From the Ocala Star Banner
Marion County's percentage increase in home sales in 2013 over the previous year was second-highest in the state, behind neighboring Alachua County's, according to the state association of Realtors.
The Florida Realtors' report for 2013 indicates there were 5,369 closed sales of homes in Marion County, an increase of 26.8 percent over 2012's total.
This ranked the Ocala metropolitan statistical area second among 20 in the state behind Gainesville's metro area, where Realtors reported 2,430 sales in 2013, an increase of 31.4 percent over the previous year.
The Ocala metro area includes Marion County only, while the Gainesville area takes in Alachua and Gilchrist counties.
Randall Alvord, 2014 president of the Ocala/Marion County Association of Realtors, attributed the report's findings to "the affordability here, more than anywhere else."
The Florida Realtors' report indicated Marion County's median sale price in 2013 was $101,000, a year-over-year increase of 12.2 percent. The Ocala area's increase ranked it 13th among the 20 metro areas, with Cape Coral-Fort Myers leading the way with a median sale price of $174,900, an increase of 27.9 percent.
"People are shopping more now for value than the steals, the investor-type houses," Alvord said. "You're seeing a stabilizing market for sure."
Alvord said he thinks Marion County's home market has "a wonderful outlook."
"Ocala could be on the forefront of another boom, hopefully without repeating the mistakes of the past," he said.
"You can see how tight money is on the banking side," Alvord said. "Appraisers aren't appraising at ridiculous amounts anymore, so I guess you could say regulation — though I hate that word — is in place to hedge against something like (the housing bust) happening again."
Florida Realtors reported 227,411 closed sales statewide in 2013, up 11.8 percent over the previous year. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 2013 was $168,000, up 15.9 percent from the previous year.
The Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department supplied data for the report in partnership with local Realtor boards and associations.
For more information, visit http://www.floridarealtors.org.
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