April 2013 Housing Market update for Broward County

Today I thought we'd take a look at Broward County on the whole.  Regular readers of this blog know I tend to focus on a small area of Fort Lauderdale.  This is done for a couple of reasons.  The first is because the bulk of my sales happen around the center of Fort Lauderdale.  The second reason is because compiling data for a small section can be done easily and accurately, gathering data for an entire county is a bit more difficult.  In order to find data compiled for all of Broward County I need to rely on the Fort Lauderdale Association of Realtors.

I would like to pull out some highlights from the report.  You'll find a lot of parallels between the micro data we have on neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale, and home sales in Broward County on the whole.  Closed sales are rising, inventory is shrinking, days on market are down, and sellers are getting close to full asking price on most sales.

I'd like to take a look at page 2 of the report for a moment.  I thought that cash sales would start to die out as people ran out of money.  The cash sales aren't drying up and my assumption was incorrect.  Cash sales are not only playing a part in the market, they really are dominating it.  In the past if I had a cash offer I knew my client was in a strong position.  Now sellers are receiving 3 or 4 cash offers, sometimes the cash offers are even over list price.  This is great when I'm representing a seller, but tough for a first time home buyer that does not have the ability to pay cash.  The report highlights that 42% of the single family home sales that took place in Broward County were done in cash.  That's an enormous number.

We do see some good news on page 3 where we see that new listings of single family homes are up 8.1% year over year.  We need new listings desperately in this market.  Those new listings are being gobbled up and sold in 34 days on average.  That's a tremendously short time on market.  When you match that with the 3.4 months of supply Broward County currently has, you can see why bidding wars are the norm rather than the exception currently.

If we could fast forward to page 7 where prices are broken down by bracket I think there are a couple of nice data tidbits.  If we take a look at the $400,000- 599,999 bracket we see a tremendous 79.2% increase in sales.  That's an off the charts rise in sales.  I believe what's happened is those that had been looking in the $300-$399,000 range have now been forced to move into the next sales bracket to find the home they want.  As prices have quickly risen expectations have remained the same.  Now the buyer looking for a large home with a pool and plenty of upgrades is going to have to search at a higher price point versus last year.  The statistic I'm focused on is the sales above $1 million.  The area of Fort Lauderdale that I cover has plenty of inventory available above $1 million.  The last year I've been saying some of the best deals can be found in homes priced over $1 million.  The reasoning was because that was where the inventory was.  If you're shopping above $1 million you have more negotiating power than at a lower price point where you'll have a higher chance of being forced to pay full listing price.  The 30% increase we see in sales over $1 million shows the inventory at the high price levels is now getting chipped away.

Looking for a foreclosure?  Broward County isn't going to be the place for you to look, despite what you read in national publications.  I wish these statistics were circulated to a wider audience for the simple reason that our housing market has improved tremendously and people need to know this.  Foreclosures once ruled the market down here, now, not so much.  In fact they're down 34% year over year and made up roughly 10% of sales across the entire county.

Condominium and townhouse sales across Broward posted many of the same statistics as single family home sales did.  There is one absolute stand out statistic I'd like you to take a look at.  Please flip to page 13.  You may have to read this twice.  79% of the condominium and townhouse sales were cash transactions.  79%!  That's jaw dropping.  Buyers are having a tough time getting financing in condo complexes that have HOA's with questionable finances.  However, with all of the cash sales taking place since the market crash, I think the fears are overblown.  That's another rant for another day.

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 I work as a real estate specialist in a small area of Fort Lauderdale. If you’re interested in buying or selling a home, condominium, or townhouse (townhome) in: Rio Vista, Victoria Park, Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale Beach, Harbor Beach, Lauderdale Harbors, Sailboat Bend, Tarpon River, Croissant Park, Collee Hammock, Seven Isles, Nurmi Isles, Idlewyld, or Las Olas Isles, please feel free to contact me at (786)443-7203 or through my email caseyprindle@gmail.com.  I am a Realtor that works on Saturdays to accommodate those with busy schedules.

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Written By Casey Prindle