MIAMI — Palm Beach County total home sales, dollar volume and luxury ($1-million-and-up) transactions increased year-over-year in March 2020, according to the MIAMI Association of Realtors (MIAMI) and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.
“Palm Beach County real estate posted continued its recent market trend with another strong month in March,” JTHS-MIAMI President David Abernathy said. “While the impact of COVID-19 on the South Florida real estate market is difficult to predict, the solid foundation of the housing market going into the current situation should minimize the impact. We have record low delinquencies, no subprime mortgage crisis, strong demand/low supply, low interest rates, strong population growth, demand from foreign buyers and tax refugees from tax burdened states, high consumer confidence, very strong job market, etc.”
Palm Beach County Total Home Sales Rise 4%
Total Palm Beach County home sales increased 4% year-over-year, from 2,726 to 2,836. Palm Beach single-family home sales rose 2.2%, from 1,521 to 1,554. Palm Beach condo sales increased 6.4%, from 1,205 to 1,282.
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 stayed even at 353 transactions. Palm Beach condos priced between $400K to $600K registered a 52.9% rise in sales to 104 transactions.
In the luxury market, Palm Beach single-family homes priced above $1 million rose 25.5% to 138 transactions. Palm Beach condos priced above $1 million increased 28.6% to 72 transactions.
Single-family home dollar volume increased 14%, from $833.2 million to $949.5 million. Condo dollar volume increased 7.7%, from $423.5 million to $456.1 million.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 3.45% in March, down from 3.47% in February. 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 5.7% in March 2020, increasing from $350,000 to $370,000. Existing condo prices increased 13.7%, from $175,000 to $199,000.
Palm Beach Distressed Sales Stay Low, Reflecting Healthy Market
Only 2.1% of all closed residential sales in Palm Beach were distressed last month, including REO (bank-owned properties) and short sales, compared to 3.2% in March 2020.
Total Palm Beach distressed sales decreased 31.4%, from 86 to 59.
Short sales and REOs accounted for 0.4% and 1.7%, respectively, of total Palm Beach sales in March 2020. Short sale transactions decreased 9.1% year-over-year while REOs decreased 34.7%.
Nationally, distressed sales represented 3% of sales in March, up from 2% in February, and unchanged from 3% in March 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 44 days, a 29% decrease from 62 days. The median number of days between the listing date and closing date for single-family homes was 88 days, down 13.7% from 102 days.
The median time to contract for condos was 48 days, a 5.9% decrease from 51 days last year. The median number of days between the listing date and closing date for condos was 89 days, down 2.2% from 91 days.
The median percent of original list price received for single-family homes was 95.4%. The median percent of original list price received for existing condominiums was 94.4%.
National and State Statistics
Nationally, total existing-home sales transactions dropped 8.5% from February to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million in March. Despite the decline, overall sales increased year-over-year for the ninth straight month, up 0.8% from a year ago (5.23 million in March 2019).
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 26,611 last month, 6.4% higher than March 2019, according to Florida Realtors. Florida’s condo-townhouse market totaled 10,823, up 4.7% 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 March was $280,600, up 8.0% from March 2019 ($259,700), as prices increased in every region. March’s national price increase marks 97 straight months of year-over-year gains.
Statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties in March rose year-over-year for 99 consecutive months. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $275,000, up 7.4% 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 $210,000, up 10.8% 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 43.8% of March 2020 total closed sales, compared to 45.1% last year. Palm Beach cash transactions are more than double the national figure (19%).
Condominiums comprise a large portion of Palm Beach cash purchases as 57.2% of condo closings were made in cash in March compared to 32.8% of single-family home sales.
Seller’s Market for Palm Beach Real Estate
Inventory of single-family homes decreased 21.3% in March from 7,959 active listings last year to 6,265 last month. Condominium inventory decreased 8.2% to 6,756 from 6,201 listings during the same period in 2019.
Months supply of inventory for single-family homes decreased 26.3% 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 March decreased 15.3% year-over-year, from 14,715 to 12,466.
New listings of Palm Beach single-family homes decreased 11.2% to 1,908 from 2,148. New listings of condominiums decreased 11.4%, from 1,766 to 1,565.
Nationally, total housing inventory at the end of March totaled 1.50 million units, up 2.7% from February, but down 10.2% from one year ago (1.67 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace, up from three months in February and down from the 3.8-month figure recorded in March 2019.
To access March 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 staging.miamirealtors.com