MIAMI — Palm Beach County total home sales, dollar volume and luxury ($1-million-and-up) transactions surged double digits year-over-year in December 2019, according to the MIAMI Association of Realtors (MIAMI) and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.
Palm Beach continues in a seller’s market (inventory below 6 months of supply) with months of supply trending downward, a sign of the high demand for Palm Beach real estate.
“Palm Beach County mid-market and luxury transactions continue rising as an increased number of buyers from tax-burdened states consider our real estate,” JTHS-MIAMI President David Abernathy said. “Palm Beach real estate remains in high demand as inventory decreases and home sales, including pending transactions, rise.”
Palm Beach County Total Home Sales Rise 19.6%
Total Palm Beach County home sales increased 19.6%, from 2,209 to 2,642. Palm Beach single-family home sales increased 15.5%, from 1,229 to 1,420. Palm Beach condo sales increased 24.7%, from 980 to 1,222.
A rise in mid-market and luxury transactions fueled the rise in total home sales.
In the mid-market, Palm Beach County single-family homes priced between $300K to $400K saw a rise of 31% in transactions to 401 sales. Palm Beach condos priced between $250K to $300K registered a 68.8% rise in sales to 108 transactions.
In the luxury market, Palm Beach single-family homes priced above $1 million rose 17.3% to 88 transactions. Palm Beach condos priced above $1 million increased 50% to 48 transactions.
With consumer confidence rising, unemployment low, job creation high and increased migration to Florida, Palm Beach real estate should enjoy steady growth.
Single-family home dollar volume increased 18.4%, from $593.5 million to $702.5 million. Condo dollar volume increased 63.4%, from $268.2 million to $438.2 million.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.72% in December, up from 3.70% in November. The average commitment rate across all of 2019 was 3.94%.
A new condo approval process could increase sales in the future. The new guidance, which goes into effect in October 2019, extends certifications from two years to three, allows for single-unit mortgage approvals, provides more flexibility with owner/occupancy ratios, and increases the allowable number of FHA loans in a single project. The changes, many of which MIAMI and NAR has championed, should yield thousands of new homeownership opportunities.
Another Month of Price Appreciation in Palm Beach
Palm Beach County single-family home prices increased 5.6% in December 2019, increasing from $344,700 to $364,000. Existing condo prices increased 5.6%, from $179,750 to $189,900.
Palm Beach Distressed Sales Stay Low, Reflecting Healthy Market
Only 3.3% of all closed residential sales in Palm Beach were distressed last month, including REO (bank-owned properties) and short sales, compared to 3.5% in December 2019.
Total Palm Beach distressed sales increased 14.3%, from 77 to 88.
Short sales and REOs accounted for 0.5% and 2.8%, respectively, of total Palm Beach sales in December 2019. Short sale transactions increased 44.4% year-over-year while REOs increased 10.3%.
Nationally, distressed sales represented 2% of sales in December, unchanged from both November 2019 and December 2018.
Palm Beach Real Estate Selling Close to List Price
The median number of days between listing and contract dates for Palm Beach single-family home sales was 43 days, a 18.9% decrease from 53 days last year. The median number of days between the listing date and closing date for single-family homes was 81 days, a 11% decrease from 91 days.
The median time to contract for condos was 45 days, a 6.3% decrease from 48 days last year. The median number of days between listing date and closing date decreased 2.3% to 85 days.
The median percent of original list price received for single-family homes was 95.3%. The median percent of original list price received for existing condominiums was 94.3%.
National and State Statistics
Nationally, total existing-home sales transactions increased 3.6% from November to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million in December. Additionally, overall sales took a significant bounce, up 10.8% from a year ago (5.00 million in December 2019).
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 25,557 last month, up 23.8% from December 2018, according to Florida Realtors. Florida’s condo-townhouse market totaled 9,605, up 17.7% from the level a year ago. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types in in December was $274,500, up 7.8% from December 2018 ($254,700), as prices rose in every region. November’s price increase marks 94 straight months of year-over-year gains.
Statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties in December rose year-over-year for 96 months in a row. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $270,000, up 5.9% from the previous year. Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $200,000, up 8.1% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
Palm Beach Cash Buyers Represent More than Double the National Figure
Palm Beach cash transactions comprised 42.6% of December 2019 total closed sales, compared to 44.5% last year. Palm Beach cash transactions are more than double the national figure (20%).
Condominiums comprise a large portion of Palm Beach cash purchases as 54.1% of condo closings were made in cash in December compared to 32.7% of single-family home sales.
Seller’s Market for Palm Beach Real Estate
Inventory of single-family homes decreased 16.1% in December from 7,347 active listings last year to 6,163 last month. Condominium inventory decreased 5.2% to 5,891 from 6,215 listings during the same period in 2018.
Months supply of inventory for single-family homes decreased 17.6% to 4.2 months, which indicates a seller’s market. Existing condominiums have a 5.3-month supply, which also indicates a seller’s market. A balanced market between buyers and sellers offers between six- and nine-months supply.
Total active listings at the end of December decreased 11.1% year-over-year, from 13,562 to 12,054.
New listings of Palm Beach single-family homes decreased 5.9% to 1,395 from 1,483. New listings of condominiums increased 7.5%, from 1,285 to 1,382.
Nationally, total housing inventory at the end of December totaled 1.40 million units, down 14.6% from November and 8.5% from one year ago (1.53 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.0-month supply at the current sales pace, down from the 3.7-month figure recorded in both November and December 2018. Unsold inventory totals have dropped for seven consecutive months from year-ago levels, taking a toll on home sales.
To access December 2019 Palm Beach Statistical Reports, visit http://www.SFMarketIntel.com
Note: Statistics in this news release may vary depending on reporting dates. MIAMI reports exact statistics directly from its MLS system.
About the MIAMI Association of Realtors
The MIAMI Association of Realtors was chartered by the National Association of Realtors in 1920 and is celebrating 100 years of service to Realtors, the buying and selling public, and the communities in South Florida. Comprised of six organizations, the Residential Association, the Realtors Commercial Alliance, the Broward-MIAMI Association of Realtors, the Jupiter Tequesta Hobe Sound (JTHS-MIAMI) Council, the Young Professionals Network (YPN) Council and the award-winning International Council, it represents 52,000 total real estate professionals in all aspects of real estate sales, marketing, and brokerage. It is the largest local Realtor association in the U.S. and has official partnerships with 222 international organizations worldwide. MIAMI’s official website is www.miamirealtors.com