Miami-area home sales held at 5 year high in September

Miami-area home sales held at a five-year high in September, rising 15 percent from a year earlier as price reductions and super-low mortgage rates helped stoke year-over-year sales gains across the price spectrum. The median sale price fell short of the year-ago level for the 48th consecutive month but the magnitude of the decline – 1.5 percent – was the smallest yet, a real estate information service reported.

The number of new and resale houses and condos that sold in September for less than $100,000 rose 17.1 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 14.7 percent gain for sub-$200,000 sales; a 17.0 percent annual increase for $200,000 to $600,000 sales; and a 16.1 annual gain for transactions above $800,000. Sales over $950,000 rose 18.2 percent compared with September 2010.

In September, absentee buyers purchased a near-record 38.1 percent of all homes sold in the Miami area, the same as in August but up from 35.4 percent a year earlier. The all-time high was 39.4 percent this March. Absentee buyers paid a median $90,000 in September, the same as in August but up from $87,500 a year earlier. 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).

Many absentee buyers are also cash buyers, who purchased 62.0 percent of all Miami-area homes sold in September. That was down slightly from 62.4 percent the prior month and up from 61.2 percent a year earlier. The peak for cash purchases was 68.6 percent this March.

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