Home Prices Hit New High as April Home Sales in North Palm Beach Fizzle

April Home Sales in North Palm Beach Down 45%

Another month has passed us by and the summer months are staring us straight in the face. This means less traffic at our favorites beaches and restaurants but also the start of hurricane season which we pray is a quiet one. We want to remind our neighbors to always be prepared as the numbers are starting to work against us. A major hurricane is one with winds of more than 111 miles per hour and the last time one crossed into our country was way back in 2005. This is the longest stretch since records have been kept and add in the fact that the Atlantic waters have warmed considerably over the past few months and you see why experts are predicting a 72% chance that a major hurricane will make landfall in the US this year.

So while traffic at the beach may be down the same cannot be said for the local real estate market which is becoming more and more frustrating to buyers who are lined up to buy homes that simply aren’t available. Prices are up and inventory is down but sales remain very strong. Last month in this column we reported that March sales numbers in the northern Palm Beach County region were off the chart. In fact they were up in each of our reporting municipalities by an average of 43.4%. In a market with shrinking inventory numbers numbers like this show us how crazy it is out there on the front lines.

List prices are up in the Palm Beach County area by 14.6% compared to the same period in 2012. Sales prices during the same period were up a remarkable 18.5% with sales volume up 11.3%. So not only do buyers have fewer choices they are paying considerably higher prices and the buzz in the air is starting to feel like what we experienced during 2002 to 2005 when the whole bubble got big enough it had to burst. Over the past few days reports are out that housing starts declined by 16.5% in April but these declines were due in large part to a slow down in apartment community construction. This was offset by a very healthy leap in building permits which increased a significant 14.3%. New home communities are busy, very busy, and builders are raising prices with each new release as they try to slow down sales while they scramble to find and develop buildable lots. New jobless claims rose to the highest level we have seen for a couple months, manufacturing numbers were weak but retail sales numbers beat projections while inflation remained almost non-existent. Truly a mixed bag but each of these economic segments will play a role in where the market heads from here. Interest rates will also play a role moving forward and they are up again this week and are up a full 25 basis points from where we stood just three weeks ago.

Even with the large pricing increases we have seen over the past year prices still remain a value when compared to the height of the market. Last month in this column we reported median sales were up an amazing 53% in our reporting municipalities and we have to wonder if this incredible pace can continue with further inventory declines. Again we want to point at that many new home sales do not show up in Multiple Listing numbers which makes these sales volume increases even more remarkable. So without further adieu let’s take a look at home sales in North Palm Beach and the surrounding communities for the month of April and see what has happened since our last report.

NPB1

Tequesta –
Palm Beach Gardens –
Jupiter –
Hobe Sound –
North Palm Beach – down 45%

Last month was the first time we had reported stronger sales in each of our reporting communities for a very long time. It would be remarkable if we could repeat that performance and we did not. However this month 80% of them reported increases over last month which is a testament to the strength we are experiencing. During the month ending May 1st the average number of sales from our reporting municipalities increased by 2.2% but this number is heavily weighted by a poor sales month in North Palm Beach. The average increase sits at 10% in month over month numbers which is more reflective of the true market action.

We start this months report with home sales in North Palm Beach that were down a very disappointing 45% from the previous month. Keep in mind that North Palm Beach is a unique area where we only average about 12 single family home sales each month and the monthly numbers are highly dependent on inventory, especially of median priced properties. Further, last months record sales in the community were the highest we have seen since we started tracking these numbers years ago. During the month of April a total of 11 North Palm Beach single family homes sold compared with 20 during the previous month. With this showing we fell slightly below the 12 month average sales volume which currently stands at 12.42. On a “seasonal” note home sales in North Palm Beach also ended up lower than the 14 sales we had in the same month in 2012.

As we saw sales volume fall in North Palm Beach we saw the heaviest sales activity in homes priced between $150,001 and $300,000 with 4 sales representing 37% of the market. We did have sales in each pricing category except under $150,000 where there just isn’t any inventory these days. With this showing the median sales price still jumped to $575,888 from last months number of $437,500 fueled by strong relative numbers of homes selling above $500,000. We did stay well ahead of the 12 month average which now stands at $363,607. From a “seasonal” perspective we were also well above the median sales price in April of last year which came in at $277,500. Below are the charts showing the percentage of single family home sales in each category for the month of April as well as median prices over the past 12 months in North Palm Beach.

NPB2

NPB3

So again we remind all of our readers to be well prepared for the hurricane season that starts in 10 days. The weather and the real estate market should remain very interesting over the coming months.

Fins up until June…………

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Published by

Tom Priester

After spending years among the top individual performers at one of Palm Beach County’s largest and most successful real estate brokerages, Tom Priester knew there was another way to do real estate. A better way. Real estate services focused on the customer. Like the old days when the customer truly was #1. He tired of listening to why he should be going out to have his customers sign one sided buyers’ brokerage agreements. He tired of hearing how he should be selling customers why paying higher commissions, like 7% and 8%, was to their benefit. He tired of hearing how he should sell his clients on why they should be paying hundreds of dollars in additional “transaction fees”. The business had slid way too far from being focused on the customer. His customer. So he decided the time was right to be different…..by design. To start his own unique boutique real estate firm truly focused on his customers. They will now have access to a process focused on them. Only the best marketing techniques to sell their homes. No cutting corners. Commission structures based on his clients needs not his. Paradise Sharks was born out of Tom’s passion to return this business to the customer. Where it belongs. If you want a real estate experience that benefits you, just give Tom a call at 561 308-0175 or send him an e-mail at tom@paradisesharks.com. You can always pay more and receive less but that just would not make any sense. Would it?

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