Then, along came the biggest pandemic our generation has ever experienced, and the game changed, rather quickly, and rather dramatically, As of May 1st, here in the Northern Palm Beaches, pending home sales are down again for the 2nd month in a row. For what historically is our busiest season of the year, this is big news. Pending home sales in the area fell another 26% during April and sit at the lowest numbers we have seen on this day in well over a decade. We have not seen lower pending home sales on any day since January of 2019.
Sales have slowed, however they certainly have not stopped. In fact, during the month of April, 232 homes have been placed under contract here in the Northern Palm Beaches. If anyone tells you the local real estate market is dead, they aren’t looking at the facts. Even better news, is the fact that 70% of these contracts were written over the past two weeks. The market is picking up slowly, as we see businesses and amenities starting to open back up in the area. The big shutdown of 2020 is not over, but we are starting to see things get better.
Even more encouraging is, so far, median home prices have not been affected. As of April 15th, median condo prices in the Jupiter area sat at the highest levels we had seen in 14 years and over the past two weeks those numbers have held. As of April 1st, median single family home prices sat at all time highs and at this point only appear to have pulled back slightly during the month.
That being said, we are certainly not out of the woods yet. There is a large percentage of the population that want to keep the country on lock down and people are still being attacked by this virus. As of this morning, the numbers in America show that over a million people have been affected, with almost 64,000 of our citizens losing their lives. Just yesterday, another 2,200 people tragically lost their battle with this horrible disease. It’s a terrible, terrible thing and there are no easy answers.
Going forward there is certainly a risk to real estate and Jupiter home sales. To me, it would be more than a bit surprising if there was not at least some downward pressure on pricing in the months ahead. We have missed our season, and while there is certainly some pent up demand, overall sales for the year are going to be down. While the economy was booming just 60 days ago, there are still many questions of how, and when, things will start to pick up real meaningful steam. I am not an economist, but it sure feels like a recession is firmly in place and we need to get everyone back to work as quickly as possible.
As far as home prices, there is good news in some of the metrics, as interest rates are down again this week to the lowest levels we have seen in years. Loan approvals and underwriting are becoming more and more stringent, but if you can get past those hurdles money is as cheap as it has ever been. Even more meaningful, is inventory levels remain at the lowest levels we have seen on May 1st since before the real estate bubble of 2005/2006 and the world discovering Jupiter as a premier destination. Inventory was down again during April and currently 13.4% below last years numbers. Buyers have few good options and this should help provide a crutch from prices falling too far. There still isn’t much good stuff on the shelf.
One thing is certain, if you are even thinking about buying, or selling real estate, in this new and ever changing market, you darn well better be making informed decisions. Seek education, ask questions and interview. Paradise Sharks is in our 7th year and personally I have been doing nothing but real estate for decades. Building it, selling it, studying it, writing about it. Paradise Sharks has kicked the middleman right out of the real estate transaction. Those huge franchise fees, broker splits, desk charges and all those other middlemen expenses, we prefer for our clients to keep that money in their pockets.
There are very few homes in the Jupiter area Paradise Sharks cannot list for 4%, or less, and most of our buyers get substantial credits at closing, as our little way of saying thank you. We would love to sit down and hear about your real estate needs and show you what we can do to help solve them. Complimentary consultations can be set up at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561.308.0175. Paradise Sharks would love to hear from you and help you. It’s what we do.