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Home Prices Strong with Foreclosures Nearing Pre-Bubble Levels

The Flagler County and Palm Coast Metro housing market is doing very well. If the world can hold itself together, 2016 will be a banner year locally. Find out why.

By Toby Tobin

Palm Coast City HallPALM COAST, FL – November 16, 2015 – The Palm Coast and Flagler County housing market is doing very well. So too is the local economy. As in previous months, all indicators are positive.

Year-over-year Comparison

Why are year-over-year comparisons better than month-over-month? The Flagler County and Metro Palm Coast market is seasonal. Consistently (over a 13-yer period), sales closings reported to MLS have been at their highest levels during the months of March through August. Conversely, the slowest sales months are September through February. Comparing October 2015 to September 2015 has no real significance, especially since our total market is relatively small, subject to greater monthly percentage fluctuations. Besides, the real estate market reflects new trends only over time, not on a month-to-month basis

Seasonality in home sales is readily apparent in the following chart, as are the trends over time. But notice that price does not have a seasonal component. The chart reflects Flagler home sales only. Other markets will have their own distinctive patterns.

Closings mark the last event in a sales cycle. The cycle begins with a bilateral contract between the buyer and seller. Then come the mortgage application and approval, the inspection, perhaps additional negotiating, preparation and dissemination of closing documents, etc. This process has typically taken 30 to 60 days.

So closings don’t accurately reflect the market at closing time. They reflect the market at the time the contract was signed, roughly two months before closing. We need to go back a few months from the closing date to find the contract date (the meeting of the minds that reflects the current market). Therefore, the first six months of the year are when the most Flagler County home sales contracts are signed. Contract signings slow down in the second half, only to resume a faster pace at the beginning of the following year.

THIRTEEN YEARS OF FLAGLER COUNTY HOME SALES

Flagler County Home Sales vs. Median Price


There are only 852 single-family Flagler County homes listed by Flagler MLS, representing only 4.8 months of inventory at the current selling rate, a surprise given that we are in a slow selling season. Clearly, this is a sellers’ market.
 

Flagler County Single-family Homes Sales: October 2015 vs October 2014

 

   Oct 2015

   Oct 2014

   % Change   

  HOMES SOLD

  178

  176

  +1.14%

    Median Price

  $183,000

  $154,821

  +18.20%

    Price/SF

  $109.10

  $91.39

  +19.38%

    Gross Sales

  $39,695,110

  $34,294,566

  +15.75%

  CASH SALES

  60

  94

  -36.17%

    Gross Sales

  $12,8786,294  

  $18,1440,905  

  -29.02%

  REO SALES

  24

  46

  -47.83%

    Gross Sales

  $3,356,295

  $8,242,498

  -59.28%

  NON-DISTRESSED 

  148

  120

  +23.33%

    Median Price

  $192,250

  $170,000

  +13.09%

    Gross Sales

  $35,253,815

  $26,948,193

  +30.82%


The number of homes sold is often quoted as the measure of the housing market. In this case, home sales are up only 1.14% year-over-year. The rest of the numbers, however, give a picture that is much clearer; a picture on which legitimate analysis can be made.

The median price rose 18.2%, but the rise was not completely the result of home values rising. The change in product mix was also a factor. Distresses sales (short sales and REO sales) were down. The change in selling mix would have caused the median price to rise somewhat, even if home values did not rise.

Prior to the bubble, there were nearly no distressed sales. A look at the year-over-year changes in non-distressed sales gives the most legitimate view of what is happening to home values. Non-distressed sales are up 23.33%. Non-distressed median price is up 13.09% and Gross sales for non-distresses sales is up 30.82%. Non-distressed sales constitute 83.1% of all home sales and fully 88.8% of all gross sales. Clearly, we are in a strong, healthy market.

The number of cash sales is down 36.17%. Gross cash sales are down 29.02%. Both decreases indicate that investors are likely making up a smaller percentage of buyers and/or that buyers are finding financing easier.
 

Flagler County Single-family Year-to-date Homes Sales Thru October 2015 vs October 2014

 

  Thru Oct 2015  

  Thru Oct 2014   

  % Change  

  HOMES SOLD

  1,979

  1,808

  +9.46%

    Median Price

  $170,000

  $155,000

  +9.68%

    Price/SF

  $103.91

  $96.05

  +8.18%

    Gross Sales

  $420,452,572

  $358,020,611

  +17.44%

  CASH SALES

  822

  841

  -2.26%

    Gross Sales

  $168,244,818

  $161,890,470

  -3.93%

  REO SALES

  364

  461

  -21.04%

    Gross Sales

  $53,352,684

  $64,330,445

  -17.06%

  NON-DISTRESSED 

  1,558

  1,246

  +25.04%

    Median Price

  $183,000

  $172,000

  +6.40%

    Gross Sales

  $358,313,588

  $279,405,191

  +28.24%

 

The chart above looks at comparable year-to-date results. It seems to indicate that the 2015 increases are at an accelerated rate. The Y-T-D stats are affected by the early months when the growth rate was lower.

Foreclosure News

Only 26 new foreclosures were recorded in Flagler County during October, the lowest number of new foreclosures since September 2005d and only 10% of the July 2009 high water mark of 280. The number of active foreclosure cases in the county has fallen to 568.

Foreclosures can end when homeowners bring their loan current, refinance their loan, return the deed to the lender in lieu of foreclosure, sell the home via a short sale or lose the home at a foreclosure sale. The term “foreclosure completion” applies to the last of these options.

A foreclosure sale, or foreclosure completion is the final step, resorted to only after all other options have failed. A foreclosure sale (auction) results in the lender or a competitive bidder receiving title. Significantly, Flagler County had only 15 foreclosure completions during October. During the depth of the foreclosure crisis, the county recorded 13 months in which foreclosure completions exceeded 100.

Non-residential

Three large local projects reached milestones recently:

  • The City of Palm Coast opened its new City Hall in Town Center.
  • Flagler County’s new Sherriff’s Operation Center opened.
  • Publix opened its new store in Island Walk.
     

PALM COAST CITY HALL RIBBON CUTTING

Palm Coast City Hall ribbon cutting


PRODUCE SECTION IN NEW PUBLIX STORE

Publix Supermarket in Palm Coast, FL


Road Projects

  • The 6-laning of Palm Coast Pkwy between Boulder Rock and Florida Park Drive is within weeks of completion.
  • Both the Old Kings road and Palm Harbor Pkwy extensions are well underway.
  • The Interstate interchange at Matanzas Woods Pkwy is moving along well.

Jim Cullis announced plans for Tuscan Gardens Senior Living, a $45M, 210-unit senior care facility to be built on the west side of Colbert Lane just south of Blare Drive. The area’s shortage of senior care facilities is no longer going unnoticed. At least two other senior care projects are being contemplated in Palm Coast.

Building permits

Although the pace of new home starts in the county has leveled off, single-family home building permits Y-T-D are still 5% above the number of permits issued last year over the same period.

Publicity

Palm Coast was ranked 39th in a 24/7 Wall Street’s list of America’s 50 Best Cities to Live. The study cited Palm Coast’s strong job and population growth. Palm Coast’s job growth from 2012 through 2014 was 5%, according to the study, compared to the 1.8% national rate. The city’s population has grown 14.8% over the past five years, more than double the national growth rate.

Economic Development:  Home-grown Coastal Cloud, a cloud computing consulting company, was recognized as one of Florida’s 50 Companies to Watch at an awards ceremony at Orlando’s Hard Rock Café. The awards event - now in its fifth year - honors 50 select second-stage companies from throughout the state. This is the first time a Flagler County company has received the award. The company has grown to over 80 employees in its short 2 ½ year history and has over 110 clients across the country.
 

TIM & SARA HALE, CO-FOUNDERS OF COASTAL CLOUDCoastal Cloud - Tim and Sara Hale, co-founders

 

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Don "Toby" Tobin is a licensed real estate professional affiliated with Grand Living Realty. Toby is a member of the Flagler County Association of Realtors®, the Florida Association of Realtors, Enterprise Flagler, Flagler Home Builders Association, and the National Association of Realtors.

GoToby.com proivdes real estate news, commentary, and analysis for Palm Coast and Flagler Country Florida, as well as Realtor® referrals and consultation to buyers, sellers, and developers.