February Not Pretty for North Palm Beach Single Family Home Sales
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 –
#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 North Palm Beach that turned in the slowest results we have seen in 7 months and a 44% decrease in monthly sales numbers. Not much good news with numbers like this and no doubt the lack of inventory is playing a role but this was the 2nd worst sales month we have seen is 15 months and far behind the 12 month average which stands at 9.58. They also fell behind the 7 units sold in February of last year. I guess with a month like this the good news is things have to look up in March.
While sales fell, prices realized were all low with all sales except one below $300,000 and again searching for good news the one lone sale outside this range was in the ultra luxury market priced above the $1,000,000 benchmark. The lack of sales between $500,000 and $1,000,000 is of concern as these are market segments with better inventory and we still see a stand-off between sellers who feel there property is worth more than today’s price conscious buyers are willing to offer. The chart below shows the percentage of sales by price category for the month of January.
With 80% of all sales below $300,000 we would expect to see the median price put in a poor showing but we actually had a slight increase over January numbers which is a bit surprising. In fact we jumped $20,000 from the $210,000 median price experienced in January with a median sales price of $230,000. With this showing we stayed a bit behind the 12-month average of $252,283 buy far below the median price sale of $346,000 we saw in February of last year. 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.