Hold on, homebuyers. Sellers are still in control of South Florida’s housing market.
Sales and median prices increased across Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties in March, dispelling any notions, at least for now, that buyers might be regaining leverage.
In Palm Beach County, 1,676 existing, single-family homes traded hands last month, up 10 percent from a year earlier, the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches said Friday. The median price rose 9 percent to $325,000, its highest level since 2008.
Broward had 1,495 transactions, up 4 percent from March 2016, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors. The median jumped 11 percent to a 10-year high of $331,000.
Miami-Dade enjoyed its best March on record with 1,276 single-family sales, a 9 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. The median price rose 15 percent to $322,000.
Real estate agents say they’re starting to see more homes hit the market in certain areas, including eastern Boca Raton, though the March figures indicate that inventory levels remain tight in all three counties.
Agents say they’ve noticed buyers have been pickier in recent months, unwilling to cave into seller demands as often as they have in the past. But the fewer homes on the market, the more of an advantage sellers have.
“Everything indicates that the market is appreciating,” said Jeffrey Levine, president-elect of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches.
Sales had been uneven recently, but the traditional spring selling season started strong. Spring and early summer traditionally are among the busiest times of the year in real estate because young families are looking to buy and get settled for the next school year.
Marta DuPree, an agent for the Keyes Co. in Broward, said luxury home sales are cooling, but mid-priced properties in good condition in Coral Springs, Coconut Creek and other desirable areas are selling quickly.
“We get them in and out in a day if we price them right,” DuPree said.
Statewide, single-family sales rose 9 percent from a year earlier, while the median price rose 10 percent to $231,900, the Florida Realtors said. The median means half the homes sold for more and half for less.
The existing condominium market also performed well in March. Sales and median prices increased in all three South Florida counties and statewide from a year ago.
Maria Wells, the 2017 president of Florida Realtors, attributed the robust March numbers to buyers trying to get into the market before mortgage rates rise again.
Florida Realtors cited Freddie Mac data that showed the average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.20 percent in March, up from the 3.69 percent in March 2016.
Danielle DiLenge, an agent for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale, said she noticed a lull late last year that continued through February. Then the market heated up again.
“Since March, every single one of my listings has sold,” DiLenge said. “Everybody is gung-ho. Buyers are saying now, ‘Maybe I don’t have as much say as I thought I did.’”
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