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Palm Beach County’s housing market charged into 2014 looking much like it did the previous year with double digit price increases, bidding wars and a desperate dearth of inventory.

For buyers of moderately priced homes, frustration rules

By mid-year, sales abruptly stabilized. And that’s the prediction for 2015 — the first full year of normal following a decade of extremes.

Analysts predict county residential real estate will see price gains this year from 2.4 percent, according to a Zillow forecast, to Hardin’s estimate of up to 6 percent.

South Florida price gains are still expected to lead many parts of the nation as new home construction struggles to keep up with demand and developers run low on buildable lots. Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties had three consecutive months of the nation’s highest price gains beginning in August, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index.

The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage ended December with an interest rate of 3.87 percent, up from the previous week’s 3.83 percent, but still near 2014’s record lows, according to federal mortgage backer Freddie Mac. In December 2013, the 30-year fixed rate was 4.53 percent.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said last month interest rates are poised to increase in 2015, but probably not until April and only on a gradual basis after that.

In November, the median price for a single-family home in Palm Beach County was $265,012, about equal with the same time in 2013, but down from the year’s high of $296,000 in February. County condominiums sold in November for a median price of $133,000, up nearly 11 percent from the previous year, but down from June’s $138,000.

Buyers hope the higher prices will continue to drive investors out of the market.

Predicting home price gains of about 3 percent in 2015, but is concerned that corporations that got into the single-family home rental business late may start selling off inventory as their promised rates of return don’t materialize. A flood of lower-priced homes could dent market prices.

“The Johnny-come-latelies will find that the cost of ownership and amount of time and human labor involved in the rental business is far more than what they computed.

“For people interested in selling their home in the next year, keep an eye on the inventory.”

In November, there were 7,590 single-family homes listed for sale in Palm Beach County, according to the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. That was a 20 percent increase from 2013.