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South Florida real estate characterized by contradictions in 2011

According to a recent sales report by the Miami Association of Realtors, 2011 has been characterized by contradictory trends in South Florida real estate. For example, shrinking inventory and high sales numbers -- two trends that usually result in price appreciation -- occurred alongside low prices due to the market looking ahead to another wave of foreclosures.

Additionally, South Florida saw many international buyers of residential real estate in 2011. International buyers reportedly spent over $3.5 billion in cash on real estate that had been discounted. Yet all the while, Florida residents dealt with an increasingly tight credit market, underwater homes, and the country's largest foreclosure backlog.

Moreover, the number of homes for sale decreased by 40 percent (that is, down to roughly 28,000). But because of a temporary slowdown in foreclosures, the number of foreclosure homes not yet for sale (the so-called "shadow inventory") increased to over 200,000.

A lot of people who once owned homes became renters. In turn, investors purchased thousands of distressed homes and flipped them into rental properties after applying renovations.

It was also reported that Broward County condo sales went down to 1,089 (1 percent lower than sales in the same period last year). Yet November saw 961 single-family sales, which were up 22 percent from 2010.

Miami-Dade County saw 1,064 condominium sales in November, and that number was up roughly 2 percent from the same period in 2010. But single-family sales in Miami-Dade were up 11 percent (to a total of 755) from last year.

With these numbers in mind, readers of this blog are likely wondering what to expect in 2012. Broward County residents will want to check back next week for important real estate predictions. People may dispute over what 2012 will hold, but there are some issues, such as short sales and sales of distressed homes, that readers will definitely want to stay abreast of.

Source: Miami Herald, "South Florida real estate: Sales slow, prices rise," Dec. 22, 2011

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