Palm Beach homes: 3Q condo prices up but sales down, reports say

Article Courtesy of  The Palm Beach Daily News

By Darrell Hofheinz

Published October 27, 2019

A new round of Palm Beach real estate sales reports shows that condominium prices rose by more than 20 percent in the third quarter, based on a year-over-year comparison.

This summer saw high-end deal after high-end deal close in Palm Beach, bringing the total to about $500 million for single-family sales recorded at the courthouse in July, August and September alone, according to an analysis by the Daily News.

But beyond documenting the staggering single-family action, the third-quarter reports recently released by real estate agencies that do business on the island also reflected unusually healthy sales of condominiums — at least in terms of the dollar amounts the sales generated.

The reports also documented what might be termed a condo conundrum. The number of apartment sales townwide was down in the third quarter — by 22 percent — in a year-over-year comparison, while the average and median prices they fetched rose by more than 20 percent, according to The Corcoran Report produced by the Corcoran Group. The median is the price at which half of the units sold for more and half for less.

As usual, the individual reports use different sales criteria and data, so direct comparisons among them aren’t easy to compute. Some reports look only at data recorded in the local multiple listing service, which means their figures don’t include off-market deals.

Prices up in Midtown, South End

The transaction numbers included in The Corcoran Report reflected a smaller share of condo sales below $1 million and a simultaneous increase in the share of sales above $3 million, as compared to the third quarter of 2018.

The most expensive Palm Beach Condominium to sell in the third quarter was a July deal at the Sun & Surf, in which unit No.502 at 100 Sunrise Ave. fetched $3.5 million. In all, three condos sold for more than $3 million during July, August and September.

Brown Harris Stevens’ report documented similar condo numbers. Townwide, the average price of multifamily units sold in July, August and September rose from $811,000 in 2018 to $973,000 in 2019, thanks to 16 sales above $1 million, according to Brown Harris Stevens’ analysis.

The three biggest-dollar condo sales in July, August and September were each documented in the Brown Harris Stevens report and the one released Linda R. Olsson Inc., Realtor. Two of those big sales were recorded in July at the Sun & Surf condominium’s two buildings on Sunrise Ave.

Unit No. 502 at 100 Sunrise Ave. changed hands for $3.5 million, with the local multiple listing service showing agent Fern Fodiman of Sotheby’s International Realty as the listing agent opposite agent Joanna Meyers of Christian Angle Real Estate. With direct-ocean views,the apartment has two bedrooms and 2,244 square feet of total living space, inside and on its balconies.

And immediately to the west, Penthouse 6 at 130 Sunrise Ave. traded for $3.2 million, with broker Christian J. Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate on the seller’s side and Corcoran Group agents Paulette Koch and Dana Koch representing the buyer. The three-bedroom unit has 4,049 total square feet.

The last of the biggest condo deals of the quarter took place far across town on the South End’s Condominium Row. The sale was documented in August at $3.25 million, when Unit 701 — a renovated three-bedroom apartment with 5,700 total square feet — sold at 3100 S. Ocean Blvd. In that oceanfront deal at Palm Beach Hampton, agent Scott and Mindy Gordon of Douglas Elliman Real Estate handled both sides, MLS shows. The sale was the ninth most-expensive condo listed in MLS to change hands on the South End since the start of 2017, according to online records.

That two of the three highest-dollar condo sales of the third quarter took place in Midtown came as no surprise, according to the analysis released by Sotheby’s International Realty.

“In Palm Beach’s condominium market, the strongest activity was concentrated (in Midtown), where the total number of units sold was up 13 percent, combining with a 37 percent rise in the median sale price to drive total dollar volume 60 percent higher,” wrote broker Debra Reece, who manages Sotheby’s International Realty’s Palm Beach brokerage.

The South End didn’t fare as well, according to the Sotheby’s analysis: “South End (condo sales) pulled back during this quarter, although the median sale price posted a modest 4 percent gain,” Reece wrote.

A third-quarter report prepared by agent Suzanne Frisbie’s sales team at Premier Estate Properties also noted the “explosive” jump in dollar volume generated by sales of Midtown condos compared to the same period last year. The South End, however, saw dollar volume drop by 36 percent in a year-over-year comparison, the Frisbie report noted.

Slightly slower sales pace

And the report prepared for Douglas Elliman by analyst Jonathan Miller, meanwhile, said condos townwide generally spent more time on the market before they sold this summer, compared to the third quarter of last year.

The Elliman Report also included a metric that gives an idea of the pace of condo sales during the third quarter, which was slightly slower when compared to the same period of 2018.

“It’s how the market feels, what I call the intersection of supply and demand,” said Miller, president of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisal and Consulting Services in New York City.

For that metric, Miller computed the number of months it would take to sell all of the multifamily inventory on the market in Palm Beach at any given moment, based on the current rate of closings. During the third quarter of 2018, Miller reported, it would have taken 11 months to sell everything, but this summer, that figure rose to 12.2 months.

The complete third-quarter reports — including details about the island’s single-family sales — are available at:,,,, and