Palm Beach County saw fewer home sales and an increase in home prices during the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the same period of the previous year, according to a report released by the Corcoran Group.
While home sales declined slightly by 4 percent across the county, year-over-year, properties spent 16 percent less time on the market, or an average of 72 days, and prices rose by about 11 percent to a median $255,000. “The increase in prices always gets a pushback from buyers,” Bill Yahn, senior regional vice president of Corcoran Palm Beach, told The Real Deal.
Yahn said the year-over-year decrease in sales of single-family homes and condos was “to some extent a function of finishing off short sales and foreclosures.”
West Palm Beach, for example, is in the midst of a renaissance, he said. While year-over-year sales decreased by 3 percent or about 30 homes, days on market dropped from 80 in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 64 in the fourth quarter of 2015. And median prices, like the rest of the county, rose to $175,000 during the same period in 2015 from $145,000 in 2014. Problem properties in West Palm have also been absorbed, Yahn said.
In Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens, the percentage of closed sales rose by 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the townhouse sector of the residential market saw a whopping 18 percent year-over-year increase in sales during the fourth quarter, from 1,161 in 2014 to 1,365 in 2015. “Second-home buyers are learning the hard way that maintenance is pretty killer [for single-family homes], especially in South Florida,” he said. Yahn also attributed part of that growth to new product. Days on the market for townhomes dropped by 11 percent, while the median price during the same time period rose by 9 percent, from $174,000 to $190,200.
County-wide, Palm Beach saw a slight increase in the average price per square foot to $163 for residential sales during the fourth quarter, which he said is usually a slow season for home sales. The report attributed the steep year-over-year jump in average sales price to a handful of pricey sales, including the $31 million sale of a waterfront mansion at 390 North Lake Way.
Yahn said the report shows the county’s residential market is finding its equilibrium. “I think the days of gigantic inflation in real estate has probably stopped,” he said.