MIAMI — Palm Beach County total home sales increased in March 2021 as pent-up demand and low mortgage rates continue fueling transactions, according to the MIAMI Association of Realtors (MIAMI) and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.
Palm Beach County total home sales jumped 18.5% year-over-year in March 2021, from 2,836 to 3,362. Palm Beach County single-family home sales rose 10.9% year-over-year, from 1,554 to 1,723. Palm Beach County existing condo transactions increased 27.8% year-over-year, from 1,282 to 1,639.
Palm Beach real estate’s robust March 2021 statistics are in comparison to strong March 2020 sales. Local and national home sales experienced a brief slowdown starting in April 2020, but quickly rebounded to boost and significantly uphold the economy at a time when other industries struggled.
“Palm Beach County real estate transactions are on a long streak of rising sales and transactions would be significantly higher if there was more inventory, particularly in single-family homes,” JTHS-MIAMI President Bill Mate 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.”
The demand for South Florida real estate is evident in median time to contract. Palm Beach County single-family homes are going under contract in 18 days, 59.1% faster than a year ago (44 days). Palm Beach County condos are going under contract in 36 days, 25% faster than a year ago (48 days).
Lack of inventory in certain price points is impacting sales, particularly for single-family homes. Increased housing starts and more sellers listing properties in 2021 should help alleviate the lack of supply.
Palm Beach County Luxury Single-Family Home Sales Surge 99.3% in March 2021
Palm Beach County single-family luxury ($1-million-and-up) transactions jumped 99.3% year-over-year to 275 sales in March 2021. Palm Beach County existing condo luxury ($1-million-and-up) sales increased 73.6% year-over-year to 125 transactions.
Luxury months of supply continues to trend downward for all property types, month-over-month, and year-over-year.
Palm Beach County single-family homes priced between $400K to $600K surged 29.5% year-over-year to 457 transactions in March 2021. Palm Beach County existing condo sales priced between $400K to $600K increased 74% to 181 transactions.
Low interest rates; a robust 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.
Robust 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 18.9% year-over-year in March 2021, increasing from $370,000 to $440,000. Existing condo prices increased 23.1% year-over-year, from $199,000 to $245,000.
Single-Family Home and Condo Dollar Volume Increases
Single-family home dollar volume increased 89.7% year-over-year, from $949.5 million to $1.8 billion. Condo dollar volume increased 50.4% year-over-year, from $456.1 million to $686.1 million.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.08% in March, up from 2.81% in February. The average commitment rate across all of 2020 was 3.11%.
Palm Beach County Distressed Sales Stay Low, Reflecting Healthy Market
Only 0.9% of all closed residential sales in Palm Beach County were distressed last month, including REO (bank-owned properties) and short sales, compared to 2.1% in March 2020.
Total Palm Beach County distressed sales decreased 45.8%, from 59 to 32.
Short sales and REOs accounted for 0.1% and 0.8% year-over-year, respectively, of total Palm Beach County sales in March 2021. Short sale transactions decreased 60% year-over-year while REOs decreased 42.9%.
Nationally, distressed sales represented less than 1% of sales in March 2021, down from 3% in March 2020.
Palm Beach County Real Estate Selling Close to List Price
The median percent of original list price received for single-family homes was 97.6% in March 2021, up 2.3% from 95.4% last year. The median percent of original list price received for existing condominiums was 95.5%, up 1.2% from 94.4% last year.
The median number of days between listing and contract dates for Palm Beach County single-family home sales was 18 days, a 59.1% decrease from 44 days last year. The median number of days between the listing date and closing date for condos was 36 days, down 25% from 48 days.
The median time to sale for single-family homes was 63 days, a 28.4% decrease from 88 days last year. The median number of days to sale for condos was 76 days, a 14.6% decrease from 89 days.
National and State Statistics
Nationally, total existing-home sales transactions completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, decreased 3.7% from February to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.01 million in March. Sales overall climbed year-over-year, up 12.3% from a year ago (5.35 million in March 2020).
In March, statewide home sales totaled 32,819, up 23.3% year-over-year, while existing condo-townhouse sales totaled 16,518, up 52.6% over March 2020. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
Nationally, the median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $329,100, up 17.2% from March 2020 ($280,700), as prices increased in every region. March’s national price jump marks 109 straight months of year-over-year gains.
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $327,000 up 18.9% 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 $242,000, up 15.2% 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 Top National Figure
Palm Beach County cash transactions comprised 49.2% of March 2021 total closed sales, compared to 43.8% last year. The national figure for cash buyers is 23%.
Palm Beach County’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 County’s cash purchases as 59.7% of condo closings were made in cash in March 2021 compared to 39.2% of single-family home sales.
Seller’s Market for Single-Family Homes, Balanced Market for Condos
Inventory of single-family homes decreased 56.6% in March 2021 from 6,265 active listings last year to 2,718 last month. Condominium inventory decreased 36.8% to 3,921 from 6,201 listings during the same period in 2020.
Months supply of inventory for single-family homes decreased 57.1% to 1.8 months, which indicates a seller’s market. Inventory for existing condominiums decreased 37% to 3.4 months, which also indicates a seller’s market. A balanced market between buyers and sellers offers between six- and nine-months supply.
Months supply of inventory is down since July 2019 for single-family, reflecting strong demand.
Total active listings at the end of March 2021 decreased 46.7% year-over-year, from 12,466 to 6,639.
New listings of Palm Beach County single-family homes increased 12.4% to 2,144 from 1,908. New listings of condominiums increased 22.7%, from 1,565 to 1,921.
Nationally, total housing inventory at the end of March amounted to 1.07 million units, up 3.9% from February’s inventory and down 28.2% from one year ago (1.49 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.1-month supply at the current sales pace, marginally up from February’s 2.0-month supply and down from the 3.3-month supply recorded in March 2020. Inventory numbers continue to represent near-historic lows; NAR first began tracking the single-family home supply in 1982.
To access March 2021 Palm Beach County 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 101 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 www.MiamiRealtors.com