Florida's housing market reported higher median prices, more new listings and fewer all-cash closed sales in March, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Statewide closed sales eased last month amid tighter inventory: Single-family home sales totaled 23,758, remaining relatively the same (down 0.6 percent) from March 2015.

"Many Florida homeowners have been able to rebuild home equity due to strong price growth, but that can also pose a challenge for first-time buyers and move-up buyers," said 2016 Florida Realtors® President Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami. "However, new listings rose in March, which is good news for potential buyers. New listings for existing single-family homes rose 5.6 percent compared to a year ago while new listings for townhouse-condo properties are up 2.6 percent."

Florida Realtors HQ
Florida Realtors HQ

Meanwhile, sellers received more of their original asking price at the closing table. Sellers of existing single-family homes in March received 95.8 percent (median percentage) of their original listing price, while those selling townhouse-condo properties received 94.5 percent (median percentage).

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $209,500, up 10.3 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in March was $155,000, up 3.3 percent over the year-ago figure.

March marked 52 months in a row that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo properties rose year-over-year. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in February 2016 was $212,300, up 4.3 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $198,900. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in February was $446,460; in Massachusetts, it was $309,000; in Maryland, it was $235,206; and in New York, it was $235,000.

Looking at Florida's townhouse-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 10,076 last month, down 7.1 percent compared to March 2015. However, the closed sales data reflected fewer short sales and cash-only sales in March: Short sales for townhouse-condo properties declined 39.3 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 33.2 percent. Closed sales may occur from 30 to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

"Overall, statewide inventory levels essentially held steady in March; however, beneath the surface, we can see that active listings in the most affordable price tiers are continuing to decline," said Florida Realtors® Chief Economist Brad O'Connor. "These declines are being offset by the growth in the upper price tiers, particularly in the luxury market. The active inventory of homes listed for over $1 million, for instance, was up 18.3 percent year-over-year among single family homes and 38.6 percent among condos and townhouses."

Inventory was at a 4.5-months' supply in March for single-family homes and at a 6.3-months' supply for townhouse-condo properties, according to Florida Realtors.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.69 percent in March 2016, down from the 3.77 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center at http://media.floridarealtors.org/ and look under Latest Releases, or download the March 2016 data report PDFs under Market Data at: http://media.floridarealtors.org/market-data

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 155,000 members in 55 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.