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Home sales dip sharply in Florida, across U.S.

Also, prices fall a record eighth month in a row.

Associated Press
Published April 25, 2007


Sales of existing homes in Florida and the Tampa Bay area dropped sharply last month and prices were down slightly.

Statewide, sales of existing homes were down 28 percent in March, compared to the same month last year, according to figures released Tuesday by the Florida Association of Realtors. The median sales price fell 4 percent to $236,000.

In Tampa and St. Petersburg-Clearwater, sales of existing home were off 38 percent from March 2006, and the median sales price dropped 4 percent to $209,700.

Florida's results were worse than those of the country as a whole. Nationally, sales of existing homes fell 11.3 percent in March from March 2006.

Compared with February, March sales dropped by the largest amount in nearly two decades. The decline reflected bad weather and increasing problems in the subprime mortgage market, the National Association of Relators reported Tuesday.

Sales of existing homes fell by 8.4 percent in March compared with February figures. It was the biggest one-month decline since a 12.6 percent plunge in January 1989, another period of recession conditions in housing.

The drop left sales in March at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.12-million units, the slowest pace since June 2003.

The steep sales decline was accompanied by the eighth straight fall in median home prices, the longest such period of falling prices on record. The median price nationally fell to $217,000, a drop of 0.3 percent from the price a year ago.

The fall in sales in March was bigger than had been expected, and it dashed hopes that housing was beginning to mount a recovery after last year's big slump.

Times staff writer Steve Huettel contributed to this report.

[Last modified April 24, 2007, 22:55:04]

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