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Did you attend a real estate closing in 2012? Thousands did.

How long is it going to take for the housing market to recover? This is a question that millions of homeowners across the country have been asking themselves for years now. But our regular South Florida readers know that the local area has seen a substantial improvement in the residential real estate market, especially in the last year. So, while large swaths of the country continue to plod through a mediocre-to-poor housing market, South Florida has seen recent expansion plans for land development due to the hot housing rebound.

According to a recent report, South Florida is almost uniquely primed for a sustained recovery for residential property. Selling prices for homes rose in 2012, as did the amount of real estate closings and pending sales. The continued low interest rates when obtaining a mortgage appear to be playing a significant role in the rebound.

On a larger scale, closed sales of single-family homes rose 8.5 percent statewide from 2011 to 2012, to a total of 204,414. That includes a 21.2 percent increase when the fourth quarter of 2011 is compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. Pending sales rose 17.6 percent year-over-year. Completed and pending sales also rose for condos and townhouses.

All of the evidence seems to indicate that there currently aren't any dark clouds on the horizon for South Florida real estate. Although residential property has been particularly hot, in part due to demand from foreign buyers, commercial property has also begun to see a bit of an improvement. With a depressed market still a bleak reality for millions of Americans, those in South Florida can be thankful to have gotten a jump on the housing recovery.

Source: South Florida Business Journal, "Florida's residential real estate recovery on strong footing," Oscar Pedro Musibay, Feb. 12, 2013

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