Overseas buyers lead surge in property sales in Miami

Overseas buyers lead surge in property sales in Miami

Sales of residential properties in the Miami area of Florida have increased for 13 consecutive quarters as real estate buyers from abroad cash in on lower prices.

The latest report from the 25,000 member Miami Association of Realtors shows that sales, including existing single family homes and condominiums increased 51% in the third quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter last year.

In the Miami Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), sales of homes have increased every quarter since the third quarter of 2008. The Miami MSA has again posted the highest sales increases of any major metro area for condominiums and of all single family home markets in Florida.

Existing single family homes increased 47% compared to a year earlier while existing condominium sales increased 48%. In Florida as a whole single family home sales increased 12% and condominiums increased 13%. Nationally, total state existing home sales, including single family and condo, fell 0.1% compared to the second quarter of 2011 but were 17% below the third quarter of 2010.

“Strong demand from international buyers is fueling robust sales activity in Miami despite low consumer confidence and high unemployment,” said Jack Levine, chairman of the Board of the Miami Association of Realtors.

“Local sales are expected to set a record this year that should exceed the height of the boom in 2005. We expect even stronger market performance in 2012 the job market and consumer confidence improve and distressed properties continue to be absorbed,” he added.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors has predicted a further strengthening for the South Florida market in 2012.

“My bold prediction for 2012 is that we will see double digit price increases in Miami in 2012. Miami is the top destination for foreign buyers. More international sales during the downturn proves international buyers have fueled the local market recovery. There is also high demand for distressed properties on a local level,” he said.

The latest data also shows that short sales and foreclosures continue to have an impact on median and average sales prices for both single family homes and condominiums especially in some areas of the county.

But prices are not expected to stay low for long. The average sales price of single family homes rose 19% from $275,644 in the third quarter of 2010 compared to $327,477 in the third quarter of 2011. The average price of condominiums increased 21% from $191,609 to $232,158.

The median sales price for condominiums rose 13% to $117,800.  But the median sales price for single family homes in Miami-Dade dropped 6% to $179,900 in the first quarter.  State wide, median sales prices remained the same at $136,000 for single family homes and rose 7% to $89,600 for condominiums. The national median existing single family home price was $169,500 in the third quarter, down 4.7% from $177,800 in the third quarter of 2010.

“As the prime destination for international buyers, the Miami market offers much optimism. Foreign buying activity has been absolutely essential in helping our market exceed expectations and outperform the nation,” said Ralph De Martino, president of the Miami Association of Realtors.

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