West Pasco house sales rise 30 percent in March
NEW PORT RICHEY - West Pasco Realtors saw a 30 percent increase in the number of homes sold in March over February that thinned the inventory but did little to increase prices. The West Pasco Board of Realtors reported closed sales of single-family homes and villas jumped 25.6 percent, from 262 in February to 329 in March. That’s a 23 percent increase over March 2012. Condo, co-op and townhouse sales also took a jump, up from 38 in February to 60 closed sales in March. The figures were better than the state’s overall averages and outdistanced national sales, which experienced a small deficit of 0.6 percent. Two-bedroom, two-bath homes continued to lead the local market, taking 50 percent of sales of single-family homes and villas and 70 percent of the condo market.Florida Realtors, the state organization, reported Pasco County had 692 sales of single-family homes and villas and 149 sales of condos, co-ops and townhouses. Prices were disappointing. Median price for traditional sales was up to $150,500 and short sales climbed to a median price of $112,000. However, foreclosure sales prices fell over the same time last year to just $57,500. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount. Even though there is only a four-month supply of homes available in Pasco County at the current sales rate, prices have remained depressed because 36 percent of the sales are for either foreclosures or short sales. According to the National Association of Realtors, the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in February 2013 was $173,800. The Florida statewide median sales price in March was $160,000. The median sales price in West Pasco was $123,500. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in February was $333,880; in Massachusetts, it was $278,000; and in New York, it was $220,000. “We continue to be encouraged by the depth and breadth of the housing recovery,” said Florida Realtors’ chief economist, John Tuccillo. “State numbers are up in virtually all important categories and down where they should be down. Even with the difficulty of access to financing, we still see the growth continuing for at least the next 18 months.” “Inventory remains an issue, but this is fast becoming a sellers’ market and as sellers realize this, we expect inventories to rise as we approach the last quarter of 2103. “Over the long term, we need to correct the imbalance between investors and owner-occupier households that has developed because of financing issues if the market is to prosper for a long time,” Tuccillo said.