MIAMI — Palm Beach County total home sales, dollar volume and luxury ($1-million-and-up) transactions increased double digits year-over-year in February 2020, according to the MIAMI Association of Realtors (MIAMI) and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.
“Palm Beach County real estate posted another strong month in February, consistent with recent market trends,” JTHS-MIAMI President David Abernathy said. “While the effects of COVID-19 on the economy and real estate market remain uncertain, we are reassured by the strength and vitality of the South Florida real estate market and economy. The region is on solid financial footing, mortgage rates are at historic lows and supply of inventory has been decreasing for months.”
Palm Beach County 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 Total Home Sales Rise 12.4%
Total Palm Beach County home sales increased 12.4% year-over-year, from 2,000 to 2,248. Palm Beach single-family home sales rose 12.3%, from 1,098 to 1,233. Palm Beach condo sales increased 12.5%, from 902 to 1,015.
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 $400K to $600K saw a rise of 34.7% in transactions to 287 sales. Palm Beach condos priced between $400K to $600K registered a 60.5% rise in sales to 69 transactions.
In the luxury market, Palm Beach single-family homes priced above $1 million rose 16.5% to 106 transactions. Palm Beach condos priced above $1 million increased 45.5% to 48 transactions.
Single-family home dollar volume increased 29%, from $582.1 million to $750.7 million. Condo dollar volume increased 27.6%, from $264.4 million to $337.5 million.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 3.47% in February, down from 3.62% in January. 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 6.8% in February 2020, increasing from $340,000 to $363,000. Existing condo prices increased 3.3%, from $183,000 to $189,000.
Palm Beach Distressed Sales Stay Low, Reflecting Healthy Market
Only 2.8% of all closed residential sales in Palm Beach were distressed last month, including REO (bank-owned properties) and short sales, compared to 4.3% in February 2020.
Total Palm Beach distressed sales decreased 24.7%, from 85 to 64.
Short sales and REOs accounted for 0.4% and 2.4%, respectively, of total Palm Beach sales in February 2020. Short sale transactions decreased 23.1% year-over-year while REOs decreased 25%.
Nationally, distressed sales represented 2% of sales in February, unchanged from January and down from February 2019.
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 61 days, even from last year. The median number of days between the listing date and closing date for single-family homes was 103 days, up 3% from last year.
The median time to contract for condos was 59 days, a 1.7% decrease from 60 days last year. The median number of days between the listing date and closing date for condos was 97 days, even from last year.
The median percent of original list price received for single-family homes was 95%. The median percent of original list price received for existing condominiums was 93.7%.
National and State Statistics
Nationally, total existing-home sales transactions rose 6.5% from January to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million in February. Additionally, for the eighth straight month, overall sales greatly increased year-over-year, up 7.2% from a year ago (5.38 million in February 2019).
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 20,693 last month, up 9.1% from February 2019, according to Florida Realtors. Florida’s condo-townhouse market totaled 8,842, up 10.8% 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 February was $270,100, up 8.0% from February 2019 ($250,100), as prices rose in every region. February’s price increase marks 96 straight months of year-over-year gains.
Statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties in February rose year-over-year for 98 months-in-a-row. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $270,000, up 8% from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $200,000, up 6.7% 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 47.7% of February 2020 total closed sales, compared to 48.6% 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 62.5% of condo closings were made in cash in February compared to 35.5% of single-family home sales.
Seller’s Market for Palm Beach Real Estate
Inventory of single-family homes decreased 24% in February from 8,269 active listings last year to 6,282 last month. Condominium inventory decreased 11.6% to 6,170 from 6,976 listings during the same period in 2019.
Months supply of inventory for single-family homes decreased 27.6% to 4.2 months, which indicates a seller’s market. Existing condominiums have a 5.4-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 February decreased 18.3% year-over-year, from 15,245 to 12,452.
New listings of Palm Beach single-family homes decreased 8.6% to 2,230 from 2,039. New listings of condominiums increased 2.6%, from 1,792 to 1,838.
Nationally, total housing inventory at the end of February totaled 1.47 million units, up 5.0% from January, but down 9.8% from one year ago (1.63 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.1-month supply at the current sales pace, equal to the supply recorded in January and down from the 3.6-month figure recorded in February 2019.
To access February 2020 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