IRVINE, Calif. – April 21, 2016 – U.S. home prices rose 17 percent year-to-year in March, according to RealtyTrac’s latest report for month and first quarter of the year – and Florida remains the king of all-cash sales: State metro areas took all spots on the top five all-cash-sales list.
RealtyTrac’s March and Q1 2016 U.S. Home Sales report finds that the average U.S. home sold for $30,500 more than they owner paid for it – a 17 percent average gain in price. It’s the highest monthly average price gain for sellers since the onset of the Great Recession (December, 2007).
While Florida had a handful of cities with high price gains, it stood out in one type of sale category overall: All-cash sales. Among 110 metro areas with at least 1,000 single family and condo sales in the first quarter, those at the top for cash buyers were all in Florida: Naples, (57.1 percent cash buyers) Miami (53.9 percent), North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (53.4 percent), Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville (52.7 percent) and Ocala (51.6 percent).
“South Florida real estate attracts world money,” says Mike Pappas, CEO and president of Keyes Company, covering the South Florida market. “Our strong international, northeast and investor buyers push our cash sales to 50 percent.”
Two markets, Jacksonville and the Daytona Beach area, also ranked high in RealtyTrac’s study for yearly home price increases. The markets with the biggest annual increase in median home price were Philadelphia (up 29 percent), followed by Rockford, Illinois (up 22 percent); Jacksonville (up 22 percent); Cincinnati, Ohio (up 19 percent); and Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach (up 18 percent).
“Home sellers in many markets are now seeing average price gains close to or above what home sellers experienced during the last housing boom,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “That should encourage more homeowners to take advantage of the prime seller’s market and list their homes for sale this year. Banks are already taking advantage of that market as evidenced by the uptick in the distressed sales share over the last two quarters.”
Blomquist says that an uptick in distressed sales in many markets combined with affordability problems contribute “to faltering home price appreciation in some markets – most notably the bellwether markets of Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. He notes that “bank-owned homes are selling at a median price that is 40 percent below the overall median sales price nationwide.”
Home sellers who sold in March had, on average, owned for 7.67 years, up 4 percent from an average of 7.37 years for home sellers who sold in March 2015.
Nationwide, one in three U.S. metro markets (36 percent) are now at all-time home price highs. March was the 49th consecutive month with a year-over-year increase in the U.S. median home price, though, on average, it’s still 8 percent below its peak in July 2005.
Distressed sales – bank-owned sales, in-foreclosure sales and short sales – have risen for the past two quarters. They accounted for 18.2 percent of all single family and condo sales in the first quarter, up from 17.2 percent in the previous quarter. Still, distressed sales are down year-to-year after peaking at 44 percent in the first quarter of 2009.
Among 110 metro areas with at least 1,000 single family and condo sales in the first quarter, those with the highest share of distressed sales were Chicago, Illinois (31.0 percent); Flint, Michigan (29.9 percent); Baltimore, Maryland (28.8 percent); Tallahassee (28.1 percent); and Jacksonville (27.6 percent).
Buyers using loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) – typically first-time buyers or boomerang buyers with a low downpayment – accounted for 15.2 percent of all single family and condo sales in the first quarter, up from 14.8 percent in the previous quarter and up from 13.5 percent a year ago.
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