Tequesta February Sales Disappointing but Prices Remain Solid
As we “sprung forward” last weekend the nice sunny skies lasting later in the day are a perfect reminder that spring home buying season is upon us once again. For the first time in over 6 years we are in a position where interest rates are at historic low rates, housing inventories are at multi-year lows and many economists are finally calling the bottom of the great real estate bubble.
There is no doubt that the foundation for potential price increases is stronger than we have seen for a very long time. Indexes that track sales of previously owned homes continue to rise on a national level and again strengthens the potential for prices to once again be on the rise. As we all know, real estate is very local in nature so let’s evaluate how sales looked in the local markets during the month of February.
#1 Hobe Sound –
#2 Jupiter –
#3 Palm Beach Gardens –
#4 Tequesta – down 44%
#4 North Palm Beach – down 44%
#6 Juno Beach – down 57%
When looking at the breakdown of local sales during the month of February the one word that comes to mind is bizarre. The smallest change in any municipality was 27% with three communities way ahead of January’s numbers and three reporting sales way below. The average difference in sales in the month over month reporting cycle was over a 43% change. When you balance out the highs and lows the “average” difference over the 30 day period was a more modest 5% change. The lack of quality inventory coupled with the low interest rates and pent up demand is the main factor in a rather strange month.
Tied for 4th place in this months sales power rankings are single family home sales in Tequesta who like North Palm Beach checks in with a 44% decrease in monthly sales numbers over January figures. In February 9 properties closed escrow compared to 16 in January and the second slowest sales month we have seen in 13 months. This showing puts us far behind the 12 month average which stands at 12.08 and also well behind the 13 units sold in February of last year. Tequesta sales wrap up the “weak” side of the monthly reporting as we move on to Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and Hobe Sound where the differences are pronounced.
While sales slowed, prices realized were spread very evenly throughout all pricing categories except under $150,000 where there is little to no inventory and between $750,000 and $1,000,000. Each of the other 4 price ranges reported at least two sales so we did see some good balance. The chart below shows the percentage of sales by price category for the month of January.
With sales spread evenly in the different price ranges we would hope to see a solid month for median prices realized and those numbers did not disappoint. In fact we jumped to $505,000 which was the second highest monthly median price we have seen over the past 12 months. With this showing we soared well ahead of the 12-month average of $404,425 and also far above the median price sale of $250,000 we saw in February of last year. Here is a good sign that 2012 may in fact be the year we do finally see median price increases throughout the local market. The chart below shows median prices on a monthly basis over the previous 12 month period.
So another month rolls by with more questions than answers but the signs still point to the local real estate markets continuing to recover with a few more bumps in the road but the economy seems to have the shock absorbers needed to handle whatever is thrown it’s way and with spring buying season staring us in the face it should be continued good times ahead.