Number of houses for sale in Palm Beach County plunges
The supply of homes for sale in Palm Beach County, Fla., is falling sharply, a trend that could create upward pressure on prices.
The inventory of homes listed with Realtors plunged 21% in January compared to January 2019, according to the Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors.
Just 6,347 houses were on the market last month, barely a 4-month supply, Realtors said Friday. Housing economists consider anything less than a 6-month supply to be a seller's market.
The typical Palm Beach County house sold by an agent traded for $363,000 in January, down from $364,000 in December. That represents a jump of 6.8% from January 2019.
Meanwhile, home sales rose to 1,094, a 29% spike from January 2019, Realtors said.
Fewer homes are on the market in part because landlords have been snapping up single-family homes over the past decade. In another shift, Palm Beach County residents are staying put longer. Rather than moving every five years or so, they're renovating and remaining.
The average length of homeownership for South Floridians who sold their homes last year was longer than eight years, according to Attom Data Solutions. That's more than double the average tenure of less than four years in 2007.
In a time of record-low unemployment, record-high stock prices and microscopic mortgage rates, the housing market has stood out as an economic soft spot. However, low loan rates mean buyers' dollars go further. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said this week that the average cost of a 30-year mortgage was 3.49%.
In Palm Beach County's condo and townhouse market, inventory also is falling. The number of units for sale fell 10% compared to January 2019, Realtors said.
Nationally, housing inventory stands at its lowest level since 1999, the National Association of Realtors said Friday.
"Significantly more inventory and home construction are needed at the affordable price points" NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement.
Palm Beach County home prices remain well below their record highs. In November 2005, the median house price hit an all-time high of $421,500.