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Price of homes continue to climb in Palm Beach County, putting strain on buyers

Price climbs 19% to $535,500 since 2021
Posted at 3:40 PM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-21 21:15:33-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — New numbers recently released show that buyers are having to navigate a seller's market with an ever-changing variable -- the median sale price of homes.

Across our viewing area, the increase is close to 20 percent and above, which is pricing buyers out of paradise.

Felix Menendez and his wife have made about 15 offers for homes in Palm Beach County in the last year.

"I thought that having a strong cash position, having awesome realtors … I thought I'd definitely have a house by now," Menendez said.

According to the latest report from the Broward, Palm Beach and St. Lucie Realtors Association, the median home sale price in Palm Beach County continues to climb.

Felix Menendez, searching for home in Palm Beach County
Felix Menendez speaks about the difficulty of buying a home in Palm Beach County.

As of last month, that figure is now $535,000 in Palm Beach County, which is up nearly 19% since February 2021.

In Martin County, the median home sale price is at $522,500, up 24%.

In St. Lucie County, it's $350,000, which is a 27% increase.

"I've had just a handful of buyers that sadly have been priced out of this market," said Carlos Melendez, partner at Florida Premier Realty and president at Broward, Palm Beach and St. Lucie Realtors Association.

The number of days to contract has dropped from 30 to 13 in Palm Beach County.

"These sellers are getting 100%, sometimes above 100%, of their asking price," Melendez said. "The days of buyers being able to come in and have a little bit of negotiating power, those days, at this moment, are long gone."

Carlos Melendez, president at Broward, Palm Beach and St. Lucie Realtors Association
Carlos Melendez discusses the difficulties that home buyers currently face.

For sellers like Robert Griffis, the ball is in his court.

He purchased a West Palm Beach home east of Dixie Highway last August for $785,000.

"I bought it for investment," Griffis said. "Now, the market is getting the way it is, increasing, so I just put it on the market and see if it'll sale."

The home is now listed at a whopping $1.5 million.

Real estate agent Laura Saintilus said cash buyers and those going way above the asking price are still the main obstacles for the average buyer.

"I actually just worked with two cash deals and it goes very fast. Cash is king," Saintilus said.

Real estate agent Laura Saintilus
Real estate agent Laura Saintilus discusses the current market in Palm Beach County.

This has caused Menendez to increase his budget.

"Offering $20,000, $30,000 [over the asking price], that's a solid offer. Someone coming in and offering $60,000, $70,000, $80,000 … I've even seen $90,000 over asking, over the appraised value," Menendez said.

Million-dollar homes are being listed often on sites like Redfin. Some of the homes are barely 1,500 square feet.

"What I thought a million dollars was a long time ago, was like a massive house, now you look at that and a million is nothing. It's disheartening," Menendez said.

What can you do to navigate this seller’s market?

  • Some real estate agents say what's worked for buyers is figuring out a number you're comfortable with, then looking for homes below that price range so you have a cushion to go above asking price
  • Although it may be appealing to sellers, do not cut corners by waiving appraisals or inspections
  • Be ready to make multiple offers

Below are the February 2022 housing reports released Friday by the Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors: