Palm Beach County was the Nation’s Hottest Real Estate Market in 2016

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Palm Beach County Real Estate On Fire

In 2016, the Palm Beach County Real Estate market found its way to the top of the country’s list of best housing markets in which to keep your eye. While booming metropolises like San Francisco continue to grow in volume, the demand for luxury homes in South Florida draws people to Palm Beach County and surrounding areas.

According to the Palm Beach Post, the county sees rapid price appreciation, steady population growth, and a healthy job market. They site an analysis conducted by property marketplace Ten-X. Ten-X’s report ranks four Florida markets in the top spots of the 50 U.S. metro areas. Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale join right behind Palm Beach County.

“Palm Beach County’s housing market is scorching,” says the report. “Seasonally adjusted home prices are up 16.8 percent year-over-year, the highest pace in the country.” Tex-X suggests “additional room to run” exists in the market as in 2016 Palm Beach County home values sat 14% below their top value.

Area Statistics

Palm Beach County boasts a population of nearly 1.3 million with 101 schools in the area. The median household income is $53k with our unemployment rate at 4.7%. As of February 2017, Palm Beach County had a vacant home rate of 20.39%. The number of foreclosure filings in the area fell 7% from January 2017 and 18% since February 2016.

Home sales were down 22% in January compared to December 2016. However, this is a typical trend in the calendar year. On the other hand, home sales were down 73% compared to January 2016. Last year, the median price of a home equaled about $232,000. For foreclosures, the median sales price was $168,500; that’s 27% lower than non-distressed homes.

Critiques of Palm Beach County Real Estate

However, not all agencies believe in the Palm Beach County real estate market. The Palm Beach Post quotes Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits saying the 16.8% figure put out by Ten-X is “just not possible.” A Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index report released last year claimed home appreciation in the area ranked somewhere in the middle in the nation’s rankings. Meanwhile, Trulia quoted the appreciation rate at about half of what Ten-X put out to the public.

Meanwhile, Trulia quoted the appreciation rate at about half of what Ten-X put out to the public. The company’s chief economist concurred that Palm Beach County is “strong” but “not the strongest in the greater Miami area or Florida.

Furthermore, Realtor.com’s “hottest market” list excludes the county. Additionally, WalletHub’s 2016 ranking of American cities that attract first-time buyers eliminated all Palm Beach County cities.

Deerfield Beach housing consultant Jack McCabe told the Palm Beach Post the Ten-X report surprised him as other areas in southern Florida create a significant amount of more jobs with higher paychecks.

“It’s the first report I’ve seen in recent times putting Palm Beach County first in the country in housing,” the paper quotes him.

Job Growth & First-Time Buyers

 

The Post suggest job growth in the area contributed to its spot on the Ten-X list. The U.S. Labor Department reported a 3% job growth between the second quarters of 2015 and 2016. However, Palm Beach County saw a job increase of about 1.9%, just behind markets including Broward County and Orlando. In fact, these Florida metropolia areas had a job growth rate of 4.5%.

While the report raised some critiques, sales manager at Century 21 Tenace Realty in Boynton Beach, Henry L. Kaplan, agrees that Palm Beach County sees a lot of entry-level home buyers. Rising rents in the area sparked first-time buyers and people who lost houses in the 2008 crash to consider putting in offers for homes. Kaplan says the market for Palm Beach County homes around $250k or lower is as strong as can be.

“We’ve had people who have been paying more to rent than it costs to own, and they’re deciding it makes sense to buy,” says Kaplan.