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Home sales in coastal areas of Miami continue to improve

A new report on residential real estate sales in coastal areas of Miami reinforces the view that the beleaguered market is continuing to mend, with the median sales price up 18.2 percent in the third quarter to $195,000 from a year earlier. Non-distressed sales jumped 33.9 percent for condos and 17.1 percent for single-family home in the third quarter, compared with a year ago, according to the study, done by Jonathan J. Miller of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm, for Douglas Elliman Florida, a real estate brokerage. “There were a lot more normal sales,’’ Miller said. Fifty-nine percent of all sales were non-distressed, down from 47 percent a year earlier, when foreclosures and short sales were more dominant. “There is a reversal from the recent peak in distressed sales,’’ he added. Miller said distressed sales are likely to pick up now that lenders have clearer view of how to proceed in the wake of the massive “robo-signing’’ settlement between 49 state attorney generals and large banks accused of processing foreclosures without reviewing individual details. But he expects more short sales than foreclosures. “Short sales will probably take the edge off some of the distressed activity. Banks are moving more in that direction,’’ he said. “There won’t be a tsunami of foreclosures.’’ The report focuses on downtown Miami and Brickell Avenue and other coastal areas such as Aventura, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, and Key Biscayne, that generally have seen the strongest recovery since the real estate debacle. Inventory continues to fall, dropping 24.7 percent in the third quarter to 11,468 from 15,239 a year earlier, the report said. Cash sales and sales to foreign buyers continue to be the driving force shaping the market, the study concludes. Said Vanessa Grout, CEO of Douglas Elliman Florida: “Cash is king.’’

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