South Florida home sales plunge, prices in flux in the fourth quarter

In towns like Palm Beach, on-market sales fell, but a number of deals were off-market

(Getty; Illustration by The Real Deal)

Residential sales continued spiraling downward across South Florida, as mortgage rates stayed high compared to their pandemic lows, and housing prices fluctuated, according to Douglas Elliman’s fourth quarter reports.

Jonathan Miller, who authors the quarterly Douglas Elliman reports, is adamant that the annual declines in sales aren’t telling the full picture. Miller instead likes to compare recent sales and pricing statistics to 2019.

“There is a disconnect in what’s happening in using the year-over-year comparisons,” said Miller, of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. “2021 was such an outlier in performance that anything against it looks like a collapse or significant decline.”

Across the board, on-market home and condo sales experienced significant annual drops in sales in the fourth quarter. Though prices rose in some markets, they stayed flat or fell in others, the reports show. Inventory also grew, but Miller notes that it’s still low compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The combination of a rush of inventory absorbed at the peak of the market, bidding wars driving up pricing, migration patterns shifting, and, of course, mortgage rates surging, have driven the slowdown over the past nine months or so. Many would-be sellers are also “wedded” to their low rates and are less likely to sell, Miller added.

“I hate people who say this time it’s different, but this time it’s different.”

Miami coastal mainland

Residential sales declined 42 percent in the fourth quarter, year-over-year, to 3,135 closings in the coastal areas of mainland Miami-Dade County, which include Greater Downtown Miami, Coconut Grove, Palmetto Bay and other neighborhoods. The median sale price rose about 14 percent to $500,000, but stayed flat quarter-to-quarter.

Nearly 1,400 single-family sales closed, down 36.5 percent, year-over-year. The median sale price of houses also stayed flat on a quarterly basis, but rose 8 percent annually to $605,000. Listing inventory grew by about 70 percent to 2,344 listings.

Condo sales dropped to 1,763 closings, a 45 percent decline. The median price rose 17 percent annually to $355,000, and increased slightly on a quarterly basis, as price growth slows across the region. About 3,300 condos were on the market by the end of the fourth quarter, marking a 19.5 percent year-over-year increase in listing inventory.

Miami Beach and the barrier islands

Residential sales dropped 49 percent to 842 closings in the fourth quarter on the barrier islands of Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, Fisher Island, Golden Beach, Indian Creek, Key Biscayne, North Bay Village, Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside. The median sale price fell 8 percent, year-over-year, to $510,000, and also fell 7 percent compared to the previous quarter.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Single-family home sales declined 68 percent annually to 55. The median sale price for single-family houses rose about 36 percent to $3.5 million, and inventory also grew, up 81 percent to 380 listings.

Nearly 800 condo sales closed, down 47 percent, year-over-year. The median sale price fell less than 1 percent, down to $469,000. Compared to the third quarter, the median price fell 9 percent. Inventory of condos dropped 6 percent to nearly 2,600 listings.

Fort Lauderdale

Single-family home sales in Fort Lauderdale totaled 344 closings, a 41 percent annual decrease. The median price also declined, falling about 6 percent to $540,000, and remaining about flat quarter-to-quarter. Listing inventory also grew, up 87 percent to 677 closings.

Condo sales dropped 44 percent to 409 closings. About 680 condos were on the market, a more than 50 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, and up 21 percent quarter-to-quarter.

West Palm Beach

In West Palm Beach, single-family home sales decreased 39 percent, year-over-year, to 351 closings, according to the reports. The median sale price grew, up 13 percent annually and 3 percent quarterly, to $475,000.

Condo sales fell 42.5 percent annually to 482. The median price of condos in West Palm Beach rose 18 percent to $230,000, and up about 5 percent quarterly. Listing inventory grew 108 percent to 584 closings.

Palm Beach

The Palm Beach market remains tight, despite annual declines in sales. The median price in Palm Beach for single-family homes rose nearly 50 percent, year-over-year, to $12.7 million, and about the same percentage compared to the third quarter.

The number of closed sales dropped 68 percent, but that percentage appears misleading because only six on-market home sales closed. A number of deals were off-market in Palm Beach, according to The Real Deal’s reporting.

Listing inventory of single-family homes grew 30 percent to 48 by the end of the fourth quarter.

Condo sales in Palm Beach declined 55 percent annually to 28 closings. Inventory rose 80 percent to 133 listings. The median sale price of condos grew 32 percent to $1.3 million.