Finally some good news! Inventory of homes for sale shrinking in South Florida.

The number of homes and condominiums for sale across South Florida has steadily declined over the past two years, an encouraging sign for the region’s battered housing market.  Broward County had 19,869 properties on the market in July, down 35 percent from July 2008, according to a multiple listing service report compiled by the Keyes Co. Palm Beach County’s inventory of homes and condos slid 31 percent to 23,947 during the same period.  The supply of new homes being built in the two counties also has decreased sharply in the past two years, said Brad Hunter of the Metrostudy research firm in Palm Beach Gardens.  In 2005, sellers rushed to list their homes, hoping to fetch record prices during the housing boom. But the frenzy led to a collapse and prices plummeted.  Thousands of foreclosures and short sales have clogged the market ever since, giving buyers plenty of choices and little reason to pay top dollar.  “You won’t get price appreciation until you get the inventory in balance,” said Mike Pappas, president of Keyes. “We’re making great strides.”  Declines in homes for sale already have helped stabilize prices recently.  The median price in Broward rose 7 percent during April, May and June to $209,800 from a year ago, the Florida Realtors said Wednesday. Palm Beach County’s median increased at the beginning of the year but dipped 2 percent in the second quarter to $235,500.  Pappas said his firm is handling fewer transactions involving foreclosed homes, and he thinks that’s an indication the foreclosure market has peaked.

Copyright © 2010 Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Paul Owers. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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