Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Today's Offer is Going to Be the Best Offer

Housing Prices Have Hit 2004 Levels

The offer you receive today is most likely going to be the best offer you are going to get for a very long time. Michelle Meyer, an economist at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in New York, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television "In terms of prices, we don't think we'll see a bottom until the end of next year."

The number of closed transactions are slightly up from 2007 to 2008. According to the Florida Association of Realtors press release on Monday, Palm Beach County had 652 sales in July, that number is up 8 percent from 605 sales a year ago. The median price of home in Palm Beach County is currently $291,300 falling 22 percent from $372,200 a year ago.

South Florida Sellers are having an extremely difficult time coming to terms with the hard reality that their properties are no longer valued at what they thought their properties should be. Buyers actively searching for a home are aware the market is in their favor and are quite verbal that there is a massive amount of inventory to select from and that price is their motivation!

In the Luxury Real Estate Market, Sellers are slowly and painfully accepting that what is happening elsewhere at lower price points is also "trickling up" to their unique market. Fewer Buyers are purchasing second homes in this volatile economy, financing is harder to secure, purchasing homes for cash is a thing of the past, and rising country club dues and fees are becoming less and less attractive. We are noticing that the younger, wealthier Buyers are choosing to go into more moderate priced homes or gated communities to gain "more house for their money". The appeal of moving into the fancy, very expensive gated golf community has lost a lot of its luster in the last couple of years.

Mike Pappas, head of The Keyes Co. in Miami, said Palm Beach County's price plunge shows buyers are demanding bargains. "The only way you're going to move a property today is because of price," Pappas said. "You're seeing that reflected in the numbers."

Pappas and others say property owners shouldn't expect the value of their homes to rise much more than the rate of inflation, which hovered at about 3 percent a year during the boom. "The market is taking the excesses out and penalizing us to get back to the normal, historic appreciation trend," Pappas said. "It's a painful process."

For months, Realtors have been noticing that that their phones are beginning to ring with calls from eager buyers and the number of showings have also increased. Realtors have all been hoping that the end might be in sight soon. But more skeptical observers say prices have further to fall before they're affordable and attractive to Buyers. "We've been saying prices were going to go back to 2003 levels," said Jack McCabe, a housing analyst based in Deerfield Beach. "Now, I'm starting to think it may be even worse than that." McCabe pointed to the glut of homes on the market, and he said prices remain out of reach.

What's more, he expects the flood of foreclosures to continue to hurt home values. "We've probably seen only 30 percent of the foreclosures we're going to see over the next few years," McCabe said. The number of sales in Palm Beach County rose slightly to 652 in July, up 8 percent from a year ago but down 12 percent from the previous month.

Home prices in Palm Beach County have plunged to a four-year low in July, only to raise new questions about just how much farther can property values fall. The last time the median home price in Palm Beach County was $300,000 it was May 2004, when property values were in the middle of their stratospheric rise. Late 2005, when Palm Beach County real estate was the hottest investment this side of Google, home prices have dropped 30 percent. "It's a massive dip over the past couple years, there's no two ways about it," said John Mike, president of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. "The buying public is unnerved about what's been happening in the general economy."

The median condo price in Palm Beach County was $152,300, down 15 percent from a year ago. The number of sales jumped 16 percent.

The national housing market continued to struggle, too, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. The national median existing-home price was $212,400 in July, down 7.1 percent from a year ago, when the median was $228,600. Home sales, however, rose 3.1 percent.

Sales of existing homes in the South tumbled 18 percent in July from a year ago, while the median price fell 3.5 percent to $179,300.


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The Smiths - Luxury Resort Portfolio


The information herein is believed to be accurate but not guaranteed and may be subject to errors, omissions and changes without notice. This is not to be construed as a solicitation of property presently listed for sale. All information is derived from the Palm Beach County Property Appraisers website and the MLS.