Florida Property Bottoming out?

Distress sales boost existing-home prices.
By Mary Shanklin, Orlando Sentinel.

Orlando’s existing home prices climbed more than 5 percent in September, rising to $105,000 from $99,900 in August, according to a new report from the Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

The price increase, up from a 12-year low during August, was driven by a 10-percent price hike for short-sales prices and a 3-percent boost in prices of bank-owned houses. Those sales represented more than 70 percent of the market activity in September. Prices for “normal” sales – houses that aren’t sold in distress – were down 5 percent from August.

Members of the association completed sales on 2,226 homes in September, which is 13 percent decline from August and a 3 percent decrease from September 2009.

“What we are seeing is that a huge backlog of pending sales have finally worked through the system,” said Re/Max Town & Country agent Kathleen Gallagher McIver, chairman of the association. “Going forward, I now expect both the completed sales and pending sales columns to be lower compared to the previous year.”

The association noted that, to date, home sales are up 32 percent over this time in 2009.

There are currently 16,359 homes listed for sales on the area’s multiple-list service. The September inventory level is 2 percent higher than it was in September 2009, when 15,967 houses were listed for sale. The current pace of sales translates into 7.4 months of supply; September 2009 recorded 7-month supply.

Homes spent an average 88 days on the market before coming under contract in September 2010. In September 2009, houses were on the market an average of 96 days. The area’s average interest rate decreased in September to 4.46 percent.
Throughout the four-county metropolitan area, September sales volume exceeded the pace from a year earlier:

•Lake: 9.6 percent above 2009, with 3,224 homes selling to date this year

•Orange: 27.5 percent above 2009, with 14,629 homes selling to date this year.

•Osceola: 17.6 percent above 2009, with 4,813 homes selling to date this year.

•Seminole: 41 percent above 2009, with 4,396 selling to date this year.