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U.S. Market Insights | Why Move to Palm Beach?

U.S. Market Insights | Why Move to Palm Beach?

For at least a decade, Florida has seen thousands of new residents move to the state from across the nation and around the world. But since the pandemic started last year, that trend has gone into overdrive. In fact, the state’s Chief Financial Officer reported in May that almost 900 people a day are moving to the state. I recently visited West Palm Beach and met with local area expert John Wilson, of Douglas Elliman Boca Raton, who specializes in waterfront properties from Lighthouse Point to Highland Beach and spent his formative years growing up in Fort Lauderdale. He gave me the inside scoop on what’s attracting all these new residents to the state and what’s happening in the real estate market there. Whether you’re considering living full-time in the Sunshine State or are looking for a new vacation spot, read on to see why Palm Beach may be for you.


JH: How has the pandemic changed the market in Palm Beach?
JW: People would come to Palm Beach for vacations but a lot of them never stayed here for 6 months or longer. During the pandemic buyers realized how amazing The Palm Beach lifestyle is including:

The weather, average temperature is 75 degrees, average daily sunshine is nine hours. The verdant green landscaping with lush palm trees. They found themselves spending more time outside and exercising more. The walkability to shopping and dining. My clients that have bought in Palm Beach say they wake up happier in the morning. They love the amount of peace and calmness they experience while being here. As one of my clients from NY said “I feel alive again.” Once they experienced all of the above, they fall in love with Palm Beach and want to be here more often, so many of our clients that purchased last season are reaching out to us on a daily basis telling us they cannot wait to get back here.

JH: Why are people moving to Palm Beach?
No state tax
The restaurants: Le Bilboquet, La Goulue, Buccan, Bice, Sant Ambroeus, Café Boulud, and Almond to name a few.
Shopping: Hermes, Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Stubbs and Wooton, Van Cleef and Arpels, and countless others.
Lifestyle and weather.

JH: Where are they moving from?
JW: Everywhere: New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Illinois

JH: What are the benefits of living in Palm beach?
JW: The weather, walkability, boating, beaches, healthier lifestyle and a lot of their friends are coming and want to be here also. The art and culture (the Kravitz Center and Flagler Museum). Quotes from our clients: “I have space,” “I feel less stress,” “I am happier,” “I have never felt better,” “Drastic improvement in quality of life.”

JH: What’s the average price of a home in Palm Beach?
JW: On Palm Beach island there isn’t an average price sold because of the diversity of homes, that being said, this year if you bought on the water, whether that is ocean or inter-coastal, prices range from $20 to $140 million. Our internal properties range from $8 to $12 million. The one point to keep in mind is the exclusivity of the island; there are only 2463 residences on the entire island. Property located just west of the Intracoastal in West Palm Beach range from condos at $500 per sq foot and homes at $1500 per sq foot.

JH: What’s the average age of the people living in Palm Beach?
JW: On the island, they are in their late 60s, in West Palm Beach average age is forty years old.

JH: What kind of investment opportunities are there in Palm Beach?
JW: On Palm Beach Island most residences are for end-users. When the Golub family came to South Florida to develop The Bristol, which is the premier building in all of Palm Beach, they came from developing tall buildings in Chicago with spectacular views. To accomplish this, they had to go to the west side of the Intracoastal and that set a precedent that it is ok to be on the west side and is quickly becoming the place to be. The Bristol was a huge success and now there are three new developments planned for in the same area which are known as South of Southern and El Cid.

JH: Can you tell me about the up-and-coming areas and why people are moving there?
JW: El Cid, which is located on the west side of the inter-coastal just 10 minutes to Worth Ave, is very popular because of the location and the value you get. It is a neighborhood that has a lot of revitalization going on and as that continues will become more and more popular. A great place to buy right now.

JH: Are people buying investment properties in Palm Beach and when do people rent down there and what kind of returns are they getting?
JW: This is a tough question to answer because of such tight inventory. There are developers buying old homes in El Cid and developing modern homes, but I do not know what their margins are. El Cid is popular because you can still have the Palm Beach Island lifestyle with a 10-minute drive without paying Island pricing. Condos in West Palm Beach are renting for on average $7,500 per month depending on the view, while a water view would be $10K per month. Homes for rent in South of Southern (same area as The Bristol) start at $15K per month and go up from there.


Juliette Hohnen

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