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May house prices increase across Palm Beach, Broward counties

South Florida home prices inched up in May – another round of modest gains that real estate analysts say will define the market at least for the next several months.

Broward County’s median price for existing homes last month was $280,000, a 10 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors. Broward had 1,341 homes change hands last month, an 8 percent drop from a year earlier.

In Palm Beach County, the median price in May was $281,900, 7 percent higher than May 2013, the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches said. Sales jumped 11 percent, to 1,640 from 1,472.

Both counties saw robust price increases of more than 20 percent in 2013, but market observers say those frenzied gains were not sustainable.

Statewide, the median price for existing homes in May was $180,000, up 4 percent from last year, according to the Florida Realtors trade group. Sales rose 4 percent.

"Ordinarily, a market that is flattening out after a rise can be of concern," John Tuccillo, chief economist of Florida Realtors, said in a statement. "But this market has been in recovery mode and is now catching its breath after a long run-up. We are still seeing improvement in sales and prices and are continuing to see drops in days on the market, cash sales and short sales. All of these are signs of a market that has stabilized."

Still, even with smaller price increases in recent months, Tuccillo said the trade group is concerned about higher home values preventing many first-time buyers from entering the market.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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