The South Florida housing market is on fire, but with limited inventory and high demand available homes are selling within 17 days on the market.

Prospective buyers are scrambling with cash offers above asking price to help seal the deal.

Christine Caridi is on the hunt for her next home in Alton in Palm Beach Gardens.

“I’ve been wanting to buy for about a year, so I had to get to a spot where financially I felt ready to do that, because this is the biggest purchase of your life,” Caridi said.

So is this the right time to buy?

“Yes,” said Jeff Lichtenstein, the founder of Echo Fine Properties. But he said, you may have to make a few concessions.

“You want to buy now. In August of this year, there were 23,069 homes available in Palm Beach County. Last year, we were in the four thousands. So there’s a 44% drop of inventory,” Lichtenstein said.

Financial advisor Jackie Reeves of Bell Rock Capital said not so fast – be sure you’re getting what you want at a price you can afford.

“If it fits in your budget, be comfortable making that choice. It can get crazy and you can get caught up in the craziness of the market. So maintain your discipline,” Reeves said.

Lichtenstein said that may mean exploring other parts of Palm Beach County, where the median home price is $469,000.

Your other options are a condo or townhome, with a cheaper price tag. However, you still have to watch out for homeowner’s association (HOA) fees.

They found a townhome in West Palm Beach for $389,000 with HOA fees $510 per month.

Moving north to the Treasure Coast, the median home price is:

  • Indian River County – $320,000
  • St. Lucie County – $330,000
  • Okeechobee County – $227,000
  • Martin County – $455,000

But a townhouse option in Stuart is $310,000 and the HOA is $110.00 per month.

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“I don’t see how prices are going to go down. I don’t see a bubble bursting here,” Lichtenstein said.

But economists do predict a cooling-off period.

“We do believe that the growth rates are unsustaineable and should slow. We also could see some depreciation rather than an outright pop,” Reeves said.

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