April 2024 Market Report – By Amy Snook

April 2024 Market Report – March 2024 Data

Tune in to the news, and you’ll likely catch discussions about the impact of high-interest rates on the real estate scene. However, here in Palm Beach, Florida, nearly 50% of our property transactions are cash-based, painting a different picture from what’s typically portrayed on your evening news. Sellers, take note: while half of our market involves financing, leading to appraisal considerations, pricing remains a crucial factor.

Many inquire or rather assert, that prices are on the decline in Palm Beach County. Contrary to popular belief, our prices have actually risen compared to the same period last year. Interestingly, both median and average prices have increased. It’s worth noting that the average surpasses the median due to the prevalence of higher-end homes in our county.

For those who’ve been following our market reports over recent months, you might recall my mention of a significant rise in inventory from last year, bringing us closer to healthier pre-pandemic levels. However, March 2024 numbers show a decrease in total inventory from the previous month. Why? Although closed sales are up, the rate of new listings entering the market has slowed compared to the prior month of 2024.

We’ve slipped below the $600,000 price point, transitioning back into a seller’s market. Sellers should bear in mind that we still have more inventory than this time last year, meaning competition remains stiff. Hence, pricing, staging, and every detail must be meticulously addressed.

In the $600,000 to $999,000 range, we’re once again in a balanced market, with neither sellers nor buyers holding a significant advantage. Precision in pricing and contract drafting is paramount here, making the choice of your real estate partner more crucial than ever.

In the luxury market, there’s positive news for sellers: we’ve decreased from an average of 12 months of inventory, indicative of a strong buyer’s market earlier in the year, to 8.1 months, slightly favoring buyers. However, many overpriced listings still linger, prompting a reevaluation of comparables and pricing strategies. It might even be time to reassess your listing’s marketing approach, as a scarcity of homes amidst high demand could draw more attention to your property.

We’d be delighted to sit down with you and delve deeper into the current market conditions.

Total months of inventory have decreased across all categories, despite a slowdown in listings, with list prices holding steady.

 

Amy Stark Snook

November 2023 Market Report – By Amy Snook

November 2023 Market Report – October 2023 Data

Our phone has been inundated with inquiries following the recent news release highlighting a significant drop in pending sales, marking the lowest figures in many years. The reports suggest a return to a Seller’s market due to inventory dwindling to 3.2 months, well below the threshold for a balanced market.

However, it’s crucial to recognize that the media’s portrayal is just a snippet of the whole narrative. While their statements may hold some accuracy, they fall short of capturing the complete picture, much of which is positive. I urge caution in accepting media reports as absolute truth. Feel free to reach out to us at any time, allowing us to provide a comprehensive understanding of the real dynamics in our market.

Certainly, pending sales saw a decrease but of only 97 homes in Palm Beach County compared to the previous month (1034 down from 1131). Yet, when considering the same period last year, a more seasonally relevant metric for our market, there is an increase. New listings entering the market have also risen by 11.4% from the corresponding time last year.

Nationally, people have been in a holding pattern, monitoring interest rates, the stock market, and global events. A recent drop in interest rates, coupled with the acknowledgment that these rates are our new reality, has spurred Sellers to act. This might not be universally true, but in our Palm Beach County market, a sought-after destination, the situation is more optimistic than the news suggests.

Cash sales have seen an uptick, our median sales price is on the rise, and although the average sales price has dipped, it’s attributed to the luxury market’s slower pace compared to price points under $1,000,000. Consequently, we now have 10 months of inventory, classifying it as a buyer’s market. However, price points below $1,000,000 remain in the Seller’s market territory with inventory below the 5-7 month range considered balanced.

Despite the prevalence of luxury homes skewing the average, our local real estate market is far from doom and gloom. We’re actively listing and selling homes, employing creative contracts with seller concessions, innovative marketing strategies, and increased investments in open houses and broker events. The palpable surge in activity and enthusiasm in the South Florida market indicates an upward trend, and I eagerly anticipate next month’s report reflecting the impact of our seasonal dynamics.

 

Amy 

 

 

October 2023 Market Report – September 2023 Data – By Amy Snook

 

October 2023 Market Report – September 2023 Data

Inventory in the real estate market, while still lower than pre-pandemic levels, is showing promising signs of improvement. New listings are gradually increasing, resulting in a higher number of active listings at the end of September compared to the beginning of the month. One contributing factor to this positive trend is the decision by the Federal Reserve to hold off on raising interest rates during their last evaluation. As a result, people have adapted to the current interest rate environment, making them more willing to sell their homes and embark on their next real estate ventures.

For those of us immersed in the real estate industry, there is a prevailing sense of optimism, with increased activity from both buyers and sellers. The Amy and Noreen Team, for instance, has been actively engaging in contract negotiations and bringing fresh listings to the market. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that the pricing of listings remains a critical factor in this market. Listings that align with the market’s expectations for the right price tend to attract more showings and offers, leading to faster transactions.

Determining the right price, though, is not straightforward due to the unique circumstances of the past 6 to 9 months. The market did not follow its typical pace during this period. To address this challenge, some real estate professionals have begun looking back two years to identify trends. In certain cases, appraisers are being consulted to establish an appraised value, which then serves as a foundation for pricing strategies. This approach is particularly relevant in the Palm Beach County Luxury Market, where an oversupply of homes, with over 9.6 months of inventory, favors buyers. This has led to numerous price reductions as homes in this segment spend more time on the market compared to properties in other price ranges.

Interestingly, while the total dollar volume of closed sales remains consistent with the same period last year, the number of closed sales has decreased year over year. What’s remarkable is that the average price has risen in recent months, with the median price remaining almost identical to previous months. This indicates that the overall closed sales volume is influenced more by the price point of each sale than by the number of sales. The enduring high demand in Palm Beach County is apparent, but buyers are becoming more discerning, paying close attention to both property quality and pricing. Realtors are consequently investing more in marketing to attract potential buyers, and prospective buyers are actively exploring neighborhoods and attending open houses.

In the sub-$1 million segment, it continues to be a seller’s market.  The local news outlets report a “3-month supply” of inventory at the end of September which would lead you to believe that the seller has an advantage at all price points under the $1 million mark,  It’s essential to remember that these reports often aggregate all price points, which may not accurately represent your specific price range. The sub $600,000 market is at the 3 months of inventory but within the $600,000 to $999,000 range, the months of inventory have reached approximately 4.54, nearing the balanced market threshold of 5 months. In contrast, the luxury market still faces an oversupply, with over 9.6 months of inventory, offering discerning buyers a range of options.

Sellers need to be proactive and thorough when marketing their homes, focusing on staging, curb appeal, competitive pricing, flexibility in showings, open houses, videos, professional photography, advertising, social media promotion, postcards, and other strategies to maximize their property’s exposure. Collaborating with real estate professionals can help tailor a strategy aimed at attracting potential buyers.

 

Amy 

 

Palm Beach County’s September 2023 Market Report – August 2023 Data – By Amy Snook

September 2023 Market Report – August 2023 Data

I came across a report displaying listings nearing expiration and was surprised to see the significant number on this list. In our current real estate market characterized by low inventory and high demand, it’s unexpected to observe numerous listings in Palm Beach County remaining on the market for extended durations, and we are witnessing a resurgence of expired and canceled listings.

This situation is quite surprising in a market where demand consistently surpasses supply. So, what types of properties are actually moving? Interestingly, new constructions and renovated homes seem to be the most popular. From my perspective, homebuilders of new properties seem to be offering incentives to expedite their inventory turnover, while renovated homes present an attractive option for buyers looking for a hassle-free move-in experience. The prospect of construction, especially with soaring costs and challenges in finding reliable trades, appears daunting to many.

The prevailing higher interest rates continue to impact our market, leading to fewer closed sales compared to the previous year. However, intriguingly, the total volume of sales remains nearly identical to that of the same time last year due to the sustained increase in property prices. In fact, both median and average sales prices in Palm Beach County have witnessed an upswing.

Demand remains robust in Palm Beach County, and I suspect this holds true for most of Florida, driven by our favorable tax structure, pleasant weather, and abundant opportunities. Our phones have been constantly ringing with inquiries from prospective buyers seeking very specific properties. Most buyers conduct extensive online research, underscoring the importance of a strong marketing strategy for your listings.

Homes are taking longer to sell, emphasizing the need to adapt listings to stay relevant and noticeable. Although Palm Beach County boasts a higher percentage of cash buyers compared to other regions, pricing remains a critical factor in our price-sensitive market.

To enhance our market conditions, we need an infusion of more inventory and stability in interest rates. In the August market report, it’s evident that properties up to $999,999 are in a clear seller’s market for Palm Beach County homes—an observation consistent with much of the county.

In the luxury single-family home market, properties priced over $1,000,000 are still in a balanced market and teetering on the border of a buyer’s market. The abundance of inventory at this price point underscores the necessity for listings to stand out, both in terms of visibility to agents and appeal to potential buyers through appropriate pricing.

Conversely, the luxury condo market is unequivocally a buyer’s market, facing challenges due to the uncertainty surrounding future assessments for buildings to comply with new statutes affecting many condos close to the coastline.

Despite the challenges, our market has experienced a surge in activity over the past 30 days. We eagerly anticipate forthcoming market reports to observe the positive impact of this upturn in activity.

 

Amy

Palm Beach County’s August 2023 Market Report – July 2023 Data – By Amy Snook

August 2023 Market Report – July 2023 Data

The top question we get from buyers and sellers these days is “when is market pricing going to drop?”  We hear, “they say it’s coming,” every day and my response is the same every time because I have access to the powerhouse of data and, the experience of living in the market.  In my opinion, the Palm Beach County market, barring any major issues such as a pandemic or other catastrophic issue, will not be falling off a cliff anytime soon.

The latest market numbers from July 2023 show a very telling and promising story. Per Dr. Brad O’Conner, Florida Realtors leading economist, our overall housing market has stopped deteriorating although, admittedly, has not started increasing yet.  This matches what we are seeing in the market every day.  When homes are priced right, they sell – and per July data they are selling at 96% of list price.  Of course, homes not properly priced are still on the market which is why we are seeing inventory sitting longer.

Interesting factors to take into consideration are sales prices stayed almost flat (2.2%) from the same time last year, closed sales were down and we are now back to our traditional South Florida seasons, with a quieter summer. Anyone who stayed around this summer will tell you it was quiet with no waiting for a table at our favorite local restaurants.

The reality is that the real estate market, as a whole, is experiencing interest rates that are impacting our market.  As shared last month, the concept of “Marry the house, date the rate” still holds true and people are starting to accept the fact that rates are not coming down any time soon. In fact, cash purchases are down as a percent of total sales which is surprising to many.

In the news this week, I heard a reporter say we are back to a seller’s market with 2.9 months of inventory in Palm Beach County.  I know it’s bad but am going to say “shame on them” – they are not understanding nor properly reporting on our market conditions in PBC. 2.9, which is a seller’s market, applies only to homes under $600,000.  $600K up to one million is boding a balanced market and wait for it…..over $1M is now over the threshold of a balanced market inching towards a buyer’s market.

Sellers and Buyers – it is important that both you and your realtor understand these current trends as it impacts pricing, staging and strategy on your listing as well as offer prices and contract terms for our buyers.

Knowledge is Power! Are you ready to apply this month’s data to help you accomplish your goals? The Amy and Noreen Team welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your specific situation.

 

Amy

Palm Beach County’s July 2023 Market Report – June 2023 Data – By Amy Snook

July 2023 Market Report – June 2023 Data

Results are out from the latest Florida Realtors analysis bringing us some good news for the data of the month of June 2023.

First, it appears that the impact of the interest rate hikes has finally started to settle, and people are starting to get used to the idea that rates are higher for the foreseeable future. Now that we have accepted this new world, people are starting to move forward with their real estate purchases but are adjusting how much they can now buy, potentially putting down more money to keep the loan-to value ratio low and other strategies as we discussed in the past.  Date the rate, Marry the house” as what goes up will eventually come back down and refinancing down the road is most likely a part of many homeownersstrategy.

Second, the gap between this years closed sales and last years closed sales is starting to shrink.  If you recall in my market report from the early part of 2023 it showed a very large differential of closed sales from same time last year.   In fact, if interest rates start to stabilize after this latest increase, it is possible we may surpass 2022 closed sale results for the second half of the year in South Florida.

Third, pre-pandemic times brought a slower real estate market in the summer months, and we are once again experiencing this seasonality.  Summer has been quiet around town but It is once again wonderful to see people taking summer vacations and traveling around the world.

With summer coming to an end, our activity has increased quite substantially in the past few weeks. Public schools reopen next week, and private schools are getting ready for opening just a few weeks away.   Life is coming back to South Florida, and I fully expect the waits to rise in all our local restaurants once again – but again, this is a great problem to have.

We are anticipating the influx of people back to our area will bring a change to the current inventory situation we have been experiencing.

Inventory in the market of $600,000 and below is low but stable as compared to the past few months.It is still a strong sellers market with an average of 2.3 months of inventory.

Inventory in the market $600,000 to $999,000 is 3.25 months which still boosts a strong sellers market; however, inventory has dipped from the past few months.

Our luxury market shows some interesting trends.  First, inventory is down in this category as well but still in a balanced market with neither the seller nor the buyer having an advantage.  Listings are taking longer to sell, and a large percentage of sales happened well below the listed price. Both the median and average sales prices have dropped year over year.

What does all this mean for you as a Buyer or a Seller?

First, Sellers, while inventory is down, one may think that this gives the sellers an advantage. I would say yes, it doesbut only if you price your home right. The buyers sense of urgency and desperation is no longer what we experienced during the pandemic. If your home is priced too high, in this market, it does not typically result in a lower offer, the listing will simply sit. Once a reduction occurs to a price point that the market deems appropriate, then the showings and offers come. Ensure you put your best foot forward regarding staging, pricing and who you partner with to sell your home.  Marketing, advertising, and good old-fashioned sales 101 will make a difference.

Buyers, be patient. There is not a lot of inventory in most price points, so this is a great opportunity to learn about communities and determine where you want to be. This is a market in which we, as Realtors, end up spending a lot of time out in the communities with our clients educating them on the various areas so that when inventory does pick up and there are more choices, our buyers have already narrowed down to the areas they want to live.  This does not mean you cannot get into a home today, simply stating that when they are priced right, they are still going quickly and it most likely will take more time to get you into the right home at the right price.

Selling and buying simultaneously is a challenge in a lower inventory market.   Our suggestion to our Sellers in this situation is to consider selling your home, pocketing the profits and then being free to make an offer when the right one comes along.  Of course, there are other strategies in this scenario and ones that we evaluate on a case-by-case basis with our clients.

Our market is trending in the right direction in most categories, we simply need more inventory and expect to see an increase in this area over the next few months.

Whether you are selling or buying or both, we would love the opportunity to be your real estate partner.

Amy Snook

Amy and Noreen Team of Lang Realty

May 2023 Market Report – April 2023 Data For Palm Beach County – By Amy Snook

May 2023 Market Report – April 2023 Data

I must admit that writing this months’ market report has proven to be one of the most difficult ones yet.   I have written, deleted, rewritten, and come to realize that most of my struggle is coming from the fact that this is, simply put, an “odd” market.  To be clear, it is not a bad market – as Noreen and I are busy every day – but it’s just different.

In doing my monthly research, it’s interesting to note, that there are several different perspectives on today’s market.  Every month preparing for this market report, it takes time to analyze the final numbers from Florida Realtors. Listening to economists and reading articles, I create spreadsheets and bring it all together with a summary for you to read.  This month, each article and report had a very different interpretation and forecast of what is and will be happening in real estate.  Some doom and gloom, others bright and cheery.

As an example, I read an article from a reporter in Boca Raton stating that the market was “a horror” (his take) yet another article was from a real estate organization which touted positive news for our local Palm Beach County market.  And, while in our Lang office the other day listening to agents talk about their businesses -one agent mentioned she had “no buyers” but another agent shared being stressed about managing all the buyers they have.

Personally, from a realtor perspective the analysis is very clear to me.  During the pandemic, many perspective agents entered the market and obtained their real estate license.  They experienced real estate during the height of the pandemic and had tremendous success. We are now faced with a more challenging market and one where we need to create our own leads, spend money on marketing to reach potential sellers and buyers – and from my perspective, this market is not for the faint of heart.  As an FYI we love markets like this when we get to use our unique set of skills.  Different skill sets, different results.

Now, from a real estate market the analysis is not as easy – writing this report, my thoughts come together to realize the conclusion is that results are very localized and more so than typical.  Overall, to a degree, our market is protected from what most of Florida and for that matter the Country, is experiencing.  The valuable lessons learned during the pandemic still hold true.  People want to live a certain lifestyle and Palm Beach County Florida – including Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Palm Beach, Atlantis and more – provides opportunities for this lifestyle whether it be a relocation or a second/vacation home -we have it all.  Results wise we are seeing a divergence of our local market from that of other counties and areas in Florida which is very different from much of the country overall.

To be clear, in every market today it is common to be dealing with the uncertainty of our economy, inflation, rising mortgage rates and upheaval in politics and global uncertainty.  In my opinion the impact of these issues appears to be less impactful in our area than in others.  Overall, cash sales were down; however, the percent of cash sales of total sales locally is significantly higher than other areas at almost 46% of sales being in cash.

Another example of the strength of our market is that most municipalities around the state had a decrease in both the median and the average sales price in the month of April.  In our county, we are up in both categories at $585,000 and $1,015,585 respectfully.

Under the one million price point in Palm Beach, fewer homes closed, fewer listings came on and in most price points under on million, inventory is up from the month prior.  It is still a sellers’ market at all price levels under one million.  Over one million we had fewer closings, less new listings on market but the total inventory did go down bringing the luxury market back towards a more balanced market.

In summary, what does this all mean?   Well, I’m uncertain whether closed sales being down in April is a one-time event or a trend – it is per all reports, taking longer to get transactions closed which could account for the reduction in April results.   We look forward to the June report (May results) to see if our hunch is correct.  In the interim, while we have lower inventory than pre-pandemic, we have higher inventory than the past few years.  So, Sellers – put your best foot forwarded in all aspects and ensure you have the right partners with the right skill set ready, willing, and able to tackle this market.   Buyers, more options, but that does

n’t mean you will not be competing with other buyers for a property.  Align yourself with the savvy agent (s) who are well versed in strategic initiatives.  Any of us on the Amy and Noreen Team would welcome the opportunity to speak with you and show you, firsthand, how to thrive in today’s market as odd as it may be.

Amy

March 2023 Market Report – February 2023 Data For Palm Beach County – By Amy Snook

A client recently asked us to forecast our local real estate market over the next year. My initial thought was to look at the trends that impact our typical real estate market such as supply, demand and inventory. However, in today’s environment there are many other factors to consider such as: interest rates, inflation, the banking crisis, politics, global threats, stock market, etc.. We are currently in and believe will continue to be in for a bumpy ride, simply put, there are too many variables at this time to forecast one year out. Even when running comparables to determine a list price or for a buyer’s offer, we can’t go back even six (6) months to compare as too much has shifted in the market.

From a trends perspective, we are tracking more in line with the pre pandemic (2019) market where we could plan for seasonality and all of the familiar nuances of our Palm Beach county real estate market.

Trends aside, today we are still in a lower inventory market than we were pre pandemic, but of course are almost double where we were just one year ago. New listings in Palm Beach county have slowed, most likely for several reasons:

  1. Many people are locked in a better interest rate for their current home mortgage and if they have to finance their new home, it would be at a higher interest rate.
  2. We realize how great we have it here in Florida – so many residents are simply staying put.
  3. If you sell, where would you go if you are in the under $1,000,000 price point? – inventory is still low.

The good news from the February results just released is that the softening we experienced when the Fed started increasing rates is having less of an impact. Rates on a 30 year fixed loan came down slightly earlier this year and that fueled buyers’ activity once again resulting in an increase of closed sales in February. With more homes being closed but still with a lower number of new listings coming on, this change has shifted our months of inventory at almost all price points below one million.

This shift brings us back to a stronger seller’s market under $600K and a more balanced market up to the one million dollar price point.

Over one million in Palm Beach county continues to remain just under twelve (12) months of inventory making it a strong buyer’s market. However, with low inventory and high demand for the Florida luxury market, our prices have been more stable reducing slightly versus a steep decline.

This month I want to address the condo market in south Florida. By now you have probably read or heard about the upcoming changes to ensure structural integrity and adequate reserves for condos that meet certain criteria such as proximity to the coastline and number of stories in the building. The changes do not fully take effect until December 31st, 2024 however, the impact of the changes are already being felt. The condo market is absolutely going to be a case by case analysis by building – and we as Realtors need to understand what questions to ask so that we can better advise our clients on what to expect from a construction perspective in the building to potential special assessments. It is important that consumers align with Realtors who are versed in these changes and the financial impacts associated. Many current homeowners are faced with increasing dues and current and future special assessments. We are in for a very interesting condo market over the next few years.

Our current market is changing often so analyzing the results is even more critical and breaking out by price point and product (condo versus single family as an example) is essential to providing worthy guidance to our clients. At The Amy and Noreen Team we continue to keep up with the rapidly fluctuating market and are here to help in any way!

 

Amy