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Housing slump continues, but price slide slows
Tampa Bay Business Journal - 2:36 PM EDT Monday, June 25, 2007

Statewide sales of existing single-family homes in Florida totaled 12,607 in May and were more in line with activity in May 2002 - prior to the housing boom years, according to figures from the Florida Association of Realtors. This year's May sales were down 34 percent from May 2006.

Tampa Bay sales continued its 18-month slump in May, falling 42 percent from a year prior. In Sarasota and Bradenton sales were down 7 percent, to 772 homes in May.

Florida's median sales price for existing single-family homes last month was $237,000; a year ago, it was $250,100, showing a 5 percent decrease. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

In Tampa Bay, median prices dropped 8 percent to $209,300 from last year, but that was just slightly lower than April 2007's $209,700 price. Sarasota-Bradenton's prices slid 9 percent to $294,700.

Home sales are projected to move in a relatively narrow range with a gradual upturn becoming more pronounced by the end of 2007, according to the National Association of Realtors' latest market outlook. "Overall housing levels are historically strong, but sales remain sluggish compared to the recent boom," said NAR senior economist Lawrence Yun in a release.

"The market is undergoing a correction, but by the first quarter of 2008, everything should be better," said Kim Harrington, spokesman for HomeBanc in Tampa. "The tax cuts will help people budget better for their taxes."

Sales of existing condominiums in Florida also decreased last month, with a total of 4,090 condos sold statewide compared to 5,671 in May 2006 for a 28 percent decline, according to FAR. The statewide median sales price for condos last month was $202,500, down 4 percent from May 2006's condo median price of $210,800.

Tampa Bay's condo sales dropped 26 percent to 610, while the median price dipped 7 percent to $166,000.

"A lot of investors were involved in the condo market and they're sitting on the sidelines right now," Harrington said.

The FAR provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 150,000 members in 68 boards and associations.
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