South Florida home prices rose 0.6 percent during the first six months of 2011, according to a new report from Clear Capital. By TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA tolorunnipa@MiamiHerald.com At the halfway point of 2011, the predicted slide in home values in South Florida has not materialized, at least by one estimate that looks back at pricing trends over the first six months of the year.
A new report from data analysis firm Clear Capital of Truckee, Calif., shows that South Florida home prices were up 0.6 percent between January and June, a sign that the market may have stabilized.
Still, prices remain below where they were last year and there are numerous signs that values could still slide further. Clear Capital predicts that prices will fall 1.2 percent over the next six months. At the beginning of the year, Clear Capital’s forecast was much gloomier: a 6.5 percent decline in home prices.
“It looks like the Miami market has hit a stable point,” said Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “This is the traditional spring, summer buying season and, from a buyer’s point of view, it’s a great time to get in the market.”
The report is the first of many that will track the housing market’s performance at the halfway point of 2011. Others will look at sales pace, foreclosures, inventory and delinquency rates.
The results are likely to feature a mixed bag of positive and negative news, but general trend lines for the first half of 2011 are likely to look better than the first half of 2010, said Villacorta.
Sales are up considerably through the first five months of the year, and 2011 is on pace to set a record for the strongest sales volume in the region’s history. In Miami-Dade, 10,439 homes and condos traded hands between January and May, up 61 percent from the same period in 2010, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. In Broward, there have been 12,851 home sales, an increase of 53.9 percent over 2010’s first five months.
Anthony Askowitz, a Miami Re/Max agent, said he has experienced strong sales levels this year, but prices have slipped about 5 percent from last year.
“For the first half of the year, we’ve had more sales than we did last year, but our average [sales price] has gone down,” he said.
Prices, as of May, were down compared to last year, but have been rising every month since January. On the year, prices are up between 14 and 36 percent in the condo and single-family sectors of Broward and Miami-Dade.
Data on June sales and prices are scheduled to be released later this month.
The foreclosure crisis remains the great unknown in the real estate market’s road to recovery.
Foreclosures have slowed to a trickle—there were only 226 in Broward in June, down from 1,659 last June, according to data on the Property Appraiser’s website. But the slowdown is due to procedural issues, not an improving real estate market. Nearly one in six local homeowners remains delinquent on their mortgage, and the length of time it takes to foreclose has risen to more than two years, in part due to overloaded courts.
That timeline could grow even longer over the second half of this year, as state funding for additional judges expired on June 30. In 2010, a $6 million infusion helped pay for dozens of retired judges to hear foreclosure cases, helping to ease some of the burden on the courts. Those funds dried up on June 30, and were not renewed by the Legislature, sending most of the judges back into retirement.