Real Estate Market Report – August 2017

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Real Estate Market Report - August 2017Your Palm Beach County Market Report for September 2017 is in, and as predicted in our June/July 2017 Market Report, it’s little more than more of the same this month. That’s because housing statistics for single-family homes don’t change much month-to-month, but thanks to predictable buyer and seller behaviors, we know what’s generally going to happen when.

And the “when” we are in now is the end of summer, and that means a lack of inventory, and dormant buyers and sellers. And it shows in the numbers with total closed transactions, months’ supply of inventory, and pending and new listings. And when supply goes down, you know what happens to prices!

August 2017 was a near record month for median home prices at $340,000

The highest median price achieved in Palm Beach County came earlier this year at $345,000 back in June, so we could be seeing the effects of a slower market in the summer seep into our early fall. Regardless, the median home price is at a level that makes some people uneasy.

“Affordability” is a measure of how accessible buying a home is for people at or near the median household income levels for a given market. In Palm Beach County, affordability is becoming increasing sparse.

Closed Transactions tallied 1,550, just about flat when compared to the rest of the summer, but about 8% less from a year ago. That’s disproportionately affecting affordability. Homes in the most ‘affordable” price ranges – $200k to $250k – were down about 13% from a year ago, and this month accounted for only about 10.5% of the overall market’s closed volume.

Homes in the $300k – $600k price range sold more often, but took longer to close, on average.

Affordability is always affected by inventory.

Housing Inventory in Palm Beach County continuing to pose challenges to buyers

Since we started this blog in 2015, one trend has continued to stick around – a lack of affordable, available inventory for first-time homebuyers, young professionals, and others living on or near the county’s median household income. Part of the problem is aggregate, sure – the dizzying population growth of South Florida, for example – but more immediately, the problem is that people just aren’t selling.

We have clients who have “traded up” in the last few years, for example, by selling their current home to buy a new home in a higher price range. That opens up their current home to a new family who can join the ranks of homeowners for the first time. The problem is, it’s not happening enough.

New Listings in the most important price ranges for affordability is down 16% year-over-year, and only 8% of all new listings in the county. That shows just how difficult it is to buy a home in the very “normal” price range of $200 to $250k. And with Months’ Supply of Inventory dwindling to 4.6 for August 2017, the job of finding a home in that already difficult price range is not going to get any easier any time soon.

Our Best Advice for Homebuyers – August 2017

Having a difficult time finding an affordable home? We have some good advice for you. First and foremost, as we¬†always say, make sure you are working with a professional, experienced Realtor. You’re not going to be able to do this on your own using Zillow. Once you have a great Realtor, follow their recommendations, and be open to new ideas about things like location, size of the home, and amenities.

Also – and this is the most important tip we have for you – be decisive and move quickly. Don’t be unwilling to give up some concessions on what you think is your “must-haves” list. We can’t tell you how many times we found the perfect home for a buyer who stalled, and by the time they came around, it’s under contract with someone else.

August 2017 Single-Family Real Estate Market Stats

Closed Sales 1,550 1,683 -7.9%
Median Sales Price $340,000 $315,000 7.9%
New Pending Sales 1,711 1,810 -5.5%
Active Listings 6,798 6,806 -1.1%

*Source: RAPB, April 2017 Single-Family Home Market Report

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