Palm Beach County home prices rising, especially in Greenacres

For homeowners seeking rapid price appreciation, Greenacres is the place to be.

The city of Greenacres was the hottest housing market in Palm Beach County over the past year, according to the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. Prices of houses and condos soared 39 percent, to a median of $149,750 in August, and homes typically were snapped up just four weeks after hitting the market.

Greenacres’ mini-boom reflects the affordability crunch that’s squeezing the region’s property market, housing experts say.

“For those who are just entering the market for the first time, Greenacres is a nice fit,” said Neil Picart, an agent at ERA Home Run Real Estate in suburban Lake Worth. “The prices are reasonable compared to the rest of Palm Beach County. And it doesn’t have that negative connotation that it did a few years back.”

The median price of a house sold in Palm Beach County in August was $315,000, down slightly from July but up 7 percent from a year ago, the Realtors Association said Thursday. For condos and townhouses, the median price was $160,000, up 16 percent from a year ago.

Sales also picked up. In August, 1,683 houses changed hands, up 12 percent from August 2015. Condo sales rose 3 percent.

Greenacres wasn’t the only hot market in Palm Beach County. In West Palm Beach, the median price jumped 37.9 percent, going from $140,000 in August 2015 to $193,000 in August 2016.

In other cities, including Lake Worth, Lantana and Palm Springs, prices were essentially flat over the past year.

Countywide, a lack of entry-level homes for sale remains a challenge.

“There’s still a bit of frustration with not enough choices at lower prices,” said Douglas Rill, owner of Century 21 America’s Choice Realty.

Rill has been advising buyers to forget bargain hunting and opt instead for what he calls “aggressive pricing.” He says a client recently was one of three bidders on a $350,000 property. After sweetening the bid by $5,000, Rill’s client landed the deal.

“You don’t have to be that much better,” Rill said. “In a horse race, you don’t need to win by a quarter-mile. You just need to win by a nose.”

For frustrated buyers, there may be some relief in sight. Palm Beach County inventory rose 6 percent compared to a year ago, Realtors say.

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