"In the fourth quarter and throughout 2015, we've seen positive signs that Florida's housing sector is growing steadily," said2016 Florida Realtors®President Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami. "Home prices are rising at a more moderate pace while closed sales remain strong. Florida's economy is in growth mode, more jobs are being created and mortgage interest rates remain at historically low levels, which will continue to drive the state's housing market in 2016."
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 274,769 in 2015, up 12.4 percent compared to the 2014 figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations.
New listings for existing single-family homes rose 3.7 percent in 2015 compared to 2014. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 2015 was $196,000, up 10.1 percent from the previous year.
Looking at Florida's year-to-year comparison for sales of townhouse-condos, a total of 114,969 units sold statewide in 2015, up 6.1 percent from 2014. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales statewide in 2015 compared to the previous year: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties declined 44.6 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 34.1 percent.
New listings for townhouse-condos for the year increased 1.5 percent compared to a year ago. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in 2015 was $150,000, up 7.1 percent over the previous year.
At the end of 2015 and also for 4Q 2015, inventory for single-family homes stood at a 4.3-months' supply, while inventory for townhouse-condo properties was at a 5.4-months' supply, according to Florida Realtors.
"2015 was a very strong year in terms of sales growth in Florida's single-family home markets, thanks to a sales surge that began in the fourth quarter of 2014 and lasted through the third quarter of 2015," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O'Connor. "In each of the first three quarters of 2015, we observed double-digit percentage increases in sales on a year-over-year basis. Year-over-year growth in 2015's final quarter was more subdued, signaling a possible return in 2016 to more stable rates of sales growth.
"We expect home prices, on the other hand, to continue to rise at an elevated pace in 2016, as much of the state is in the midst of an inventory shortage that is likely to persist throughout the year."
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.85 percent for 2015, up from the previous year's average of 4.17 percent, according to Freddie Mac.