South Florida home sales “defy gravity” as cash remains king

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South Florida’s housing market bucked the national trend in April, new data reveals.

While sales of existing homes fell nationwide last month compared to March, they picked up in South Florida even as more homes and condos were for sale.

“Defying gravity” is how the chief economist of the Miami Association of Realtors described the regional housing market. “Strong job growth, elevated migration, and more cash buyers are mitigating the blow of higher mortgage rates,” said Gay Cororaton in a news release.

Nationally, the existing home sales fell 1.9% month over month in April, according to data released by the National Association of Realtors earlier this week. Economists had expected a small increase, which is traditional to see as winter gives way to spring weather elsewhere in the country.

Median Home Prices in April
• $654,000 – Miami-Dade
• $635,000 – Broward
• $650,000 – Palm Beach County

Miami Association of Realtors

The national and regional housing markets continue seeing more homes and condos for sale, though the supply still remains way below what is considered a balanced market. The supply of places for sale continues growing compared to a year ago when the inventory was extremely low. The number of new listings in Miami-Dade County has increased eight consecutive months and is near pre-pandemic levels in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to the regional Realtors association.

However, inventories remain between 16% to 35% below historical levels, indicting it still is a sellers market.

The smaller inventory of existing homes and condos continues supporting higher prices. The median price paid for an existing single family home in Miami-Dade County rose to $654,000, marking almost 12-and-a-half straight years of month-over-month price gains. Broward’s median home price was $635,000 in April. It was $650,000 in Palm Beach County.

Median Condo Prices in April
• $444,000 in Miami-Dade
• $282,500 in Broward
• $340,000 in Palm Beach County

Miami Association of Realtors

Condo prices also continued their march higher. Palm Beach County’s median condo price hit $340,000 with two-thirds of them selling for cash. The median existing condo price in Broward was $282,500, where over half were sold for cash. About half of the condo sales in Miami-Dade were also in cash last month, with a median price of $444,000.

South Florida had the second highest median home sales price in the state behind Naples.

Those cash sales insulate the regional housing market against the impact of higher mortgage rates, which may be slowing sales in other places. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage has doubled in the past four years to 7%, according to the latest weekly data from Freddie Mac. That increase adds an extra $1,000 to the monthly cost of a $500,000 home loan.

But local home and condo owners don’t seem to be having a tough time making their mortgage payments. Distressed sales — a signal of a home that is about to or already has been foreclosed on — accounted for less than 1% of all sales in April.

The data released this week does not include the sales of newly built homes and condos in South Florida.

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