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By Bob Koslow & Clayton Park
Daytona Beach News Journal
Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 9:55 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 10:38 p.m.
Sales of existing homes rose sharply in March in both Volusia and Flagler counties, while median prices in both counties also shot up, area Realtors associations reported Wednesday.
AREA HOME SALES
Number of existing homes sold and median sale price:
Volusia County (Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach Area)
March 2015 892 $140,000
March 2014 737 $135,000
Flagler County (Palm Coast-Flagler Beach)
March 2015 234 $160,000
March 2014 172 $151,950
SOURCES: Flagler County Association of Realtors, Florida Realtors
“It’s crazy,” said Al Wilson, a Realtor with Adams, Cameron & Co. Realtors in Ormond Beach. “I had two homes that went under contract, both of them, in less than a week in early March.” Wilson said both homes sold for more than $240,000 — one to a buyer from Tennessee who wanted to relocate here, the other to someone already living in the area who wanted to move into a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood.
In Volusia County, 892 homes were sold last month, up 21 percent from 737 the same month a year ago, while the median sales price rose to $140,000, up 3.7 percent from March of last year.
In Flagler County, 234 homes were sold in March, up 36 percent from the 172 sold the same month a year ago, while the median sales price rose 5.3 percent year over year to $160,000, up from $151,950 a year ago.
Realtors also reported that homes were selling faster. In Volusia, homes sold last month were on the market a median of 64 days, compared with 69 days for homes sold in March of last year. In Flagler, homes sold were on the market 47 days, down from 59 days for homes sold the same month a year ago. Sellers were also getting a higher percentage of their original asking price: 92.1 percent in Volusia, compared with 91.1 percent a year ago; and 93.5 percent in Flagler, compared with 91.3 percent a year ago.
“People are buying houses faster than we can list them,” said Matthew Wilson, a Realtor with Coquina Real Estate & Construction who is also president of the Flagler County Association of Realtors. “We are seeing a real move to a sellers market.”
Nancy-Ellen Otte, a broker/manager with Century 21 Sundance Realty in Ormond-by-the-Sea, said a number of buyers she has seen are visiting snowbirds from northern states. “The bad weather up north is a big factor,” she said. “They (buyers) are moving before the prices rise more and (interest) rates rise,” said Otte, who is also president of the Daytona Beach Area Association of Realtors. Otte said she has even received phone calls from snowbirds who were still up north but had seen available homes in this area online and wanted to inquire about them right away. “I expect the sales numbers to continue into the spring,” she said.
Susan Bradley, a Realtor with Watson Realty Corp in New Smyrna Beach and president of the New Smyrna Beach Board of Realtors, also attributed the increase in home sales to an influx of snowbirds. “We’ve been having a very good winter here,” she said.
Wilson of Adams, Cameron said home sales in the Daytona Beach area are also being driven in part by “the excitement in the area” that’s being generated by the big projects underway or planned, including the outlet mall on the eastside of Interstate 95, just south of LPGA Boulevard, and the beachside Hard Rock Hotel & Cafe.
“It’s definitely the buzz,” he said.