2006 Predicted to Be Good to Prospective Home Buyers

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First-time homebuyer Sean Carreras is going with a brand new model. Although mortgage rates have been climbing for months, he’s been more concerned about rising prices. His model started at $190,000.

Sean Carreras says, "By the time they said we could sign the contract, it was 220, so that's like a three-month period, and it was up $10,000 a month."

Analysts think skyrocketing prices and higher interest rates are why new home sales nationwide had the sharpest drop last month in a dozen years, more than 11 percent off from November of last year, but this is Florida, and things are different here.

Just ask realtor Christina Lowry.

Christina says, "There’s a lot of demand, so we have seen, even in the past month, we’ve had a greater December than we did last year."

Higher interest rates don’t seem to be having a big impact yet on the big-ticket buyers.
What’s a few hundred dollars a month when you’ve got millions to spend?

Frank Lapete is putting the finishing touches on a $1.5 million home. He has noticed a slight drop-off in potential buyers lately.

Frank Lapete, a builder, says, “I would say the average number of calls per week was about seven, it might have slowed down to about five or six, but that could be holidays.”

The good news for buyers is prices may finally start to stabilize in Florida in 2006, but a new home will still cost you tens of thousands of dollars more than just a few years ago.

The statewide median price for an existing home is up more than 30 percent from this time last year.