Sales in PB’s estate section on fire, jack up prices

New BHS report proves county is out of recession, agent says

Nov.November 01, 2013 12:00 PM

Mansions in Palm Beach’s affluent estate section are selling like hotcakes — nearly double the number in the past six months — and the pricey deals are driving up the average single-family home price to nearly $5 million, a new report shows.

Sixteen homes sold from April to September, a 78 percent jump from the nine that sold during the same period in 2012, according biannual numbers from Brown Harris Stevens brokerage. In the Midtown section, the number of sales skyrocketed from 17 to 33 — 94 percent, the data showed. Overall sales rose from 83 to 113, or 36 percent.

The increase in Estate Section sales pushed the average single-family price up 19 percent, from $3.98 million to $4.7 million. The previous report, over a six-month period ending in March, showed average prices jumped because of estate sales during the period, which climbed 375 percent, from four to 19.

The median single-family price hit $2.5 million, up 5 percent from $2.37 million.

Other markets saw double-digit increases, too. The median closing price for condominiums increased 10 percent – from $400,000 to $440,330. For townhouses, the median per-square foot asking price was up 13 percent, from $469 to $758.

“We’re a barrier island, so we stayed in the recession for a while and didn’t come out,” Ana Van de Water, executive vice president and agent at Brown Harris Stevens, told The Real Deal. “On paper, this is proof we are out.”

The Palm Beach County property appraiser has predicted that prices will climb in the low double-digits for the rest of the year and Van de Water described the projection as “a very healthy increase.”

To Van de Water, the most surprising figure in the report is the average days on market in the Estate Section: 254, a 108 percent jump from last year’s 122. Overall, the average days on market increased a modest 20 percent – to 241 days from 201.

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