Monday, November 19, 2007

Palm Beach County Real Estate Statistics

Numbers dismal but better balanced
By Linda Rawls
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 05, 2007
In Palm Beach County's new-home developments there is evidence that supply is working its way toward a better balance with demand, according to a study released last week.
There were 755 single-family move-ins during the third quarter of this year - the fewest in more than a decade, according to MetroStudy, a West Palm Beach-based housing consultant.

That's also 52 percent fewer than the same quarter last year, when there were 1,585 move-ins. There were 1,135 move-ins in the second quarter of this year.

There were 486 single-family home starts in Palm Beach County developments in the third quarter of this year, MetroStudy said, a 52 percent drop from the third quarter of 2006, when there were 1,017 starts. There were 408 in the second quarter of this year.
In the peak construction year of 2003, MetroStudy noted, starts averaged more than 2,600 a quarter as builders throughout the county feverishly pounded nails to feed the boom.

Brad Hunter, an analyst at MetroStudy, said the move-in pace (755) was greater than the starts pace (486) in the third quarter of 2007. That's a healthy situation, he says.
Another good sign, Hunter said, is that total new-home inventory in Palm Beach County dropped to 2,989 units in the third quarter from 3,258 units in the second quarter.
The number of units under construction fell to 1,464 units in the third quarter from 1,776 in the second quarter.

Here's some good news for Port St. Lucie house hunters, especially first-time buyers.
Mercedes Homes' Treasure Coast Division, reacting to the still-slumping housing market, has introduced The Cottage Series, with two designs that can be built on your lot or on a Mercedes Homes lot.

The Paige, a three-bedroom, one-bath home, has 1,212 square feet of living space and starts at $103,990, the builder says. The Nicole Deluxe has 1,404 square feet and starts at $109,900. It has three bedrooms and two full baths.

Both have two-car garages and open kitchens that flow into "great rooms."
Got more money? There are plenty of options.

"I believe we've got the lowest prices in town," said Robert Smithwick, division president.
Log on to if you don't believe him. Or even if you do.
Many other local builders are offering incentives to attract buyers in what has become the worst housing slump in 16 years.

Some of them are impressive indeed, although to date Mercedes takes the prize for most affordable. Truth be told, we don't have room to list them all in this column.
We see news releases from CentexHomes and DiVostaHomes on our desk, for instance. It's a trend we expect to continue well into next year as builders seek to work off their bulging inventories homes and condos.

Linda Rawls writes about residential real estate. Contact her at The Palm Beach Post, 2751 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, Fla. 33416-4700; (561) 820-4722; e-mail:

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