Prices Signal Broward Housing Recovery

Feb 12, 2013

The median price for a single family home in Broward County is back above $200,000, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. The exact number is $208,000, compared with $185,900 in 2011.

SIGN OF RECOVERY: Broward County's median sales price for an existing single-family home is back above $200,000 for the first time in four years.

The median price is greater than half the selling prices of the year and less than the other half.

The 2012 figure is 12 percent higher than last year and the first time $200,000 has been seen since 2009.

And, for many, it also means that the housing collapse is finally over. "We're no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop," Summer Greene, immediate past president of the Florida Association of Realtors, told the Sun Sentinel.

Broward had 14,101 homes trade hands, up 10 percent from 2011 and reminiscent of the sales boom in 2004 and 2005. The typical home sold in 42 days, down from 52 a year earlier.

Sellers have regained control, dictating prices and terms, real estate agents say. Some sellers, for instance, refuse to even consider offers from buyers using Federal Housing Administration mortgages because those loans tend to take longer to complete.

All-cash sales rose 13 percent in 2012 from a year earlier as investors dominated the market. The number of homes for sale countywide plunged 32 percent, severely limiting options for young families.

But caution remains. Analysts expect the median price to continue rising but at a slower rate of 3 to 4 percent and they wonder whether stagnating household income will allow many users to enter the market.

Also they say, there's more going on in the housing market than can be seen with a glance at the median price.

And while housing has stopped weighing down economic growth, others say, it may feel like a shaky recovery to some...and, to others, a recovery that is still very much a work in progress.