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Palm Beach County Total Home Sales Jump Double Digits in September

Palm Beach shoreline
Palm Beach shoreline

MIAMI — Palm Beach County total home sales surged in September 2020 thanks to major increases in mid-market and luxury home transactions, according to the MIAMI Association of Realtors (MIAMI) and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.


Palm Beach County total home sales jumped 28.7% year-over-year, from 2,332 to 3,001. Palm Beach single-family home sales jumped 28.6% year-over-year, from 1,356 to 1,744. Palm Beach existing condo transactions increased 28.8% year-over-year, from 976 to 1,257.


“Palm Beach County single-family home and condo sales have now risen for three consecutive months,” JTHS-MIAMI President David Abernathy said. “Record-low interest rates, homebuyers leaving tax-burdened Northeastern states and work-from-home and remote-learning policies have all combined to boost Palm Beach real estate.”


Mortgage applications to purchase are 24% higher annually, according to the Oct. 14 Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. The COVID-19 situation has accelerated the trend of homebuyers from New York and cold weather and tax-burdened Northeastern states searching and purchasing homes in South Florida.


Strong Price Appreciation in Palm Beach County

Strong demand coupled with limited supply continue to drive price appreciation in Palm Beach County.


Palm Beach County single-family home prices increased 12.7% year-over-year in September 2020, increasing from $355,000 to $400,000. Existing condo prices increased 9.4% year-over-year, from $188,500 to $206,250.


Mid-Market and Luxury Home Sales Jump in September 2020

Palm Beach single-family homes priced between $400K to $600K surged 50.3% year-over-year to 457 transactions in September 2020. Palm Beach existing condo sales priced between $400K to $600K increased 29% to 89 transactions.


Palm Beach single-family luxury ($1-million-and-up) transactions jumped 72.1% year-over-year to 179 sales in September 2020. Palm Beach existing condo luxury ($1-million-and-up) sales increased 110.7% year-over-year to 59 transactions.


Record-low interest rates; a record-high S&P 500; the appeal of stable assets in a volatile economy; homebuyers leaving tax-burdened Northeastern states to purchase in Florida (no state income tax); and work-from-home and remote-learning policies have all combined to create a robust market for luxury single-family properties.


Single-Family Home Dollar Volume Increases

Single-family home dollar volume increased 47.9% year-over-year, from $773.7 million to $1.1 billion. Condo dollar volume increased 38.6% year-over-year, from $301.2 million to $417.6 million.


According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 2.89% in September, down from 2.94% in August. The average commitment rate across all of 2019 was 3.94%.


Palm Beach County Distressed Sales Stay Low, Reflecting Healthy Market

Only 1.9% of all closed residential sales in Palm Beach County were distressed last month, including REO (bank-owned properties) and short sales, compared to 2.8% in September 2020.


Total Palm Beach County distressed sales decreased 10.6%, from 66 to 59.


Short sales and REOs accounted for 3.7% and 1.6% year-over-year, respectively, of total Palm Beach sales in September 2020. Short sale transactions decreased 26.7% year-over-year while REOs decreased 5.9%.


Nationally, distressed sales represented less than 1% of sales in September, equal to August’s percentage but down from 2% in September 2019.


Palm Beach Real Estate Selling Close to List Price

The median percent of original list price received for single-family homes was 96.5% in September, up 1.6% from 95% last year. The median percent of original list price received for existing condominiums was 94.9%, up 0.6% from 94.3% last year.


The median number of days between listing and contract dates for Palm Beach single-family home sales was 27 days, a 49.1% decrease from 53 days last year. The median number of days between the listing date and closing date for condos was 35 days, down 40.7% from 59 days.


The median time to sale for single-family homes was 74 days, a 24.5% decrease from 98 days last year. The median number of days to sale for condos was 79 days, a 20.2% decrease from 99 days.


National and State Statistics

Nationally, total existing-home sales transactions completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 9.4% from August to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million in September. Overall sales rose year-over-year, up 20.9% from a year ago (5.41 million in September 2019).


Statewide, sales of single-family homes rose 22% year-over-year, totaling 28,675, while existing condo-townhouse sales increased 25.3% over September 2019 and totaled 11,290. 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 September was $311,800, up 14.8% from September 2019 ($271,500), as prices rose in every region. September’s national price increase marks 103 straight months of year-over-year gains.


The statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties rose year-over-year in September for 105 consecutive months. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $300,000, up 13.2% 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 $217,500, up 12.7% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.


Palm Beach County’s Cash Buyers Double the National Figure

Palm Beach County cash transactions comprised 38.7% of September 2020 total closed sales, compared to 39.4% last year. The national figure for cash buyers is 18%.


Palm Beach’s high percentage of cash sales reflects South Florida’s ability to attract a diverse number of international homebuyers, who tend to purchase properties in all cash.


Condominiums comprise a large portion of Palm Beach’s cash purchases as 49.4% of condo closings were made in cash in September 2020 compared to 30.9% of single-family home sales.


Seller’s Market for Palm Beach Real Estate

Inventory of single-family homes decreased 32.6% in September from 6,144 active listings last year to 4,141 last month. Condominium inventory decreased 0.2% to 5,348 from 5,357 listings during the same period in 2019.


Months supply of inventory for single-family homes decreased 32.6% to 2.9 months, which indicates a seller’s market. Inventory for existing condominiums increased 6.3% to 5.1 months, which 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 September decreased 17.5% year-over-year, from 11,501 to 9,489. Active listings remain about 60% below 2008 levels when sales bottomed.


New listings of Palm Beach single-family homes increased 21.9% to 1,622 from 1,978. New listings of condominiums increased 24.3%, from 1,406 to 1,748.


Nationally, total housing inventory at the end of September totaled 1.47 million units, down 1.3% from August and down 19.2% from one year ago (1.82 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.7-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.0 months in August and down from the 4.0-month figure recorded in September 2019.


To access September 2020 Palm Beach County Statistical Reports, visit


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 223 international organizations worldwide. MIAMI’s official website is



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