Palm Beach County's housing market has mostly recovered from its lost decade, as evidenced by seller profits hitting a post-crash high-water mark.
Homeowners who sold during the final three months of 2017 collected an average profit of $66,100, according to data released Thursday by ATTOM Data Solutions, a California research firm.
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Palm Beach County sellers haven't collected such handsome returns since 2007, just before the housing bubble popped. Seller profits peaked in the fourth quarter of 2005, when the typical gain was $129,100, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. In those days of quick profits, the typical Palm Beach County seller held onto a property for less than three years.
Then came the crash, which hit hard. The property market fell to its bleakest point in the first quarter of 2011, when Palm Beach County sellers absorbed an average loss of $88,000.
Since then, home prices have soared, driven by a recovering economy, a strong job market and a lack of new construction.
Palm Beach County's housing market is renewing old concerns about affordability. A low inventory of homes for sale remains a persistent challenge, although rising prices could spur some owners to sell.
“We’re seeing the types of numbers we haven’t seen since before the recession," said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. "If that’s not motivating folks to sell, I’m not sure what will.”
Of course, there's one big practical concern for homeowners: Selling means diving into Palm Beach County's seller's market.
“If you’re a move-up buyer, or even downsizing, it’s difficult to find that new property to purchase," Blomquist said.
As a result, many Palm Beach County homeowners are staying and renovating rather than moving.
Property owners who sold during the fourth quarter had owned for an average of 7.8 years, the longest tenure since ATTOM Data Solutions began tracking the measure in 2000.