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Saturday, Mar 28, 2015

Housing market continues to improve


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Single-family home prices are on the rise, short sales are declining and Hernando County’s real estate market generally continues to show modest improvement.

The median sales price for an existing home in July was $115,000, or 12.2 percent higher than one year ago at $102,500, according to Florida Realtors’ statistics.

Short sales — selling at a price less than what is owed on the property — were down 71.1 percent from last year, with only 11 homes in that category sold in July.

Other key indicators from July:

♦ New single-family listings increased 5.4 percent, from 424 to 447.

♦ Pending inventory was down 13.2 percent, from 593 to 515 homes.

♦ Closed sales went down, from 319 last year to 311 this year, a 2.5-percent decrease

Ana Trinque, president of the Hernando County Association of Realtors, said the continued decrease in distressed sales — short sales and foreclosures — creates a healthier market and increases consumer confidence.

“We’re definitely seeing a trend of more traditional sales,” Trinque said.

Trinque said home values are up even from two years ago, which means more people may be able to sell and create more activity.

The rental market remains strong, she said. Many people who were forced to sell short or foreclose on their homes are seeing their credit repaired and now are able to enter the market, she said.

Trinque said she still would like to see banks and financial institutions loosen their financing requirements to help home buyers. Interest rates remain low but regulations are tight, she said.

“Overall, we’re seeing a positive trend and I just hope it continues,” she said.

Nationwide, pending home sales rebounded in July and have risen in four of the last five months, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Lawrence Yun, the Realtor association’s chief economist, states in a news release that favorable housing conditions are behind July’s higher contract activity.

“Interest rates are lower than they were a year ago, price growth continues to moderate and total housing inventory is at its highest level since August 2012,” he said. “The increase in the number of new and existing homes for sale is creating less competition and is giving prospective buyers more time to review their options before submitting an offer.

“More importantly, steady job additions to the economy are helping family finances and giving them added confidence to enter the market,” he said.

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