Coastal Palm Beaches & Barrier Islands Market Report: 4Q 2021

“If there’s anything to be gleaned from 2021’s record-setting market, it’s that buyers will pay any price for a piece of Palm Beach, where the only thing more desirable than the weather are the tax advantages. Quarter after quarter, the 2021 market remained scorching hot, with average prices for single-family homes and condos skyrocketing over 80%. Luxury home sales dominated the market, with sales over $10M increasing 15% annually.

While sales figures in the fourth quarter are lower than they were a year ago, it’s simply due to an incredible lack of inventory. As motivated buyers continue to demand larger spaces and second homes, neighboring regions are still seeing the same rising prices and contracting supply as the Town of Palm Beach. Due to unabated interest, this pattern is likely to continue throughout the beginning of 2022.”

John Hackett, Senior Managing Director, South Florida

Palm Beach Highlights

The Palm Beach market has never seen a year like 2021. Eager buyers continue to flock to the region, and as a result, prices skyrocketed, resulting in $4B in total sales volume—more than doubling the year-end figure for 2020.

  • Amid tight supply, single-family home median and average price nearly doubled year-over-year, with median price seeing an 82% increase and average price rising an even higher 86%.
  • The demand for luxury single-family homes was dominated sales in 4Q, with 20 sales over $10M, five of which were over $30M. Market share for sales over $10M rose by over 15% annually.
  • With 44 sales over $20M in 2021, the average price for single-family homes remained over $13M for the fourth consecutive quarter.

There is sustained interest in the Palm Beach market, but total sales numbers are dropping simply due to lack of inventory. Palm Beach is where people want to be, and they’re willing to pay any price.

  • Condo/co-op sales fell 11% annually, the first drop since the start of the pandemic, but sales volume rose 40% year-over-year because of a notable 57% jump in average price.
  • Buyers’ desire for more space because of work-from home, second homes, low interest rates, tight supply, a strong economy and favorable taxes all contributed to a record-breaking year.

Outside Palm Beach

Because of the scarcity of supply in Palm Beach, 2021 saw buyers expanding their search for single-family homes and condos in nearby neighborhoods that offer close proximity and similar perks of the Palm Beach lifestyle. As a result, they’re also seeing prices rise as the housing supply shrinks.

The area from Hypoluxo Island to Highland Beach saw an annual decline in single-family home and condo/co-op closings year-over-year.

  • Average and median sale price increased by double-digits year-over-year for both product types, with average sales price for single-family homes spiking a dramatic 215% due to one sale over $90M.
  • A new high was achieved in 2021 as this region saw the most single-family home closings on record because of an extremely strong 4Q.
  • Condo/co-op average price rose only due to $1M and $2M homes gaining 14% in market share year-over-year. There were 10 more closings over $1M in 2021 versus 2020.

In the area from West Palm Beach to Lake Worth, single-family homes sales fell 10% from 2020, while condo/co-op deal activity increased 31% year-over-year to 186 closings.

  • Single-family home sales over $4M tripled in 2021, contributing to an increase in both median and average pricing.
  • Condo/co-op sales rose annually for a fifth consecutive quarter, improving a notable 6% over 3Q’s strong showing.

In the area from Jupiter Island to Singer Island, single-family home sales fell 43% YOY to 68 closings and condo/co-op dropped 23%.

  • Condo/co-op average price and median price continued to increase YOY by 7% and 21% respectively.
  • Prices were saw a steady rise in 4Q 2021 due to sales shifting towards condos/co-ops that were more expensive and sales for homes under $500K declining.

Delray Beach saw an annual decline in single-family home sales and condo/co-op sales due to extremely low inventory.

  • Single-family average price rose 36% year-over-year, as there was a greater share of sales over $4M.
  • Condo/co-op average price increased in 2021 as market share between both $750K and $1M, and $1M to $2M rose annually, while sales under $250K declined by 10% versus 2020.

Townhouse sales fell 33% YOY, due to the number of available single-family homes tightening throughout most submarkets.

  • Annually, the average sale price fell 12%, as 4Q2020 showed record high figures.
  • Alternatively, median price rose 10% YOY thanks to a 20% in market share of sales over $1M.
  • Days on the market fell by 54% with an average of transactions listed for only 49 days.

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