There are many variables that make September results interesting! The final results and evaluation of the next few months are going to be critical to really ascertain and give guidance on our Palm Beach County market.
First, the week leading up to now, Ian, as you can imagine, caused a pause in most of Florida’s market – the path of the Hurricane was unclear and therefore most sellers and buyers chose to wait before taking any action on their real estate decisions. Further, for any buyer under contract to close on a home in September, if they had not yet bound their new insurance policy, insurance agents were unable to complete the process therefore causing closings to be delayed. The above skewed, of course, new listings coming on market, buyers going under contract and closings for the month of September.
Another variable, though may also be the trend for our future, is that we are back to season in our market. Historically and prior to our pandemic years, we saw a drop off in summer months and the market did not typically pick back up until we approached our season – October, November timeframe. For the past 3 years or so, we were strong 12 months of the year with many people desperately wanting to relocate or purchase a second home in south Florida. The lifestyle we offer in Palm Beach County fueled the real estate market. With September’s results showing a decrease in almost all categories across the board, we need to wonder if we are back to “seasons” of real estate in Florida or were we simply impacted by the Hurricane.
Yet another aspect is mortgage rates. Cash sales were down again this month which means more people are financing the homes they are buying. With interest rates higher than we have seen in many, many years and the threat of continued increases in those rates, we know that people are looking at lower price points than they did one year ago, and others are simply not able to purchase or purchase what they want and are holding off for now.
All three (3) of the above variables impacted our September results, we will be closely monitoring the next few months to really ascertain whether we are back to prepandemic market seasons and how much the interest rate will impact our unique market.
With all of that said, Noreen and I had a very busy September with both listings and buyers going under contract. I share that because I do think it is worth mentioning – when homes are priced properly, and buyer expectations are also set upfront – homes move. People still want to sell and people still want to buy but realistic expectations are critical and the market is clearly indicating this fact.
In EVERY price point which we evaluated, months of inventory crept up by at least one month – $600- $900 and then $1,000,000 and up – is officially in a balanced market – for $1,000,000 we are actually approaching (on the cusp) a buyer’s market – but from a recommendation perspective of our team – we caution anyone to get too confident and treat the $1,000,000 and up price point as a balanced market. Too many factors impacted September results to change strategy at this point; however, we currently have the most inventory at every price point over any month in 2022.
I hesitate to share specific numbers as almost ¼ of our month was impacted by the Hurricane (Ian) and we don’t feel that these numbers are truly an indication of where our Palm Beach market truly stands – cash sales down, median and average price points down, new listings and new pending are down as well and inventory was up almost 68% from this time last year.
All of the above said, we are extremely confident that our market is still very, very attractive and is a highly sought-after place to live, work and play. While this month we experienced a shift, we believe it was a temporary shift (as to the degree of which we shifted). We will not continue, at this time, to see unsustainable growth in price points but we will see properties moving at price points higher than the pre-pandemic times.
Our greatest advice in this market, choose your real estate partner wisely😊