Real Estate's Rogue Wave
Date: Thursday, October 18, 2007 @ 11:49:38 EST
Topic: Palm Beach County

By Christopher Cullen

The end of year 2000 brought with it the beginning of a real estate price boom that would turn out to have tsunami-like proportions. In the West Palm Beach metropolitan area it crested even higher than in Florida as a whole.

But even though the House Price Index (HPI) for West Palm has been falling since the third quarter of 2006, it is still far above the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The following chart illustrates the magnitude of the difference:

For nearly 23 years following the last quarter of 1977 the West Palm Beach HPI and the Urban South CPI inflated at about the same rate. The average annual rate was 4.97% for the HPI and 4.56% for the CPI.*

In stark contrast, the period from the last quarter of 2000 to the second quarter of 2006 saw the West Palm Beach HPI shoot up dramatically with an average annual inflation rate of 17.99%. During the same period the Urban South CPI averaged only 2.67%.

Just as we have seen a record breaking run up in housing prices, for the first time in 30 years we have had a record breaking four consecutive quarters of deflation in the seasonally adjusted HPI for West Palm Beach. Prior to this the longest run was three quarters of negative growth (Q2-Q4 1990).

Had the boom not occurred the West Palm HPI would probably be about 55% of its actual Q2 2006 peak level, assuming an annual inflation rate at the prior average of 4.97%. This again illustrates how intensely hot the market became as a result of too much money chasing after too few opportunities.

Unfortunately all of the preceding technical detail will provide little comfort to those who are now trying to sell under more challenging conditions. Until definitive signs of a turnaround appear strategic pricing and marketing will be especially critical. That is why consideration should be given to consulting a real estate professional or certified property appraiser to provide some guidance. Either of these will have access to the most recent pricing and market time data specific to your neighborhood.

*All inflation rates in this report are based on annualized seasonally adjusted quarterly rates.


This article comes from Lake Worth Media

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