Hernando County's housing market showed signs of improvement last month, with sales up along with the average price for a home.
New-home construction also continued its upward trend.
There were 278 single-family home sales in October, up 16 percent from September's 240 transactions, according to statistics from the Hernando County Association of Realtors' multi-listing service.
Of those sales, 62 were foreclosed homes and 27 short sales.
The average sales price of a single-family home in October was $109,000, up from $105,000 in September. The average home remained on the market 88 days in October, compared to 94 in September.
One year ago, in October 2012, there were 281 sales transactions and homes sold for an average $94,981.
Marisa Brewer, broker with Preferred Property Associates, said sales numbers were relatively flat in 2011 and 2012 but transactions so far this year are showing an increase in all categories, including total number of listings sold, average sales price and days on market.
"I have also noticed an increase in the number of homes that are listed for sale over the $300,000 mark this year," Brewer said. "Although it will take a while for the sold comparison values to catch up with these higher listing prices, I feel this is a step in the right direction and encouraging."
More than 57 percent of sales transactions year-to-date through Nov. 19 have been cash sales and 70 percent of closed sales so far have sold for more than $300,000, according to Brewer's data.
The news on the new-home front was also upbeat.
The building department issued 17 single-family home permits in October, up from 16 in September and nine one year earlier. October had more permits issued than any other single month in 2012, according to building department data.
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes remains unchanged so far this November.
For the sixth consecutive month, more builders have viewed market conditions as good than poor, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
"Given the current interest rate and pricing environment, consumers continue to show interest in purchasing new homes, but are holding back because Congress keeps pushing critical decisions on budget, tax and government spending issues down the road," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson in a press release. "Meanwhile, builders continue to face challenges related to rising construction costs and low appraisals."
Scott Muldavin, president of The Muldavin Company Inc., a consulting firm that serves the real estate industry, said future housing demand from echo boomers - the 80 million Americans born between 1982 and 1995 - will affect real estate markets.
"We are the only developed country that has had an echo boom and that's a positive thing if the country can react and respond to it," Muldavin said in a press release.