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Home prices in Miami-Dade surpass those in Broward

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For the first time in years, the median price of a house in Miami-Dade County is slightly higher than in Broward County, according to second-quarter figures released Tuesday by the Florida Association of Realtors.

The quarter ended with the median price of a single-family house in Miami-Dade at $377,500 and in Broward at $373,000. The median price of a condominium here totaled $253,400 and in Broward $212,900.

Real estate analysts Jack McCabe and Michael Cannon said it is an anomaly that Miami-Dade's prices surpassed Broward's.

"I don't think it means that much," said Mr. McCabe. "I don't necessarily consider it a trend. Regarding single-family homes, it's hard to put your finger on it. And in condominiums, there were higher-priced condos, but I think that signals a shift from single-family homes to multifamily homes.

"But the important thing is that in both Miami and Fort Lauderdale, we've seen a sales-rate drop in the past six or seven consecutive months."

Mr. Cannon, managing director of Integra Realty Resources-South Florida, said the shift is "an anomaly. It doesn't mean anything." He said housing was more expensive in Miami-Dade than in Broward and Palm Beach counties years ago because Broward and Palm Beach "were geared for the retirement village."

But the Broward and Palm Beach demographic got younger and the housing industry in Miami-Dade "has been building to a higher niche," he said.

Meanwhile, the new figures show that housing sales here are continuing to slide. Sales of single-family homes in Miami-Dade totaled 2,602 in the second quarter, compared with 3,721 in second-quarter 2005, a 30% decline. Condominium sales for the quarter were 3,190, a 23% decline from 4,126 in the same period last year.

The median sale price of a single-family house was $377,500 in the second quarter, compared with $351,000 last year, an 8% increase.

Mr. McCabe said he expects prices to fall by the end of the year. "There's going to be some pain while we go through this for the next few years," he said.

But Mr. Cannon said a price drop is unlikely. "We are seeing the wring-out of the excess expected price increase, but we are not seeing a decline," he said. "My forecast is that there will be a leveling-out to a 3% rise in prices."

Miami Today - Week of August 17, 2006 - By Charlotte Libov

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