South Florida's housing market has finally stabilized after a six-year price decline. Seattle-based Zillow.com says home values are rising in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Zillow further claimed that prices in South Florida bottomed out in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Twelve Florida real estate agents, buyers, builders, analysts and housing observers were interviewed by the Sun Sentinel. Despite concerns that more bank-owned homes will be on the market soon, 10 of those who were interviewed agreed that South Florida real estate has hit market bottom.
Although some values may fluctuate from month to month, overall prices are expected to rise about six percent during the next 12 months. Zillow says that the median value for homes in the three counties has risen one percent in the past year to $141,300. That places South Florida real estate among the best-performing housing markets in the U.S.
Zillow's chief economist Stan Humphries says that folks who were waiting until the market reached the bottom should start shopping for a home. Florida real estate agents don't expect a fast turnaround, but they do not expect that prices will continue to decline.
Some analysts believe the housing bust that started in 2006 approached the level of the Great Depression. Foreclosures and price declines resulted from relaxed lending standards and a frenzy of short-term investments. Florida International University professor Ken Johnson said that a buyer who holds his property for eight years or longer will have made a great investment.
Existing single-family homes in Broward and Palm Beach counties suffered a 50 percent decline. Condominium prices dropped more than 60 percent. Foreign investors and cash buyers are purchasing again because prices are back to 2002 levels. Those sales have heated up the South Florida real estate market. Zillow says that in two-thirds of the cities in Broward County, prices have risen since last year. That includes Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park and Deerfield Beach. Gulf Stream and Highland Beach in Palm Beach County are among the seventeen Florida counties that have seen prices rebound.
A shrinking inventory of single-family homes has even prompted the return of bidding wars. Some Florida real estate analysts believe that home prices could still drop. A Florida Realtors report says some agents fear that bank-owned homes will further depress the market. Others say any homes for sale will help it.
Zillow Says South Florida Housing Market Has Hit Bottom