Miami Region November Home Sales
January 11, 2012Miami-area homes sold at the fastest pace for a November in five years as lower prices and mortgage rates continued to drive robust demand from investors and vacation-home buyers - both foreign and domestic. The region's median sale price rose from October but fell short of the year-ago level for the 50th consecutive month, a real estate information service reported.
In November, 7,855 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the metro area encompassing Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. That was up 5.0 percent from the prior month and up 17.5 percent from a year earlier - to the highest level for a November since 2006, when 10,369 homes sold, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.
Normally, sales drop between October and November. The decline between the two months has averaged 12.6 percent since 1997, when DataQuick's complete Miami-area statistics begin.
November's total sales fell 15.9 percent below the average November sales tally of 9,341 since 1997. However, if newly built homes are excluded from the sales mix, then the number of houses and condos that closed escrow in November was just 1.4 percent below the historical average for that month. Although the Miami region's new-home sales rose 23.3 percent in November compared with a year earlier, they were still second-lowest on record for that month.
Through November, Miami's housing market was on pace to post the highest annual sales total for any year since the housing boom ended. January-through-November 2011 sales totaled 96,986, the highest since 144,912 homes sold during that 11-month period in 2006.
The market's top and bottom price segments saw the biggest year-over-year sales jumps in November. The number of new and resale houses and condos that sold for less than $100,000 rose 21.2 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 7.2 percent annual gain for sales between $200,000 and $600,000 and a 26.9 percent annual increase for transactions above $800,000. Sales over $950,000 rose 33.1 percent compared with November 2010. However, only 3.6 percent of all sales in November were for $800,000 or more.
In the Miami region's multi-million-dollar luxury market, the 60 homes that sold for $2 million or more in November represented a 33.3 percent gain from October and a 36.4 percent increase from a year earlier. During the first 11 months of this year, 742 Miami-area homes sold for $2 million or more, up 15.2 percent from the same period last year and the highest for that 11-month period since 869 homes sold for $2 million or more between January and November 2008. The figures are based on public property records, where either a price or loan amount was available.
In the overall market, the median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Miami region in November was $134,950, up 5.4 percent from October but down 3.6 percent from a year earlier. November's median price was the highest for any month since July 2011, when it was $136,000. Although the median sale price has declined year-over-year for the past 50 months, the dips over the last five months have been relatively low - less than 6 percent.
The November median stood 53.5 percent below the peak $290,000 median in June 2007.
Another key price gauge analysts watch, the median price paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses, rose to $95 in November, up from $93 in October but down 6.9 percent from $102 a year earlier. The November figure stood 55.0 percent below the peak of $211 reached in May 2006.
For resale condos, Miami region buyers paid a median $82 a square foot in November, up a tad from $81 in October but down 3.2 percent from a year earlier. The November figure was 58.7 percent lower than the all-time peak of $199 paid per square foot for resale condos in June 2007.
At the county level in November, the median paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses rose to $97 in Broward County, up 3.2 percent from October but down 5.3 percent from a year earlier. The figure dipped slightly to $93 in Miami-Dade County, down 1.1 percent from October and down 6.3 percent from a year earlier. Palm Beach County's median paid per square foot rose to $96 in November, up 5.5 percent from October but down 9.2 percent from a year earlier.
In November, absentee buyers purchased a near-record 38.5 percent of all homes sold in the Miami area, down slightly from 38.9 percent in October but up from 35.7 percent a year earlier. The all-time high was 39.4 percent in March 2011. Absentee buyers are investors, second-home buyers and others who indicate at the time of sale that their property tax bill will be sent to a different address. (Absentee statistics go back to January 2000).
The absentee buyer share jumps to 52 percent in November when focusing solely on existing (not new) condos. Within that group of November absentee condo buyers, about 40 percent had mailing addresses in the public record that were outside of Florida, whether domestic or foreign.
Absentee buyers paid a median $90,000 for all new and resale houses and condos that they purchased in November, the same as in every month since August, and the same as a year earlier.
Among all absentee buyers in November, about 53 percent had a mailing address in the Miami area or elsewhere in Florida, while 35 percent had a mailing address in another state and 12 percent had a foreign mailing address listed in the public record. (Buyers with foreign mailing addresses in the public record represented 4.8 percent of total Miami-area sales in November, and 8.4 percent of existing condo sales.) However, it's unclear exactly how many foreign buyers bought Miami-area homes because typically some of them use a domestic mailing address in the public record.
November buyers who did have a foreign mailing addresses in the public record represented 7.0 percent of total November home sales and 13.8 percent of all resale condo transactions in Broward County; 3.0 percent of total sales and 4.2 percent of resale condo deals in Miami-Dade County; and 4.7 percent of total sales and 8.2 percent of condo resales in Palm Beach County. In the combined three-county region, November buyers with foreign mailing addresses paid a median $104,000. They paid a median $85,000 for resale condos, which accounted 81.3 percent of their total home purchases; $175,000 for resale houses, representing 13.4 percent of their purchases; and $364,950 for newly built homes, which were 5.3 percent of their deals.
The highest price paid by a buyer with a foreign mailing address in the public record during November was $3,158,000, for a newly built home. The highest paid for an existing condo was $1,775,000, while the highest paid for an existing single-family detached house was $1,000,000.
Nearly two-thirds of the Miami-area's November buyers with a foreign mailing address were from Canada, while the rest were split among more than 20 other nations, including Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Israel.
The state of New York claimed the largest share - 30 percent - of November's Miami-area absentee buyers who were based somewhere in the United States outside of Florida.
Resale condos were the main target for November's out-of-state buyers (foreign and domestic combined), accounting for 70.7 percent of their Miami-area purchases. Resale detached houses made up 24.3 percent of their purchases, while newly built homes represented 5.0 percent of their deals.
Many absentee buyers are also cash buyers, who purchased 63.7 percent of the Miami-area homes sold in November. That was up slightly from 63.4 percent the prior month and up from 62.4 percent a year earlier. The peak for cash purchases was 68.6 percent in March 2011.
Specifically, these cash deals were transactions where there was no indication of a purchase loan recorded at the time of sale. Some of these "cash" buyers could have used alternative financing arrangements outside of a typical, recorded purchase mortgage, and in some cases they might take out mortgages after their purchases.
November's cash buyers paid a median $95,000, up from $90,400 in October but down from $98,675 a year earlier.
Meanwhile, use of a form of low-down-payment financing that's popular with first-time homebuyers - government-insured FHA loans - dipped slightly in November, to 38.3 percent of all home purchase loans. That was down from an FHA share of 39.9 percent of purchase loans in October, 42.5 percent a year earlier, and 47.1 percent two years earlier.