By: Paul Owers
Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Date: November 25, 2008
Bargain hunters continue to respond to plunging prices, with October sales of existing homes in Palm Beach County rising 37 percent, to 618 from 450 a year ago, the Florida Association of Realtors said Monday. The median price plummeted 24 percent, to $264,600 from $348,300 last October.
Sales have shot up since July, but that doesn’t mean the region’s nearly 3-year-old housing slump is ending, analysts say.
The October figures reflect home sales contracts signed during the summer, before the financial free-fall on Wall Street. And prices are expected to keep dropping as long as the foreclosure problem persists.
Distressed properties are popular among people trying to buy now.
Roger Palermo, a building maintenance supervisor for the city of Pompano Beach, said he looked at almost 50 houses. Many needed new roofs and other major repairs. And most were foreclosures or short sales, in which lenders take less than what’s owed on the mortgages and forgive the remaining debt.
Overwhelmed with properties, some banks wouldn’t consider Palermo’s offers for three months or longer. One lender came back with a counter offer higher than the asking price.
Earlier this month, Palermo and his fiancee finally bought a two-bedroom house in Boca Raton Click here for restaurant inspection reports after the previous owner’s death. They paid $225,000, $34,000 less than the asking price.
“At least 75 percent of the homes for sale are either foreclosures or short sales and need a lot of work,” said Palermo, 48. “But it’s hard because you can’t even get answers from the banks.”
In Broward County, October sales increased 46 percent, while the median price dropped 29 percent to $252,500.
Statewide, sales increased 15 percent last month, while the median price fell 24 percent to $169,700, the Realtors’ group said.
Nationally, sales fell 3.1 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million units. The median sales price sank 11.3 percent from a year ago, to $183,000.
That was the largest year-over-year drop on records dating back to 1968 and the lowest median sales price since March 2004. The median means half sold for more, half for less.
Back in South Florida, the recent sales momentum is helping to reduce the number of properties on the market.
But demand still is lagging. It takes longer to sell a house in South Florida, an average of 172 days, than anywhere else in the nation, according to an October housing report from California real estate firms Altos Research and Real IQ.
“The inventory news is starting to get a little better, but the question is, how much more pressure are we going to get from new foreclosures that come on the market?” said Mike Larson, a housing analyst with Weiss Research in Jupiter.
Regardless, real estate agents here are enjoying the renewed interest among buyers, many of whom are coming from the Northeast.
“We’re hoping for a really cold winter up north,” joked Pamela Orr, an agent in Palm Beach and Broward counties. “If it’s priced right, people are buying.”
For further information or if you wish to see your property featured here.
Please Contact:The Smiths – Luxury Resort Portfolio at
Luxury Resort Portfolio
Estate Specialists Representing Both Buyers And Sellers
All information is derived from the Palm Beach County Property Appraisers website and the MLS.