March Home Sales in North Palm Beach Up 25%
Stunning. That single word can describe the sales activity in the northern Palm Beach County region for the month ending April 1st. We all know too well about the shortage of inventory that has been the top story for many months. Buyers are everywhere but well priced homes in good condition are tough to find and eager shoppers have made their way to new home communities where sales are brisk. Builders too are quickly running out of lots and we have seen prices in new home communities increase dramatically over the past 6 months. Keeping in mind that most of these new home sales do not make it to the numbers reported by our Multiple Listing Service make this months report even more stunning.
Buyers are frantic and prices are being driven higher on a daily basis. Sales are higher, pending sales are higher, prices are higher and as we reported in our column a few days ago inventory levels continue to drop. The month ending on April 1st was the 15th straight month of median price increases throughout the state of Florida. Well over 50% of all homes that hit the market sell within two months or less. The best new listings here locally are selling in days, if not hours. Stunning.
The market has changed dramatically from a buyers market to a strong sellers market and list prices are up with sellers holding firm knowing higher prices are heading their way. Sales are up across the board with over 30 properties closing escrow above the $1,000,000 threshold during March in the northern Palm Beach County region. Stunning indeed.
Interest rates made another move to the downside last week and currently stand at their lowest levels in over 12 weeks. Even with higher prices there is value as monthly payments remain low with the cost of borrowing money remaining near all time lows. Last month the median priced home in Jupiter sold for $405,000 and if a buyer was able to finance 100% of that purchase at todays average overnight rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage their monthly payment for principal and interest would be $1,821. At year ago rates that payment would have been $1,936. In essence, a buyer’s payment today on a $430,000 loan would be about the same as if they purchased that property a year ago for $405,000. Interest rates are certainly a huge factor in the market’s strength and the Fed policy keeping them low as been an incredible stimulus to the recovery we are experiencing.
Last month in this column we reported median sales were up 10% in our reporting municipalities with pending and contingent sales up about 17% from the previous month. We were expecting a nice bump in the sales figures for this month so let’s take a look at home sales in North Palm Beach and the surrounding communities for the month of March and see what has happened since our last report.
Hobe Sound –
North Palm Beach – up 25%
Palm Beach Gardens – up 16%
We have to go back a very, very, very long time to find a month when each of our reporting municipalities showed an increase in closed sales during the same one month period. The fact that this month all five of them reported increase with the smallest increase being 16% is just plain stunning. During the month ending April 1st the average number of sales from our reporting municipalities soared an amazing 43.4% with a median gain of 53%. Stunning indeed.
We move next in this months report to home sales in North Palm Beach that were up and amazing 320% in our last report and jumped another 25% this month. During the month of March a total of 20 North Palm Beach single family homes sold compared with 16 during the previous month. With this showing we were far ahead of the 12 month average sales volume which currently stands at 12.66. On a “seasonal” note home sales in North Palm Beach ended up far ahead of the 6 sales we had in the same month in 2012.
As we saw sales volume rebound in North Palm Beach we saw the heaviest sales activity in homes priced between $300,001 and $500,000 and over $1,000,000 with 10 sales representing 50% of the market. With this showing the median sales priced soared 41% higher to $437,500 from the $310,150 reported a month ago. This was a new 6 month high and far above the 12 month average which now stands at $338,013. From a “seasonal” perspective we fell below the median sales price in March of last year which came in at a multi-year high of $620,000. Below are the charts showing the percentage of single family home sales in each category for the month of March as well as median prices over the past 12 months in North Palm Beach.
Every once in a while everything lands just perfectly and gives us a “stunning” month. With pending sales remaining strong next month’s report should be interesting.
Fins up until May…………