Home Sales in Palm Beach Gardens Drop 16% in September
A big welcome back to our northern visitors who seem to return earlier and earlier each year. Already you can see the increase in activity; on the roads, at the beach, in the restaurants….everywhere. They return to a real estate market that just keeps getting more and more interesting and confusing. Across the Palm Beach County area we continue to see inventory levels at very low levels in many market segments but our last report showed levels starting to creep up, just slightly.
But the market is changing and the strength we had seen for most of 2012 is starting to sputter. Absorption rates are moving north as sales slow throughout the region. For the first time that I can remember we have seen a monthly decrease in sales in each municipality that we follow and the decline we are reporting here in September is rather significant.
Sellers have raised their prices, especially in the single family home market, and this coupled with declining inventories not only means that buyers have fewer choices but many of the choices they do have are more expensive than the most recent sales in their respective communities. No doubt sales are down and it certainly appears at this point to be a combination of weakening demand and homes that are priced higher than what the market will bear.
With interest rates still hovering at all time lows the cost of money is not an issue but qualifying for loans has never been more difficult. We are also seeing more and more transactions fall through due to appraisal issues. Even banks are listing their foreclosed properties at prices higher that the most recent comparable sales and no doubt frustration has set in with many buyers. Without question the next few months are going to be very critical in seeing just how strong this recovery is or if the overall economy is finally going to derail this train that has been chugging right along.
So let’s take a look at home sales in Palm Beach Gardens and the surrounding communities for the month of September and see what has happened since our last report.
Palm Beach Gardens – down 16%
Tequesta – down 18%
Jupiter – down 20%
North Palm Beach – down 27%
Hobe Sound – down 76%
For the first time since February we are seeing the volume of home sales in Palm Beach Gardens and the surrounding communities all fall during the month and the percentage declines are not what one hopes for in a market that is still obviously in the recovery mode. In September the median number of sales have decline 20% in our reporting area with the average decline and even more shocking 31%. We next move in this months report with home sales in Palm Beach Gardens where sales volume dropped a significant 16% from August levels. During the month of September a total of 70 Palm Beach Gardens single family homes sold compared with 83 during the previous month. We have to go back seven months to find a lower monthly total of home sales in Palm Beach Gardens which is a bearish sign indeed. September market the third straight decline in Palm Beach Gardens home sales. With this mediocre showing we fall below the 12 month average sales volume which currently stands at 77.08. Comparing September to year ago numbers sales were up slightly when home sales in Palm Beach Gardens stood at 66.
As we saw sales volume drop in Palm Beach Gardens we saw the heaviest sales activity in sales between $150,001 and $500,000 with 53 sales and 76% of the entire market. If there is one bright note it was the 12 sales we had above $500,000 which represented 17% of the overall market. With these sales the median sales price still dropped to $345,000 which kept us slightly ahead of the 12 month average which stands at $339,925. We did manage to stay well ahead of the median sales price in September of last year which stood at $290,000. The final two charts show the percentage of single family home sales in each category for the month of September as well as median prices over the past 12 months in Palm Beach Gardens.
There is no doubt significant reason for concern about the strength of this recovery moving forward and we hope our northern visitors will enjoy themselves so much during the winter months that a significant impact will be felt in home sales throughout the area. No doubt we do not need too many more months like September.
Until next month…………