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Miami Home Prices Increase for a Fourth Straight Month

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April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Home prices in the Miami area rose for a fourth straight month in March as fewer condominiums and houses came to market and distressed properties accounted for a smaller share of deals.

Condo prices in Miami-Dade County jumped 46 percent from a year earlier to a median $141,700, the Miami Association of Realtors said yesterday in a statement. Single-family home prices gained 13 percent to $180,000.

Values are recovering after Florida’s unemployment rate fell by more than one percentage point in the past year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Property listings in the Miami area declined 34 percent in March from a year earlier, pushing up prices as demand increased. Distressed real estate accounted for 49 percent of sales, down from 52 percent, according to the Realtors group.

“The inventory has dropped dramatically, and many buyers realize this may be the bottom,” Peter Zalewski, principal at Bal Harbour, Florida-based Condo Vultures LLC, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “Most of the smart money got in around 2009 and 2010, and are now re-trading at a premium.”

All-cash buyers made up 65 percent of Miami-Dade sales last month, down from 66 percent in March 2011. Almost 90 percent of international buyers in Miami pay with cash, according to the association.

“We expect this trend to continue, as Miami increasingly attracts international buyers and investors, second and vacation home buyers, and migrating U.S. residents,” Martha Pomares, the trade group’s chairman, said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Levy in San Francisco at dlevy13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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