Contrary to National Reports, Palm Coast Housing Market Continues to Show Strength in March

The number of pending sales of single-family homes continues to rise.

April 10, 2008 – Palm Coast, FL – Again, the media has overdone it’s coverage of the continuing slide in the housing market without enough attention to what’s happening regionally and locally. There are some media exceptions. On his website, Bob discusses the fact that some areas of the country will continue to suffer. He asks, "Rising housing markets cannot be maintained where there is a declining population. So, how do you hedge against a declining market?" His answer, "You move to where populations are growing. Places where populations are growing create more need for services, which is the lifeblood of our economy." Bob further cites the same US Census Bureau report I wrote about on March 31st. He mentions Palm Coast, Florida and concludes that the population trend is toward the South.
February’s newsletter suggested that the Palm Coast housing market might have reached bottom. Today, I’m more convinced that it has. The inventory of unsold Flagler County single-family homes listed on MLS stands today at 2,147. Not too many months ago, it was over 2,500. The number of pending sales for single-family homes has risen to 279, a level not seen for months.
More importantly, local Realtors® report a much higher level of buyer driven activity. The recent Parade of Homes was a success. The Ginn Tournament of the PGA Champions Tour at Hammock Beach’s Ocean Course was again successful, drawing world wide attention to our area. Ginn reportedly sold at least four Ocean Tower condos at well over $1 million each.
While foreclosed and short sales properties continue to comprise a significant percentage of sales, buyers are buying across the spectrum as sellers at all levels come to grips with the fact that lower prices do bring out buyers.
  • 100 single-family homes were recorded as sold by MLS during March
  • 26 were lender owned (foreclosed properties already in bank hands). The median selling price of these homes was $143,350. Days on Market (DOM) was 89.
  • 18 were short sales (sold with the lender’s consent for less than the balance of the mortgage). Their median selling price was $161,000 and DOM was 192.
  • The median sale price of the remaining 56 homes was $190,000 with DOM of 176.
The appearance of foreclosed properties onto the market toward the end of 2007 precipitated the sudden increase in buyer activity. At the same time, the passage of Amendment 1 allowed portability of property tax savings resulting from the Save our Homes amendment. Take your pick which had the greatest impact. I lean toward the foreclosure inventory as the primary reason. Florida’s Governor credits Amendment 1.
The first wave of foreclosures has been mostly evident at the low end of the market. But foreclosure activity can be seen among  higher priced properties as well. Lis Pendens, usually first step in a foreclosure proceeding, have been filed since January 1st on properties in several upscale communities including:
  • The Conservatory
  • Harbor Village
  • Tidelands
  • Hammock Dunes
  • Ocean Hammock
  • Grand Haven
  • Marina Bay
  • European Village
  • Cinnamon Beach
  • Sanctuary
  • Canopy Walk
  • Hammock Beach
  • Marina Cove
Foreclosures drive down prices and stimulate sales because banks do not fall in love with their assets as humans do. They price their foreclosed property in order to move it out of inventory within 90 days. They find the level at which sellers meet buyers. Though the level has been established, some sellers don’t notice because they have their head in the sand. Their properties remain available at prices that will not attract buyers. Others will choose either to lower their prices, stimulating more sales or to take their property off the market, electing to wait for a turnaround. Either action, increased sales and reduced inventory, further stimulate the market. That’s how the market works. Sellers certainly are not happy at this level, but both buyers and Realtors® are starting to smile.
There is a real possibility that January’s median selling price ($161,500) for single-family homes will not be seen again. The February median was $169,000, March was $168,945. Through the first 9 days of March, 47 homes have sold at a median price of $179,000. As I’ve said before, we will only know when the bottom occurred after the fact, when we can look back on it.
3 replies
  1. Greg Milburn
    Greg Milburn says:

    another excellent post


    Very interesting again. Your analysis is filled with insight for the real estate savy reader as well as casual flagler county info surfer, keep it coming.


  2. Lindsay Dolamore
    Lindsay Dolamore says:

    We are bouncing along the bottom

    I agree with your market asessment 100%. Activity is up with buyers skiking on right priced homes and foreclosed properties.Now is the time to BUY!

    Thank you

  3. Ursula Vassiliou
    Ursula Vassiliou says:

    Great positive article!


    Thank you for a great positive article! As a Realtor I have been very busy and my Realtor friends the same.

    I thought the last paragraph was wonderful and I have a funny feeling we will all be hearing the old,\\\” could have, should have, would have\\\”.

    Once again thank you for a most informative web site, it is greatly appreiated.

    Ursula Vassiliou

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply