- Jeff Ostrowski Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
The typical price of a Palm Beach County house sold in November was $330,000, down a bit from summertime highs but up 10 percent from a year ago.
Realtors sold 1,243 houses in November, a total that was little changed from the previous month or from November 2016, the Realtors of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale said Wednesday.
With little new construction over the past decade and owners staying in their homes longer, the inventory of houses for sale remains tight. There are just over 7,000 houses for sale in Palm Beach County, a 4.9-month supply.
“If you are a seller, now is the time to list your property, as there is less competition from competing sellers,” said Jeffrey Levine, president-elect of the Realtors of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale.
The pace of sales slowed a bit after a scorching summer. Palm Beach County houses that sold in November were on the market for 57 days before going to contract. In July, houses needed just 37 days to find a buyer.
Entry-level houses are still moving fast. Single-family homes priced at $200,000 to $250,000 needed just 34 days to find a buyer. By contrast, mansions priced at $1 million and over sat for 201 days before going to contract.
The condo and townhouse market showed similar trends. The median price of condos and townhouses sold in November was $172,000, a bit below levels earlier in the year but up 7.5 percent from a year ago.
Condos priced at $150,000 to $200,000 were the hottest movers. Units in that price range went under contract in just 37 days. Condos priced at $1 million and up needed nearly a year to find a buyer.
Some Realtors say Palm Beach County remains attractive to buyers relocating from more expensive areas.
Maryland Realtor Creig Northrop recently opened Northrop Realty on Datura Street in downtown West Palm Beach. His strategy: Many of his clients who sold houses in Maryland were moving to Palm Beach County. Rather than turn the buyers over to another brokerage, he decided to follow them here.
“One out of every three sellers moved to Florida,” Northrop said. “It’s an absolutely amazing thing.”
The federal tax package set to take effect in 2018 will only make Florida more attractive, he said. Changes championed by President Donald Trump will boost the standard deduction but limit the deductibility of state and local taxes to $10,000, reducing a valuable break for residents of high-tax states.
“It’s going to push more people out of Maryland down to Florida,” Northrop said.
Nationally, home sales climbed to their highest level since 2006, the peak of the housing bubble. Sales volumes hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.81 million in November, the National of Realtors said Wednesday, the swiftest pace since December 2006’s 6.42 million.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun credited the combination of a growing economy, a booming stock market and improving job opportunities.
Meanwhile, the U.S. housing market is in a severe supply squeeze that’s pushing prices up. Nationally, there was just a 3.4-month supply of homes for sale, an invetory Yun called “staggeringly low.”