Join Us for Open House Weekend – Palm Beach County – April 6th and 7th

If you have been considering selling your home soon connect with us NOW and it’s not too late for us to get your home listed for sale and included in the annual Open House Weekend sponsored and promoted by the Realtor’s Association.

There is a lot of promotion and energy that goes into this Realtor’s Open House weekend and if you are anxious to get your home sold then we don’t want you to miss out on this weekend, so give me a call at 561-667-4171 and we will make it happen. I’ll have professional photography with HDR and aerials arranged in a couple days to photograph your home, so we can promote it in it’s best light and draw the most buyer’s to your home.

If you see this and you think it’s too late to call, email me at Joby@harvestrealtygroup.com and just put in the subject line “sell my home” and we will get back to you right away as time is of the essence, but we can get this done and ready in just a day or two.

Be a part of this Open House Weekend and start the promotion of your home off right! Homebuyer’s will be out in force during Open House Weekend ready to make an offer to purchase their dream home. Let’s make it the home you want to sell!

Bullish housing reports this week – 3/21/2019

We have 3 new reports this week released by media outlets and the sentiment in all is good for housing. I think CNBC’s reports that mortgage rates have “tanked” is a bit strong, but they do seem to be trending lower and if they continue into the lower 4% range that will bring even more buyer’s into the market. Historically mortgage interest rates have been closer to 6% so these rates are still really good!

I like to check in on the surveys and media reports from these different outlets and when they all start reporting the same thing you at least can get an idea of the psychology of the real estate market, which is a big factor.


Consumers Bullish on Buying as Spring Kicks Off


Fannie Mae: Home sales will stabilize in 2019


Mortgage rates just tanked thanks to the Fed – and they could go even lower


In case you missed it …

“The slump is over” in the housing market, says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

In an article titled, How Will the Housing Market Fare This Spring?, Yun stated that, “Better times are ahead for buyers.” Personally I think better times are ahead for sellers too.

The timing is interesting and follows my earlier blog post about the overall housing market and how conflicting some of the recent media articles have been. Bottom line fits with my earlier synopsis that with mortgage interest rates falling and seller asking prices lining up better with actual value and buyer affordability that buyers will be jumping back into the game.

Personally, I think it’s going to be a good time for both homebuyers and sellers over the next several months. If you had a house that didn’t sell recently check in with me and I’ll take a look at maybe why it didn’t sell this last go around and craft a plan to position your property in the best light to attract buyers and help you achieve your goals.

New Homes in Palm Beach County Starting under $400,000

Ok so I wrote a post on why I thought new homes sales were sluggish as recently reported by a lot of media outlets. I noted that most new construction communities in Palm Beach County started over $400,000 and continue to well over $1,000,000 in our area. I also let on that there are some new homes being built at starting prices under $400,000 in the Palm Beaches and promised to supply a guide to them. Here we go!

In Northern Palm Beach County it’s almost impossible to find a new construction home under $400,000. There are some smaller independent builders doing it, so check in with us for information on their products.

Arbor Parc in western Riviera Beach, Florida might be your best bet for finding a brand new home centrally located in the Northern Palm Beaches. 3 – 4 bedroom single-family homes and townhomes starting in the mid $200’s. There are not a lot of amenities within walking distance, but the location provides easy access from I-95 to PGA Blvd shopping at Downtown at the Gardens and The Palm Beach Gardens Mall to the north and the new Palm Beach Lakes Outlet Mall, Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Cityplace in West Palm Beach to the south.

The western community of Royal Palm Beach, Florida often gets overlooked, but has wonderful amenities and very nice communities. Similar houses can be found at far more affordable prices than neighboring cities. We often say with some of these houses in Royal Palm if you could pick it up and put it in Palm Beach Gardens or Jupiter that they would sell for $100,000 – $200,000 more. There are many communities that are less than 10 years old and offer tremendous value, but here is a list of the new construction communities under $400,000 in Royal Palm Beach.

There is a very interesting townhome community named Greyson consisting of 93 three – four bedroom units in the $300’s just south of Southern Blvd off State Rd 7.

Park Central at Cypress Key townhomes in the $300’s by K Hovanian is located just off Southern Blvd and bordered by Wellington to the south, Loxahatchee to the west, and Royal Palm Beach to the north. Great location with lot of amenities, restaurants and shopping nearby. What I think is appealing about Park Central is that K Hovanian built essentially these same floor plans in the community of Hampton Cay in Palm Beach Gardens. That community is sold out now, but all of those townhomes are priced over $400,000. You’re getting the same product in Royal Palm Beach for potentially $100,000 less!

BellaSera by Lennar starts in the mid – $300’s for a 3 bedroom single family home. The community will have about 350 homes when completely built out. If it starts selling fast prices may not stay that low. More established communities like Madison Green and PortoSol offer homes starting in similar price ranges, so there are other good options nearby.

Lennar is also building 3-4 bedroom townhomes starting in the $300’s at Cambria Parc in the heart of Boynton Beach and at Andalucia in Lake Worth, Florida. Lennar has some interesting workforce housing communities priced under $300,000 they are building with income restrictions. Call us for details on those unique communities.

West Palm Beach, Florida

I mentioned Westlake in my previous post and this community is a beast. Springing up out of what has been the sleepy rural Loxahatchee this master planned community will eventually have thousands of homes and hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial development. Get in early! There are some affordable single-family home options with 2 bedrooms starting in the high $200’s and 3-4 bedroom floor plans under $400,000. There will be many other options above $400,000 as well.

I also mentioned Arden another master planned community known as an Agrihood centering life around a 5 acre farm. Located a little further west of Westlake off Southern Blvd it’s in pretty much the furthest outskirts of the West Palm Beach area. Ryan Homes will be building homes in the $300’s and other builders the more expensive floor plans.

Mattamy Homes is breaking ground on a small 56 single-family home community named Solcera at Southern and Jog road in West Palm Beach, Florida. Expect prices to start in the $300’s.

DR Horton is advertising homes in the mid-to-high $300’s named Ranchette Royale, but those advertised prices don’t include the lot cost. Another reason to make sure you give me a call before you start visiting these new home communities. It can get frustrating visiting communities you think are in your budget to discover the real price after adding in the lot cost, closing costs and minor updates add $50,000 or more to the price.

Pulte homes, generally known for building higher end properties, is building a 164 unit townhome community with prices under $300,000!

Not too far away from there in Lake Worth, Florida you can find 3-4 bedroom single-family homes from the mid $300’s at Lake Cove.

West of the turnpike in Lake Worth, Divosta Homes is building townhomes starting in the lower $300’s at The Fields. Nearby is a single-family home community name Silverleaf with 3 bedroom homes starting in the mid $300’s.

In Wellington near the Polo Grounds, Binks Pointe is a neighborhood of 90 townhomes priced in the high $300’s, but I expect you may be paying over $400,000 for one of these units before it’s all said and done. It is nice that they all come with two-car garages.

If you’re trying to get into a new resort style area in Boca Raton under $400,000 then the townhomes of the Enclave at Boca Dunes look to be the only option right now.

If you’re looking for the finest in new luxury homes construction and location then visit the $1,000,000 plus new construction home list.

Palm Beach County – Quarterly Market Update

This is a kinda semi-quarterly market update for November 2018 – January 2019. Recall in an earlier post I mentioned real estate being a slow-mover. We are generally always looking in the rear view mirror with our data. It’s mid-March but we only have accurate numbers up to January from the local real estate board because it takes time to input and verify the information.

I think it’s very interesting to look at this Halloween through the New Year transition period of ending one year and starting another in the context of all this recent slowing housing market news. Read the My Thoughts post for my overall view. Is the housing market in Palm Beach County good? Is it slowing? Is it a good time to buy a house? Is it a good time to sell a house? The answer is yes, yes, yes and yes!

Here’s the data first.

The past 3 months in Palm Beach County the number of closed sales compared to same time last year has fallen steadily, so much so that we went from a 11.4% decrease in December to a 23.3% decrease in January compared to same time last year! Wow! If I’m looking at these charts together and seeing 4% decrease one month and then 11% the next and then 23% down I might be looking around like chicken little wondering if the sky is falling. What is happening? Let’s take a look at all the factors.

First off, average 30 year mortgage interest rates blew through the 5% mark for the first time since 2009. As soon as that happened buyers pumped the brakes and said wait a second. In 2009 median home prices in our area were under $200,000 and now we are at $338,000. Same interest rate with higher prices equals less affordable and they needed to recalculate what they could reasonably afford in a payment.

Homeowners are meanwhile seeing these charts.

Home prices steadily rising year after year. Well then if I’m seeing that then I’ll just list my price a little bit higher than that last sale because it looks like the market is still going strong. We have a little bit of a disconnect.

Where are we at now? Again looking in the rear view mirror to where we are now. Over the course of the past year we had an interest rate increase over 5% and a rising median sales prices of 5%. The market cooled because buyer’s affordability got pinched and they needed to reassess. Sellers weren’t ready to lower their asking prices because the market still said prices are going higher. We see the disconnect in those first local market update charts from November to January where the number of closed sales were down. It’s a funny thing because I closed 6 sales between December and January, so just because it’s down doesn’t mean we aren’t selling houses.

This is what I expect will happen in the next few months.

I think this chart shows it the best. Going back the past 10 years in good and bad markets the housing market in Palm Beach County ALWAYS trends higher first few months of the year. Doesn’t matter if its a condo or a single-family home we experience a bounce in number of closed sales beginning of the year. We will get some additional help from 30 year mortgage interest rates coming back down around 4.5% as of today. More sellers listing their homes adding to the current inventory will get those sellers that have been sitting on the market awhile to get their asking prices closer to market and more competitive and we will start to see the closed sales numbers go back up.

Sellers it is a good time to sell, but the window until we reach more of a buyer’s market may be closing. About 75% of “housing experts” surveyed by Zillow think we will reach a buyer’s market by end of 2019. The deep effects of that trend you probably won’t notice until 2020 – 2021, so the time to move is now if you’re considering it. If mortgage interest rates creep back up over 5%, which everyone expects they will, you may be forced to be selling and buying with less favorable conditions.

Quarterly Market Update – Macro Level

I like to start with a broad view of the real estate market as a whole and then narrow the focus down to our regional area and product type, which is residential housing in Palm Beach County. Daily I get the question of, “How’s the real estate market?” Why do people ask me? Well it’s my profession and I’m in the real estate market every day, and I also think because there is a lot of confusing noise out there for homebuyers and sellers right now. Can you trust what you hear when the media reports seemingly conflicting news every other day?

This week I saw one article from CNBC and another from Housing Wire stating new home sales were in the tank. Down almost 7% from December to January. Wow that’s bad you think! Wait though, didn’t I just see a different CNBC article a week ago that in December new home sales reached a 7 month high and another that read, “Housing prices could be on the verge of heating up again …” Huh? What? Really, you’re just gonna change the reported outlook on the real estate market in a week?! So, the quarterly update from the media is market is cold then hot, then not again. I’ll post my overall thoughts on the housing market in a separate post.

What you need to know is residential real estate is a slow mover. Most of the reports you see are guesstimates and then a couple months later they’ll go back and put out a new article with the revised numbers. Real monthly numbers going back 3 to 6 months to 12 months is a good trend line where you can make an educated decision. Guesstimates on new home sales matter a lot for builders and economists, but for the average homebuyer looking for a place to live maybe not so much. As they reported in the CNBC article, new home sales only make up about 10 – 12% of homes sales annually. Might be a bit rash to use one tenth of the sales in the US to make a prediction regarding the whole housing market.

Why are new homes sales slow? I’ll tell you why in my thoughts on sluggish new home sales post.

Bottom line – ignore it. Unemployment is low and interest rates are stable for the near future. It is a good time to buy. Having a sub 5% interest rate on a home mortgage is a great thing! If you are looking for a home for you and your family then you just need to evaluate your personal budget, lifestyle, location and functionality of the home. Your primary residence isn’t an investment, so don’t worry about if I wait a year or five will I get a better deal. The people that waited 5 years ago are kicking themselves. You just really need to evaluate what you can afford. You’ll build up equity paying down the principal with your mortgage payments. Do you have a down payment and steady employment? If you are buying a home hoping that appreciation is going to make your mortgage payments then you’re already in trouble. Don’t worry about the talking heads on TV. The investors that have built up tremendous wealth in real estate did so by buying at the middle of the market cycle, the top of the market cycle and the bottom of the market cycle. Point is they kept buying and investing for the long-term, but that’s a different topic.

Homesellers you are also homebuyers, so I wasn’t leaving you out. It is a good time to sell. I’ll leave it at that until another post. Knowing it is a good time to sell then you have to evaluate the move through the homebuyer lens. Can I sell and meet my homebuying or maybe even renting goals? Can you sell and get the home you need in a location that works for your family at a monthly budget you can afford?

Synopsis: We have a flattening housing market with low interest rates and strong employment making it good for both buyers and sellers over the next year to meet their housing needs.

Real Launch

Today I’m relaunching the Joby Slay Real Estate Blog. I launched it a few years ago through a different service and became dissatisfied with the control it had over my content and domain. My www.jobyslayrealestate.com domain freed up again and I grabbed it back!

I hope to bring you some new content on a regular basis that either helps or entertains the readers. I may re-post some old content that I feel is still relevant and informative.

My focus is Palm Beach County real estate and the stories, issues, and influences that impact our market in one way or the other. I’ll share new and old ideas, observations, helpful hints, properties for sale, advice from stumbles and triumph and I guess anything else I might find interesting enough to share with you.