Recent figures indicate that the bust and boom cycle that once characterized the Palm Beach County housing market may be a thing of the past. Not only have sales remained consistently up and on par with last year’s sales, but prices are up as well. As a result, inventory remains tight and many buyers have found themselves in bidding wars over Palm Beach properties.
According to the latest Evans Report, which was released by Palm Beach real estate lawyer and property owner Leslie R. Evans last month, just 56 properties sold at below $2.5 million during the first nine months of 2014. During that same time period in 2013, 76 single-family properties were sold at that price point. This indicates that single-family homes and condos within the lowest-price categories are becoming increasingly more difficult to find on the Palm Beach market. While entry-level prices used to be below $2.5 million, they are now within the $2.5 to $5 million range. Not surprisingly, sales of homes within this range have increased by 11 percent this year.
The rising cost of Palm Beach County real estate can also be seen when considering the total number of sales this year compared to last year. While 156 single-family houses, townhouses and vacant lots were sold during the first three quarters last year, the sales totaled only $693 million. This year, 149 of these properties were sold for a total of around $803 million. Furthermore, 21 single-family homes sold for $10 million or more during the first three quarters of 2014 while the same period in 2013 saw only 11 sales within this price category. Similarly, 8 homes sold for $20 million or more in the first three quarters of 2014 compared to just 3 last year.
The picture is the same when examining condo sales. While 289 condos were sold during the first three quarters of 2013, on 284 sold during this same time period in 2014. Nonetheless, 30 of the condos sold this year were priced at $2 million or more compared to just 21 last year. Conversely, while 83 condos sold at $250,000 or less last year, only 67 were sold within the same price category this year. Overall, the median price for single-family properties was $3 million during the first three quarters of 2014, which is up by about $463,000 when compared to last year.
The Evans Report has also found that rising prices within the middle and lower ranges have had an impact on the overall number of sales. This is partially due to the fact that many developers have run into problems with completing their projects, which has resulted in a slow down in the number of new homes available on the North End and in Midtown. Those new homes that are being built, however, have been selling for far more than they did in 2013.
Despite the increase in prices, sales are still up in 2014. During the first three quarters of 2013, 39 properties sold with a median price of $3.2 million. In the same time period of 2014, 41 houses sold at a median price of $3.78 million. Condos, on the other hand, dropped from 77 sales last year to 62 this year. The median price, however, went up by nearly 30 percent from $405,500 to $523,000.
The Evans Report is created by analyzing data from public records, multiple listing services and media reports. As such, it differs from those reports that are generated solely from MLS data because it includes off-the-market sales that are recorded by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office.