February Home Sales in North Palm Beach Up 320%
It is that time of the month when we take a look at the sales numbers of homes sold in the northern Palm Beach County region. As the market continues to shift and with the lack of inventory, buyers are coming to terms that things are different, very different. Those looking to find that “deal” of the perfect house at a discount of 30% because it is a short sale are being left behind as other buyers who understand the competition are bidding higher prices in order to secure a home amidst the dearth of new well priced listings.
Sellers are also finding out that pricing above what the current market will bear means their listing sits there and becomes stale. However, when they decide to put a reasonable value on the property they will quickly be under contract, more often that not with multiple offers from which to select.
Last month this shift caused a significant drop in sales in the area with plenty of buyers and not enough properly priced supply to meet demand. Inventory throughout the region, with the exception of Tequesta, dropped with new record lows in many areas. How important is inventory when it relates to sales levels? Just look at Tequesta where inventory jumped 10% which helped to contribute to a very strong sales month. Put your home on the market at a fair price and the will come; in droves.
The national economic numbers continue to improve but still a high level of unemployment and uncontrolled government expenditures are still of significant concern to a full recovery. Here in Florida we are still faced with over 90,000 foreclosed homes that sat empty during the first quarter. Even more important is that this level is over three times higher than the second place state and dealing with banks on short sales continues to be a very frustrating process for many buyers.
But as we see people still facing foreclosure in high numbers we are also seeing a large number of buyers who have successfully sold short their property coming back into the market after waiting out the required period to where they once again qualify for financing. And with rates still at historically low rates they are able to afford more home than they could have back when they last purchased. Rates are down a bit this week to an average overnight rate of 3.68% on a 30 year fixed rate as of this morning. Creeping back close to the 4.03% we were at a year ago but well below the 4.81% we sat at two years ago.
Last month in this column we reported sales were down an average of 22.6% in our reporting municipalities with 80% of our local villages showing double digit declines. With inventories continuing to shrink, buyers getting more aggressive and some sellers seeing the benefit of placing a realistic sales price on their property the market continues to evolve. So let’s take a look at home sales in North Palm Beach and the surrounding communities for the month of February and see what has happened since our last report.
North Palm Beach – up 320%
Tequesta – up 57%
Palm Beach Gardens – up 10%
Jupiter – down 4%
Hobe Sound – down 20%
As inventory levels continue to erode pending sales have been on the rise and even though we are comparing this month to slower sales volume in January the numbers are encouraging. Prices continue to rise and some economists are predicting increases of at least 40% over the next two year period. During February the average number of sales from our reporting municipalities soared an amazing 72% but this number was significantly skewed by exceptionally strong sales in Tequesta and North Palm Beach. The median increase of 10% is actually more reflective of what transpired with sales in the area during the month of February.
We next move in the this months report to home sales in North Palm Beach that rebounded nicely and were up strongly by 320% when compared with January sales volume. During the month of February a total of 16 North Palm Beach single family homes sold compared with 5 during the previous month. With this showing we jumped ahead of the 12 month average sales volume which currently stands at 11.5. On a “seasonal” note home sales in North Palm Beach ended up well ahead of the 5 sales we had in the same month in 2012.
As we saw sales volume rebound in North Palm Beach we did see the heaviest sales activity in homes priced between $150,001 and $300,000 with 6 sales representing 38% of the market. Also strong were sales in the $1,000,000+ luxury category with 5 sales and 31% of the market. With this showing the median sales still fell after last months strong numbers to $310,150 down from the $355,000 reported a month ago. This price was still behind the 12 month average which now stands at $353,221. From a “seasonal” perspective we were far ahead of the median sales price in February of last year which stood at $230,000. Below are the charts showing the percentage of single family home sales in each category for the month of February as well as median prices over the past 12 months in North Palm Beach.
Finding well priced homes remains a difficult task and prices continue to head higher.
Until next month…………