MANATEE — Sales of local pre-owned homes and condominium units fell last month as the boost from federal tax credits waned, according to figures released today.
Realtors closed on 714 existing single-family home sales in the Bradenton-Sarasota market in July, a 16 percent drop from the 855 sales recorded in July 2009, Florida Realtors said.
The median sales price also fell, by 12 percent to $157,700 last month, the trade group said.
Statewide, home sales fell by 14 percent as all but one of Florida’s 19 major markets saw drops. The exception was Ocala, with a 16 percent gain.Bradenton-Sarasota condo sales were flat — 226 sales in July, 227 in July 2009 — as the median price tumbled 25 percent, to $130,800. Yet condo sales rose by 11 percent across Florida, led by sales surges in Miami and Orlando.
Analysts had expected the declines as a result of the tax credits expiring in April. To be eligible for the credits, homebuyers had to have a sales contract before May 1 and close on their purchase by Sept. 30.
“The homebuyer tax credit expiration added a double-dip to what has already been a harrowing ride in the Florida housing market,” said Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness.
The Realtors group also blamed the Gulf oil spill for depressing home sales, especially in the Panhandle.
U.S. sales of previously occupied homes plunged to the lowest level in 15 years, despite low mortgage rates and prices, the National Association of Realtors said.
July’s sales fell by more than 27 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.83 million. It was the largest monthly drop on records dating back to 1968, and magnified fears about the broader economy.
“The housing market is undermining the already faltering wider economic recovery, said Paul Dales, U.S. economist with Capital Economics. “With the increasingly inevitable double-dip in prices yet to come, things could get a lot worse.”