Let’s get right to it – summer won’t last forever. In New York, at least. While we sprawl out under the hot sun through the end of August, maybe even September, we’re thinking of the next move that keeps the momentum going. Florida is a totally different real estate market but the affluent buyers it attracts are quite similar to those on the North Fork. They seek rest and relaxation, award-winning restaurants and world-class shopping, the beach, and yes, the sun. The Sunshine State is not just for snowbirds anymore. Citing strong sales, high demand, varying levels of inventory, and lack of an income tax, real estate agents share what’s hot in the market right now.
Palm Beach – the name and address say it all. “The island is an enclave, beautiful and peaceful,” Corcoran Group Sales Associate Karen Hammer says. “The county itself has so much to offer. From Boca Raton and Delray Beach on the south end, to beachy Juno and Jupiter on the north end. Palm Beach County has something for everyone.”
Hammer’s listing at 1117 Island Drive in Delray Beach is a 6-bedroom, 7.2-bathroom home – it is a Palm Beach Georgian waterfront estate. As one of 16 homes on an exclusive island, it speaks to the water lover with an in-ground pool overlooking the canal and private dock perfect for a yacht. The home is on the market for $5.595 million.
Saying high-end sales have slowed but the Southeast Florida market is uniquely strong, Hammer shares the recently passed tax bill has been a catalyst in the luxury sales market. The area has also attracted a number of businesses to relocate there. “Advances in technology and communications have helped facilitate this trend,” she explains. “As a result, Southeast Florida has become younger – a great mix of ages now – and the summer is not as slow as it used to be. My family has been in the area for three generations and this trend has been fun to see. South Florida is not as seasonal anymore. Go to Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach in July and you’ll see.”
Fellow Corcoran Group Broker Associate Paulette Koch and Sales Associate Dana Koch agree the tax bill and lack of a state income tax have led buyers from states like New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey to establish a residency in Florida. The amount of money they save in taxes helps fund their lifestyles. Mr. Koch says sales volume year-to-date is up 20% compared to 2017. In a sought-after Palm Beach location next to the Lake Trail, the Kochs hold the listing for 315 Tangier Avenue, a beautiful five-bedroom, 5.1-bathroom home, on the market for $7.495 million.
“Right now, we have a limited supply of inventory in our market,” Mr. Koch says. “Palm Beach is an island with a finite number of homes and condominiums. Quality new construction always fetches a premium. Large condominiums continue to be difficult to find. The market is on solid footing so if you identify a property you want to buy, make the commitment. If you don’t, there is a good chance that the property won’t be around when/if you make your decision.”
Getting down to the numbers, Corcoran Group Broker Associate Suzanne Frisbie says dollar volume so far this year is down 15% with some large pending sales that will reverse this number upon closing. Median price is up 20%. “The residential info is impressive, as year-end quarter four 2017 finished with the number of transactions up 52%, volume up 155%, and median price up 102%,” she shares. “Thus, 2018 quarter two is poised for continued growth through the end of 2018.”
The United States economy is in its ninth year of slow and steady improvement and continues to trend upwards. Palm Beach continues to draw buyers because of its tropical climate, investment quality, and the limited supply on the island.
“Preferences go in cycles,” Frisbie says, sharing her listing at 225 Indian Road on the market for $34.95 million as a stunning example of available inventory. “Currently buyers seem to want new homes or like new/renovated homes which are light and bright. Transitional or somewhat modern in style, though not stark modern, a more soft modern in execution.”
Sharing that Palm Beach offers beauty, culture, dining and so much more, Sotheby’s International Realty Senior Sales Associate Cristina Condon says the island is unique and always has been. Boating, golfing, tennis, surfing and other water sports have been a draw as well. She also says buyers have a strong interest in new construction and complete renovations.
“Although many historic properties designed by highly regarded architects such as Maurice Fatio, Addison Mizner and Marion Sims Wyeth similarly attract buyers who seek more traditional design reflecting a bygone era,” Condon explains, highlighting her lakefront Venetian Mizner estate listing. “It is the mix of options and styles that helps to keep Palm Beach the very special place that it was and remains.”
A small part of Martin County, Jupiter Island is contained by actual physical boundaries that define the island off the coast. There are no commercial businesses – no restaurants, no shopping, no nightlife. It’s an escape and exactly the reason buyers choose to purchase a home here says Adrian Reed, Broker and Owner of Fenton and Lang.
“Our profile is growing probably faster than any other high-end community,” Reed says. “There’s the town of Jupiter on the main land and then the island. It’s the fastest growing municipality in Martin County which runs from Boca Raton to Jupiter with a lot of big attractive communities in between. Of all of the people coming to Jupiter there is a certain portion that look around the neighborhood to see what’s around. It pushes the notoriety of Jupiter Island. We’re not off the beaten track anymore.”
Listed for $18.9 million, 300 South Beach Road is a waterside estate that has the timeless appeal of Craftsman design by architect Roger Janssen. Fenton and Lang have had other notable listings, including country singer Alan Jackson’s home that the agency brokered sales for twice. Sharing that 80% of transactions for Jupiter Island were by his team, Reed explains sales are on par with 2017.
“Our pace of sales this year is nearly identical to last year, with the exception that our inventory is lower and we haven’t been able to do the same number of transactions,” Reed says. “The demand is the same. The $2.5 – 4 million range has been the strongest and steadiest.”
Douglas Elliman is overseeing sales at Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale, which just broke ground. Positioned along the Atlantic Ocean, the property will include 130 guest rooms and 90 private residences, which are going for $3.1 million unfurnished. Described as almost a secret haven for affluent snowbirds and jet setters, Fort Lauderdale is also known as the yachting capital of the world.
“Known as the Venice of America, Fort Lauderdale has evolved into a luxury destination in its own right, attracting buyers from New York and beyond who are drawn to its yachting lifestyle in conjunction to its proximity to the newly-renovated and expanded FLL airport allowing residents to go from tarmac to seaside in 15 minutes,” says Louise Sunshine, strategic advisor for Fort Partners. “The introduction of Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale to the market – the only five star-branded development in the area – is a testament to the market’s appetite for true luxury residences and as of this spring we’ve reported more than $100 million in sales.”
The Miami market is also hot according to Compass Miami and Fort Lauderdale Vice President Audrey Ross, Ph.D. Sharing that the Miami Board of Realtors recently reported Florida as the top state in the U.S. with Miami being at the top of the Florida market for international buyers. Miami is also on track to outperform other U.S. markets. Her $15.9 million listing at 8815 Arvida Drive in Coral Gables speaks to the imitable lifestyle of South Florida.
“Once one knows that nearly 50% of the population is foreign born and that our community collectively speaks over 100 languages, it comes as no surprise that Miami is the gateway to the Americas with a strategic location between Latin America and Europe,” Ross explains, adding an average temperature of 75 degrees, beautiful beaches, and an exciting lifestyle are also a draw. “With a label of ‘The Magic City,’ Miami does indeed deliver on providing a luxurious lifestyle for people from all walks of life.”
Whatever part of South Florida calls to you there is one thing that is certain, the market is hot, thriving, and you’ll get to enjoy summer all year long.