Broward Home Prices Up Slightly In January Palm Beach County Down

Dated: February 25 2015

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It wasn't much, but Broward County's median home price rose slightly in January — while Palm Beach County's slipped.

In Palm Beach County, the median price of $273,750 fell less than 1 percent from a year earlier, but sales rose 15 percent, to 1,037 from 905, the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches said.

After robust increases in 2013 and early 2014, price gains have slowed to single digits in Broward over the past nine months, while Palm Beach County's median has dipped year over year in five of the past six months.

But South Florida broker Stephen B. McWilliam said he isn't worried, pointing out that values can't keep shooting up without affordability becoming a major problem. Historically, home prices appreciate at 3 percent to 4 percent a year.

McWilliam insists the market is healthy and doesn't foresee anything that would lead to a large, sustained downturn.

"There's nothing occurring in the market to cause that kind of trauma," he said.

Mike Larson, an analyst for Weiss Research in Jupiter, attributes the softening to early investors pulling out now that bargain pricing has largely disappeared.

"The figures aren't awful or anything," Larson said. "They're just reflective of a market where the investor bid is cooling off and demand is being driven more by a core buyer."

Meanwhile, many South Florida homeowners are gearing up for the traditional spring selling season, when families with children tend to buy because they want to get settled for the next school year.

Marta DuPree, a broker with the Keyes Co. in Broward and Palm Beach counties, expects a good spring season because she said demand is steady. While homes generally are staying on the market longer than they did a year ago, DuPree said she had two recent listings attract offers within a few days.

"If the homes are priced where the market is, they're going to sell," she said.

The median price is a midpoint; half the homes in a given month sold for more and half for less. Individual home values don't necessarily mirror increases or decreases in the median price.

In the existing condominium sector, Broward's median sale price in January was $121,250, up 3 percent from a year ago. Palm Beach County's condo median of $130,000 was 11 percent higher than January 2014.

Both counties posted small declines in condo sales as fewer units were bought with cash. Cash condo purchases also dropped statewide.

"This shows the impact of a strengthening dollar on foreign demand, as well as the continuing decline in market participation by volume investors," John Tuccillo, chief economist for Florida Realtors, said in a statement.

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Angelo F. Terrizzi Jr.

I am a New England native, born and raised in the Boston area. Growing up, I was always involved with extra-curricular activities through school and church. I spent 30+ years in Business and later in ....

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