THE HOUSE MARKET OVERALL
The MLS data for April for Southeast Florida show a slight increase in selling prices for single family homes in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade county, while Broward county remained stable in volume and prices. Inventory is steady at seven months, very close to the normal range for a balanced market.
But the data raise two questions: with a plethora of short sales and foreclosures available (the latter often not on the MLS), it makes me wonder how small then must the non-distressed inventory be?
And secondly, as everyone has access to the same data set from the MLS, I am not quite sure where some of the exuberant reported data on our regional market in April comes from. Perhaps condos and townhomes? There certainly is activity and even selling price increases (6% m-o-m in Dade, 5% in Palm Beach), but it’s not exactly a firework either.
The overall single family house market in Southeast-Florida in April:
* Houses for sale: 23,241 (–0.2%)
* Inventory: 7 months (no change)
* Median list price: $291,333 (+0.8%)
* Median list price per sf: $142 (no change)
* Houses sold last month: 3126 (–4.6%)
* Median selling price: $178,450 (+3.3%)
* Median selling price per sf: $99 (+3.5%)
Table: all single family homes per SEF-MLS; data per month’s end. Percent changes are month-over-month. – Chart: SFH data Apr 2010 to Apr 2011. Red: median list price, green: median selling price, blue: inventory in months. – Data source: SEF-MLS
THE MODERN HOME MARKET
A much much tighter spot is the modern home market.
That inventory is shrinking weekly – not even monthly – all the while demand for modern architecture is increasing, to a point where I am running out of modern houses in certain price categories.
My database of modern architecture for sale – and I know of and catalogue practically everything that is available – is down to 236 properties in all three counties. This is the lowest it’s ever been since five or six years. In the first three weeks of May alone, there was an inventory drop of 12.7%.
In addition, when a home’s value equation fits a buyer’s expectation, sellers can realise price increases, as the April data show.
So for modernist buyers, it is rather important to be prepared and to be able to react quickly when the right home comes along. Waiting for falling prices and an increasing selection will leave the stragglers on the street, and judging from the inquiries I receive, this situation will get worse as schools start again in August.
Tobias Kaiser is an independent real estate consultant and licensed Realtor in Florida since 1990. He specializes in modern architecture and net leased investments.