boulan south beach condo_web.jpgSales of existing condominiums in the Miami metropolitan area shot up 85 percent in March, from 835 to 1,542, compared to March 2010 and 80 percent compared to February, according to the 24,000-member MIAMI Association of REALTORS and the Southeast Florida Multiple Listing Service.

Sales of existing single-family homes rose 59 percent in March, from 649 to 1,031, and 90 percent compared to February.

In March, more than 64 percent of closed sales were cash transactions.  International sales, which are mostly cash transactions, represented around 60 percent of closed resales and 90 percent of new construction sales.

Statewide sales in-creased 24 percent to 9,703 for condominiums and 12 percent for single-family homes to 18,522.  Nationally, sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops increased 3.7 percent from February and were 5.44 percent below March 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“Current strong sales levels are even more impressive when you consider that last year at this time sales were boosted by the first-time homebuyer tax credit,” said Jack H. Levine, board chairman of the MIAMI Association of REALTORS.

“Nationally, sales have seen a drop compared to March 2010 because the tax credit is no longer applicable. But Miami and South Florida continue to outperform last year’s healthy real estate sales levels and the U.S. real estate market, reflecting the truly unique nature of our area and market,” Levine said in a statement issued by the group.

However, short sales and foreclosures continue to have an impact on median and average sales prices for both single-family homes and condominiums, especially in some areas of Miami-Dade County.  In March, 60 percent of all closed residential sales in the county were of distressed properties.

The median sales price of single-family homes in March decreased 19 percent to $159,800 from a year earlier.  The median sales price of condominiums dropped 30 percent to $97,400 but that was an increase of 3.6 percent from the previous month.

“The vast majority of distressed properties sell in the lower price ranges, disproportionately impacting median sales prices,” said Ralph E. De Martino, MIAMI Association of REALTORS residential president.

Statewide, median sales prices decreased 11 percent to $84,300 for condominiums and seven percent to $126,300 for single-family homes. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $159,600 in March, a 5.9 percent drop from March 2010.

The average sales prices for condominiums in Miami-Dade increased 48 percent, from $250,458 to $372,556. But the average sales price for single-family homes decreased 17.1 percent, from $333,307 in March 2010 to $276,270 last month.

The inventory of residential listings in the county dropped 23.8 percent from 24,792 in April 2010 to 18,883 in April 2011. Compared to March, the total inventory of homes dropped 6.8 percent from 20,264.

However, total housing inventory nationally rose 1.5 percent at the end of March.

The statement said in Miami-Dade, the total number of days a property stays on the market dropped 0.7 percent to 106 days for single-family homes and 6.5 percent to 117 days for condominiums compared to a year earlier.