South Florida house prices increased in January -- and so, too, did listings as more sellers showed confidence in the revitalized market.
Palm Beach County’s median price for existing single-family homes last month was $255,000, up 17 percent from a year earlier, the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches said Friday.
Broward County's median price of $260,000 was 16 percent higher than January 2012, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors.
Buyers, meanwhile, are starting to find more for-sale signs in front yards.
Palm Beach County had 7,218 homes on the market at the end of last month, up 7 percent from a year earlier, Broward's inventory of active listings shot up 18 percent, to 5,338 from 4,514.
A dearth of homes for sale last year led to bidding wars and steep price increases that gave sellers a decided edge on buyers.
More homes for sale will help restore balance to the market, slowing the sales pace but keeping prices from soaring out of reach for first-time buyers and young families, analysts say.
The rise in listings is due in large part to homeowners seeing their values jump. Many “underwater” borrowers who once owed more than their homes were worth now have enough equity to sell.
Markets across Florida and much of the country also are seeing more sellers test the market. Stan Humphries, chief economist for real estate website Zillow.com, said in a statement this is “another step on the road back to normal and will help offset the impact of rising mortgage rates and more expensive homes for buyers.”
Palm Beach County had 1,014 home sales last month, up 5 percent from January 2013. Broward’s sales softened, dropping 4 percent to 989.
While January prices were higher than they were a year ago, values are leveling off on a monthly basis. Many analysts say that isn't a cause for concern. They said the large price increases were unsustainable.