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Ft Lauderdale Real Estate News 05/23/13

homes for sale in fort lauderdale florida up 22% as smart real estate investors make money listening to realtor Jim Esposito


South Florida home prices soared by more than 20 percent in April for a fifth consecutive month as buyers face strong competition and shrinking inventory.

Palm Beach County’s median price hit $265,000 last month, a 26 percent increase from a year ago, the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches said Wednesday. Broward County’s median rose 22 percent to $250,000, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors.

Sales also were robust across the area. Palm Beach County sold 1,403 homes and 1,559 townhomes and condominiums, the busiest month since at least 2007, the local Realtor board said.

Broward posted 1,316 home sales and 1,664 sales of townhomes and condos, both increases from a year earlier.

“There has been a sudden and dramatic turnaround,” said Brad Hunter, an industry consultant. “Home prices are moving up fast, and that’s creating a greater urgency to buy now.”

After six years of price declines, big bargains lured investors and other buyers back into the market, which hit bottom in 2012.

Now buyers can't tour homes fast enough. Many properties attract bidding wars. And sellers are firmly in control, choosing cash offers and insisting that buyers shorten inspection periods and waive appraisal contingencies.

One of the biggest factors in the overheated market is a shortage of available homes.

Broward County had 4,089 homes for sale at the end of April, a 23 percent decline from a year earlier. Palm Beach County’s inventory of 6,252 homes is down 43 percent.

Jim Esposito, a real estate agent in Broward and Palm Beach counties, said a client made at least 10 offers at or above the asking price, but all were rejected for being too low. Investment firms are driving up prices by paying 20 to 25 percent higher than the list price, Esposito said.

His client finally closed on a three-bedroom home for $238,000, but even that deal was in jeopardy. The seller, an investor, had a better offer and wanted out of the contract, but Rapp refused.

Some analysts say prices are rising too quickly, especially considering that salaries are mostly flat. Industry watchers worry than certain buyers could soon be priced out of the market, potentially leading to another housing bubble.

“People tend not to be rational in these frenzies,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist for real estate website Zillow.com. “They may buy at whatever the cost.”

© 2013 Sun-Sentinel

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Jim Esposito

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