IRVINE, Calif. – June 24, 2014 – In RealtyTrac's May 2014 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report, U.S. residential properties – single family homes, condominiums and townhomes – sold at roughly the same rate as they did one month earlier and less than 1 percent higher year-to-year.
However, total sales include a lot more "normal" sales than in recent months, causing, in part, a median sales price ($180,000) rise of 6 percent month-to-month and 13 percent year-to-year.
May's year-over-year increase was the second consecutive month with a double-digit annual increase in U.S. home prices, and the biggest annual increase since U.S. home prices bottomed out in March 2012.
In May U.S. distressed sales and short sales combined accounted for 14.3 percent of all residential sales – a drop from 15.6 percent of sales in April and down 15.9 percent in May 2013.
"Distressed sales continue to represent a smaller share of the overall sales pie nationwide, helping to boost median home prices higher given that distressed sales tend to be in lower price ranges," says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
"When broken down by average price range, U.S. sales are clearly shifting away from the lower end," he says. "Properties selling below $200,000 represented 50 percent of all sales in May, but that was down from a 55 percent share a year ago. Meanwhile, the share of homes selling above $200,000 increased from a 45 percent a year ago to a 50 percent in May 2014."
Florida ranked fifth nationwide for a sales decline year-to-year (3 percent), though top-ranked California saw a 15 percent drop. Only one Florida city, Orlando, ranked in the top five for metro areas with declining sales, coming in at No. 3 with an 18% drop. No. 1 ranked Boston sale a 23 percent sales decline.
Luxury home sales increase
Home sales in the higher price ranges represent growing share of market, according to RealtyTrac, which created price ranges and then calculated the number of home sales in those ranges compared to all sales.
The share of home sales in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range increased 2 percent from the previous month and 6 percent from a year ago; but the share of home sales in all price ranges above $750,000 was up more than 20 percent from a year ago.
Meanwhile the share of home sales decreased from a year ago in all price ranges below $200,000, with bigger decreases corresponding to lower price ranges.
The share of homes priced between $100,000 and $200,000 decreased 5 percent from a year ago, while the share of homes between $50,000 and $100,000 decreased 13 percent. The share of homes priced below $50,000 – often highly distressed homes – decreased 22 percent.
Home sales in the $100,000 to $200,000 price range accounted for one-third of all home sales in May – the largest percentage of any price range – but homes priced between $200,000 and $400,000 were close, accounting for nearly 32 percent of all sales for the month.
Sales of homes priced in the $200,000 to $400,000 range were at their highest percentage of U.S. home sales since September 2008 – a 68-month high.
Metro areas with the highest share of combined short sales and distressed sales were Las Vegas (36.6 percent), Lakeland, Fla., (33.3 percent), Modesto, Calif., (31.9 percent), Jacksonville, Fla., (31.7 percent), and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario in Southern California (29.3 percent).
Short sales accounted for 4.5 percent of all national sales in May, down from 5.4 percent in April and down from 5.8 percent in May 2013. However, the top five metros with the highest percentages of short sales were all in Florida: Lakeland (17.7 percent), Orlando (14.9 percent), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (13.4 percent), Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville (12.9 percent), and Sarasota(11.6 percent).
Sales of bank-owned (REO) properties nationwide accounted for 8.6 percent of all sales in May, down from 9.1 percent of all sales in April and 9.3 percent of all sales in May 2013. Four of the top five areas were in California while Las Vegas ranked third.
Best distressed discounts vary by state
RealtyTrac identified the five best real estate deals for distressed property buyers and one is inFlorida: Homes scheduled for foreclosure auction that have negative equity, are vacant and were built between 1950 and 1990 sold at a 29 percent discount.
Other national bargains include:
″ California: Homes scheduled for foreclosure auction with positive equity (17 percent discount)
″ Ohio: Homes in default with negative equity, vacant and built between 1950 and 1990 (34 percent discount)
″ Michigan: Homes in default and vacant (34 percent discount)
″ New York: Homes scheduled for foreclosure auction with negative equity and vacant (38 percent discount)