MIAMI — South Florida Housing sales spiked in November versus last year's anemic levels, as owners continued to slash prices in a market skewed by foreclosures and tight lending.
Home sales in Miami-Dade jumped 24 percent last month versus a year ago, but the median price slipped 18 percent to $184,800, the Florida Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. In Broward, home sales were up 39 percent and median prices dipped 21 percent to $182,100.
Condominiums saw even more impressive gains. Sales in Broward were up 103 percent as prices fell 21 percent year-over-year to $86,500. And in Miami-Dade, condo sales nearly doubled on a 14 percent price decline to $149,000.
Nationally, home sales hit a three-year high.
Those gains helped the markets shrug off news that the economy did not grow as much as originally reported earlier this year. The government said third-quarter Gross Domestic Product was 2.2 percent -- not 2.8 percent. Even so, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 51 points at 10,465.
Compared to October, however, local home and condo sales were down, suggesting that the apparent strength has as much to do with last year's dismal results as this year's gains.
"Can you imagine using last year as some kind of baseline?'' asked Fort Lauderdale real estate attorney and author Shari Olefson. "Although we have had steady progress, it's not real solid.''
While the number of unsold homes in Miami-Dade and Broward has decreased significantly, more foreclosures are likely to stream into the market next year and continue depressing prices, Olefson warned.
One segment the Florida data does not reflect, however, is the number of homes sold by owners, without an agent's help.
As prices continue to tumble, many sellers are hoping to eke out profits by taking the do-it-yourself approach and saving on real estate agents' fees, said Greg Healy, the vice president of ForSaleByOwner.com, a website that helps sellers cut out the middleman.
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