Homes sales up, prices down in Lee County

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Lee County had more home sales even as prices fell in the second quarter of this year — a pattern typical of foreclosure-plagued markets like this one, according to data released today by the National Association of Realtors.

The median price of a Realtor-assisted existing home sale fell 28 percent in Lee County to $196,400 from $273,500 a year earlier while the number of sales rose 38 percent from 1,706 to 2,351 in the same period, according to a separate report released today by the Florida Association of Realtors.

For condominiums, the price fell 10 percent from $246,900 to $222,600 while the number of sales rose 15 percent from 457 to 527.

Median home prices fell in more than three-quarters of U.S. cities in the second quarter, the latest sign of the breadth of the housing market decline, according to the national data.

Nevertheless, home sales rose in areas where the market is flooded with foreclosures, indicating that borrowers are taking advantage of steep discounts.

Lee County led the nation in the rate of foreclosures in July with one in 64 households receiving a foreclosure filing during the month, according to a report released today by Irvine-based RealtyTrac. A record 2,467 foreclosures filed during July in the county, which is more than seven times the national average.

Florida single-family homes were off 16 percent in price from $241,200 to $203,000 while sales were off 6 percent from 37,407 to 35,178. Condominiums were off 16 percent from $215,300 to $181,100 while sales fell 10 percent from 12,585 to 11,343, according to the state report.

Nevada and California, battered by a housing market bust, were the only states to show sales gains in the second quarter compared with a year earlier, according to the national report.

Sales were up 18 percent in Nevada compared with last year, after median prices fell by nearly 24 percent in the Las Vegas area. Sales in California were up 3.7 percent.

Prices in Los Angeles, Riverside and Sacramento have plunged by 30 percent or more, according to the NAR’s data.

Nationally, sales fell by 16.3 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period a year ago.

In recent months, the biggest home sales gains “have been in some of the markets with the steepest and fastest price drops,” said Lawrence Yun, the trade group’s chief economist. “Buyers in these areas are responding to deeply discounted home prices.”

The Realtors group said median prices for existing single-family homes dropped in 115 of 150 metropolitan areas in the April-June period, while 35 metro areas saw prices increase.
Among the bright spots, prices of homes sold rose by more than 7 percent in Yakima, Wash., Binghamton, N.Y., Amarillo, Texas and Charleston, W.Va.

Nationally, the median home price — the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less — fell to $206,500 in the second quarter, down by 7.6 percent from the same period a year ago, when the median sales price was $205,700.

As foreclosures soar, banks and mortgage investors are also facing a pileup of foreclosed properties on their books and are cutting prices dramatically.

RealtyTrac said it had more than 750,000 foreclosed homes in its database of properties for sale, equal to about 17 percent of the 4.5 million U.S. homes that were up for sale in June.

Nationwide, more than 272,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice in July, up 55 percent from about 175,000 in the same month last year and up 8 percent from June, RealtyTrac. said. That means one in every 464 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing last month. Courtesy news wires and Fort Myers News-Press
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