Real estate market bounces back

Real estate agents say home sales increasing

Published On: Jul 24 2012 06:05:39 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 24 2012 09:45:00 PM EDT

Real estate agents said South Florida property sales have started to bounce back, but there are not enough houses to meet the growing demand from hungry buyers. 

Gloryann Villegas has been trying to buy her first home since last March. 

"I am desperately wanting a home," she said.

In fact, Villegas has put in more than half a dozen offers on homes, most of them above the asking price, and she still has no deal. 

"I thought it was going to be a lot easier, a very fun experience, but it has been the total opposite," she said. 

That is because there is not much for sale. In Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the available inventory is at record lows, down 28 percent from last year and down 73 percent from four years ago. Essentially, there is only a 4 1/2-month supply now, when in July 2008, there was a four-year supply. 

The owner of a three-bedroom home in Davie received multiple offers within two days and got an all-cash deal at his asking price.

Villegas' real estate agent, David Diaz, said she has a preapproved VA loan, but that puts her at a disadvantage. 

"If you are not coming in with a sizable down payment or cash, straight cash, it is very difficult right now," Diaz said.

In fact, more than half the deals being done today are cash buys. Of course, a low supply and high demand mean prices are rising rapidly. 

"In some markets, it's in double digits, well over 10 percent -- other areas, at least a minimum of 4 to 5 percent," said Liz Caldwell, of EWM Realty.

Homes between $150,000 and $300,000 are selling like hot cakes. That means Villegas spends a lot of time on a computer, looking for the latest listings. 

"I check it maybe every hour. I check the listings," Villegas said.