- By Jeff Ostrowski Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Palm Beach County home sales bounced back a bit in August, a month when the median sale price of a house rose to $340,000, up a bit from July’s $336,000.
That made August’s median home price the second-highest since the real estate crash. June’s median price of $345,000 was the high-water mark.
The number of home sales in Palm Beach County fell in August to 1,550, down nearly 8 percent from a year ago but up slightly from July, the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale said Wednesday.
Realtors blamed a combination of tight inventories and affordability challenges. The number of homes for sale fell slightly from a year ago, and there was just a 4.6-month supply of inventory, reflecting a market that favors sellers over buyers.
“Homes are continuing to sell quickly, though tight inventory is putting pressure on rising median prices and creating affordability challenges for many first-time buyers,” said Florida Realtors President Maria Wells, a broker in Stuart.
Sellers of entry-level houses command strong interest in their properties. The typical home priced at $200,000 to $300,000 found a buyer in 36 days.
However, the mansion market is languishing. Homes priced at more than $1 million needed 139 days to sell.
While house sales declined in August, deals for condos and townhouses increased. There were 1,165 sales of condos and townhouses in August, up nearly 5 percent from a year ago.
While condo and townhouse prices jumped 9 percent over the past year, the median price of $175,000 remained about half the price of a typical house.
As Palm Beach County continues its uneven recovery from the Great Recession, home prices still remain well below record levels. During the housing bubble, the county’s median resale price peaked at $421,500 in November 2005 (a sum, that if adjusted for inflation, equates to $523,716 in today’s dollars). Within a few years, the median price had crashed to less than $200,000.
Palm Beach County’s housing market has yet to return to pre-bubble patterns. For instance, construction of entry-level homes has ground to a near-halt during the past decade.