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Evans housing analysis: Sellers’ market hits stride

Posted On: 10-05-2014

By Darrell Hofheinz Daily News Staff Writer

Single-family home sales during the first half of the year lagged behind the same period in 2013, a new Palm Beach analysis shows. But prices were up, reflecting a competitive market where housing inventory remained tight and buyers were willing to fork over more dollars to get what they wanted.

So confirms the latest Evans Report prepared by Palm Beach real estate attorney and property owner Leslie R. Evans.

“It’s a sellers’ market,” Evans said. “It’s supply and demand — simple as that.

”The report also demonstrates how prices have surged during the economic recovery. Overall, he said, median prices fetched by single-family properties during the first half were the second highest of any year since 1991, when his eponymous law firm began tracking sales. The exception was 2008, which marked the tail end of the island’s real estate boom. Most observers say the slowdown began in earnest in December of that year.

On the condominium scene for the first half of this year, the sales picture was more robust than for single-family sales. The report shows that 221 condos sold at a median price of $485,000. During the same period last year, in contrast, 211 condos changed hands, and the median price was $460,000.

Comparing the second-quarter figures alone, more condos changed hands this year than last – 145 vs. 138. But the median price was down, from $600,000 to $540,000. The median is the price at which half sold for more and half for less.

Single-family propertiesA total of 105 single-family properties — including houses, townhouses and vacant lots — sold during the first half. That compares to 114 in the same months of 2013. But homes that changed hands fetched more for their sellers: The median price buyers paid was $2.95 million, compared to last year’s $2.53 million, according to the report released last week.

At the top of the sales scale, 16 single-family properties sold for $10 million or more during the first six months of this year – a hike over the same period in 2013, when just nine homes moved in that category.

Moving down the report’s price scale, fewer single-family properties traded in the middle ranges during the first half of this year versus the same period last year. This year, sales of 18 single-family properties recorded at prices between $5 million and $10 million between Jan. 1 and June 30; there were 23 in the same period of 2013.

Likewise, the number of properties that fetched less than $5 million fell from 82 last year to 73 this year for the periods covered in the report.

During the second quarter of this year, the median price of the 64 houses that changed hands was $2.975 million. In the same quarter last year, 78 houses sold at a median price of $2.44 million.

Following longstanding trends, more houses sold in the second quarter than in the first, as buyers who had shopped the market during the height of the season closed on their purchases as summer approached.

“The numbers are going up, and the prices are much stronger than what they were,” said Cappy Abraham, real estate broker and Palm Beach Board of Realtors president. “We could use more products to accommodate the high-end buyers who are back in full force.

”Condo salesMore condos sold this year at better prices than last year in almost all categories during the first and second quarters. Five condo sales recorded at more than $3 million this year, compared to four sales last year.

And sales were up in other price categories. During the first half of the year, there were 47 sales recorded at prices between $1 million and $3 million. During the same period the year before, there were just 36 of those sales.

The change in numbers was less dramatic for condos that sold for less than $500,000 — the report shows 169 such sales in the first half of this year versus 171 last year.

Evans and his son, attorney Jason Evans, compile the report using data from public records, media reports and multiple listing services. The analysis differs from others prepared or commissioned by real estate agencies, which solely analyze MLS data. As a result, the latter typically don’t include off-the-market sales, Evans said.

 

Source: Darrell Hofheinz, October 5, 2014, Palm Beach Daily News

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