(SFGN, 10/27/17)

In the next few weeks I will be rolling out my third edition of Broward’s Real Estate Yearbook. This publication – the only one of its kind and scope – provides a detailed view of pricing, sales and inventory trends in 35 distinct East Broward neighborhoods (not zip codes; there is a big difference).

This year I decided to delay the Yearbook for three months – both to account to a degree for the impact of Hurricane Irma, and to give the most current information as we head into a new High Season.

As a service to my loyal readers, in this and the next column I will look at the three Island City neighborhoods. First we will assess pricing trends, as that is always the first question (i.e., “What can I get for my house?” and “What’s it going to cost to live here?”) Next time we will look at sales volume and inventory.

As a reminder, the three WilMa neighborhoods are West (everything west of Andrews), Center (Andrews to the train tracks), and East (east of the train tracks). These do not in any way correspond to zip code based numbers that “others” may employ. Also, I look only at single family homes – no townhouses or condos included.

In addition – and a big difference with other “analyses” you may encounter – I look not only at median prices on a rolling six month basis (meaning, half the properties above and half below), but also the 25th and 75th percentile of prices, to indicate the range of values one is likely to encounter. Using average prices (or really average anything in respect of real estate) can on occasion be highly misleading, as outlier values can skew averages badly, especially in smaller datasets.

I start with the second quarter of 2011. Generally speaking, that was the trough of prices after the famous real estate bust of 2006-2011. Darkness had descended upon the real estate landscape, and the expression from the investment world of “blood in the streets” was most applicable.

You easily see in the charts here that the situation is now radically different. Homeowners/sellers are smiling again, and buyers may be kicking themselves over missing a great opportunity. Consider the overall change in median prices since 2Q11 by neighborhood:

West +60%

Center +119%

East +88%

In the more recent periods, however, only Center WilMa has seen the continued advance in prices, while West has flattened somewhat and East has actually dropped a bit.

As I have noted previously, if you look at real estate prices in Broward over the last 40 years, the long term annual rate of increase has been about half a percentage point over the underlying rate of price inflation. Consumer prices have increased by just over nine percent since June 2011 – 1.4 percent per year. While one can argue that 2011 prices were artificially low, other hypotheses need to be considered.

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