August 12, 2009 11:05 AM EDT

ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 12 /PRNewswire/ — Sales of existing single-family homes in Florida rose 23 percent in second quarter 2009 compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the latest housing statistics from the Florida Association of Realtors(R) (FAR). A total of 43,125 existing homes sold statewide in 2Q 2009; during the same period the year before, a total of 35,008 existing homes sold. It marks the fourth consecutive quarter that Florida has seen higher existing year-to-year home sales, according to FAR.

BLOGGER COMMENT: Residential and commercial real estate are interconnected. The faster the residential market hits bottom, stabilizes and recovers the better it will be for commercial real estate.

Sales of existing condominiums statewide in the second quarter rose 29 percent compared to the same time the previous year. This marks the third consecutive quarter for increased statewide sales in both the existing home and condo markets compared to year-ago levels.

Statewide sales activity in 2Q 2009 also increased over 1Q 2009’s sales figure in both the existing home and existing condo markets, FAR records show. For 2Q 2009, statewide sales of existing homes rose 37.2 percent over the 1Q 2009 figure; existing condo sales statewide in 2Q 2009 increased 45.3 percent over the 1Q 2009 level.

“In spite of the challenges with the economy, most people – 83 percent – still believe that buying a home is a good financial decision, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Realtors(R) (NAR),” says 2009 FAR President Cynthia Shelton, CCIM, CRE, a broker and director of investment sales with Colliers Arnold in Orlando. (CCIM stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member and CRE is the Counselor of Real Estate designation). “Many homebuyers are realizing that this is the time to buy – with a good selection of housing inventory, affordable pricing and low mortgage rates.

“In fact, three-fourths of those responding to the 2009 National Housing Pulse Survey said they think now is a good time to purchase a home, a number that has increased steadily the past two years,” she says. “However, providing solid financing options for homebuyers is key to returning stability to the housing market, and buyers also need programs that help with downpayment and closing costs. That’s why the federal $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and other programs enabling eligible buyers to access that tax credit for downpayment or closing costs are so important – programs like the Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program.”

Sixteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased sales of existing homes in the second quarter compared to the same three-month-period a year earlier, while 12 MSAs showed gains in condo sales.

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