Gov. Charlie Crist says Realtors are to Thank for Home Sales Increase

Gov. Charlie Crist credited Realtors for some of the boost in home sales over the past 12 months, and encouraged them at a meeting in Tallahassee Wednesday to take advantage of federal tax credits to sell more homes.

“There are great opportunities right now for Floridians and newcomers to Florida to take advantage of tax breaks, bargain prices and beautiful Florida real estate,” Crist said in a release. “I am encouraged by the continuing rise in home sales.”

Florida Realtors reported that home sales have been on the rise over the past year, up 26 percent during the period through October. At the same time, condominium sales are growing by 33 percent over the same period, while October saw the first year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity since July 2006.

However, with the rise in home sales has come a decline in median prices. The most recent report from Florida Realtors, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors, single-family median prices are down 10 percent from a year ago in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater to $137,500 while condo prices are off 18 percent to $102,400.

The Federal Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009 went into effect Nov. 6 and extends the first-time homebuyer credit five months and expands eligibility requirements to existing homeowners.

The law extends the deadline for qualifying home purchases from Nov. 30 to April 30. Additionally, if a buyer enters into a binding contract by April 30, they have until June 30 to settle on the purchase.

The maximum credit amount remains at $8,000 for a first-time homebuyer, that is a buyer who has not owned a primary residence during the three years prior to the purchase. Individuals who do not qualify as first-time homebuyers can qualify for a credit of up to $6,500, according to the governor’s office.

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