the prior month and up 24.9 percent from a year earlier -- to the highest level for an August in five years, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records. On average, sales have fallen 1.8 percent between July and August since 1997, when DataQuick's complete Miami-area statistics begin. August's total sales fell 19.4 percent below the average August sales tally of 11,951 since 1997. However, that's mainly because new-home sales remain unusually low as builders struggle with the weak economy and competition from the resale market, especially distressed sales. The resale market is faring much better: The number of resale single-family houses and condos sold in August was the highest for that month since 2005 and only 6.2 percent below average for the month of August since 1997. The overall sales picture in August changes a bit when viewed in terms of the average number of homes sold daily. That's because August had 23 business days on which home sales could be recorded, compared with 20 business days in July and 22 in August 2010. The average number of homes sold daily in August fell 5.0 percent from July and rose 19.5 percent year-over-year (vs. the 9.3 percent month-to-month gain and the 24.9 percent annual gain for the total number of homes sold in the month). Another reason it was easier to beat the year-ago sales numbers in August: Home sales fell off sharply beginning early last summer as federal and state homebuyer tax credits expired.
The 25 percent annual gain sales gain in August also reflects a sharp rise in deals below $200,000 and above $800,000. The number of homes that sold for less than $200,000 jumped 27.3 percent in August compared with a year earlier, while sales above $800,000 spiked 33.2 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, sales between $200,000 and $600,000 rose 20.3 percent. In the overall market, the median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Miami region in August was $132,000, down 2.9 percent from July and down 5.7 percent from a year earlier. The August median stood 54.5 percent below the peak $290,000 median in June 2007.