Home sales continue hot pace in Volusia, Flagler counties

OCTOBER HOME SALES

Karen and Ray Allan, center and right, are joined by their real estate agent, Kevin Kling of Graff’s Realty Co. in Port Orange, at the home they recently bought in the Breakaway Trails community of Ormond Beach.

News-Journal/BOB KOSLOW

Published: Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 2:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 2:57 p.m.

The hot pace of home sales in Volusia and Flagler counties this past summer has continued into the fall — typically a slower time of year — according to newly released data.

Realtors in Volusia County sold 833 existing homes in October, up 15 percent from the 724 sold the same month a year ago, the Florida Realtors association reported Thursday.

The Flagler County Association of Realtors, meanwhile, reported that its members sold 196 homes last month, a 14 percent increase from the 172 reported sales in October 2013.

“Summer was strong and it typically slows in October, but this is stronger than even July and August,” said Kevin Kling, a real estate agent with Gaff’s Realty in Port Orange. Kling said he closed six home sales last month, making it one of his best of the year.

“We are seeing a big amount of retirees because the northern markets have improved,” he said.

Karen and Ray Allan are part of that recent retiree influx. They bought an existing house in October in the Breakaway Trails community in Ormond Beach.

“We’re originally from Michigan, but lived in South Florida for 18 years and retired there 13 years ago,” said Ray Allan, a former health insurance broker. “We moved to Tennessee 10 years ago to a retirement community. They called us ‘halfbacks’ because we moved halfway back.”

The couple decided in January to sell their Tennessee home and move to Volusia County where they had vacationed for two winters with friends in New Smyrna Beach. The process dragged on for three months before the first showing of the home. The sale took another four months. House sales in Volusia and Flagler are taking about two months.

“The recession was part of the problem with us selling our home. There just wasn’t the market to sell a few years ago. That was part of us staying longer in Tennessee,” said Karen Allan, a former elementary school principal.

The recovery of the housing markets in other parts of the country are helping to boost sales of homes locally, as more people — having finally sold their properties in other states — are moving to Florida, area Realtors say.

“Some areas up north are rebounding faster than others and that’s good for us,” said Marsha Corby, president of the Flagler County Association of Realtors and owner of Palm Coast Shores Realty in Palm Coast. “We’ve been steady a while into November without the peaks and valleys (of home sales in typical years). We also have a better inventory,” with not as many distressed properties on the market, she added.

Statewide, sales of existing homes in October rose 17.8 percent from a year ago, according to Florida Realtors data. The statewide association does not track sales of new homes.

Nationally, sales of existing homes last month rose 2.9 percent year-over-year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Of the homes sold last month in Flagler County, the median price — meaning half went for more and half for less — rose 2 percent in October to $153,125, up from $150,000 a year ago.

In Volusia County, the median price for homes sold last month was $125,000, down 1.6 percent from $127,000 a year ago.

Some homeowners are seeing the improved market and testing the sales waters.

The inventory of homes for sale increased 9.6 percent in Flagler County to 1,117 in October and to 4,114 in Volusia County, up 8 percent. At the current sales pace, Flagler County has 5.8 months of inventory and Volusia County has 5.6 months, both considered balanced between sellers and buyers.

“The momentum is going and I don’t see it slowing much,” said Jean Armstrong, president of the West Volusia Association of Realtors and owner/broker of Century 21 Armstrong Team Realty in Deltona. “I am thrilled to see real estate still coming back. The better real estate does, the better the economy does.”

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