Palm Beach has never been on the radar more than it is today. Dana Koch of Corcoran Group reports that he is currently seeing people come in from all over the country to try and secure a home or rental. Palm Beach, Koch says, “has become a year-round destination.”
“The climate, natural beauty, and open spaces with outdoor activities are appealing to many buyers,” Cris Condon of Sotheby’s International Realty says of the market right now. “As a result, inventory is tight, and properties are selling quickly.”
“Sales are off the charts,” agrees Brown Harris Stevens agent Liza Pulitzer, “and our inventory is at an all-time low.”
Keith Vanderlaan of Sotheby’s International Realty is also seeing a migration to Palm Beach from many cities, especially the Northeast. He told Quest: “Properties are selling so quickly I can’t guarantee the [places] buyers are coming to see will still be available.”
Dana Koch, who is seeing domestic buyers from as far California, concurs that his summer has been busy. “We had a major run on summer rentals, which will translate into having more people in town.” Usually, Koch’s off-season pleasure is the restaurant scene—he jokes, “It’s always easy to get a reservation”—but he says that his favorite restaurants are having a very productive summer.
This year, Palm Beach has been especially active. Sotheby’s
Vanderlaan agrees that “restaurants, grocery stores, and everyday venues are livelier than in years past.” That’s good news for the county and state, whose main draw, Koch explains, continues to be the quality of life, weather, and tax advantages. “Florida,” he reinforces, “is a pro-business state.”
According to the Business Development Board of Palm Beach, the month of May had a significant increase of new contracts, with nearly $200 million in sales just from single-family homes. Billionaires Row had a sale that exceeded $47 million. And financial service firms, learning that they no longer need to be on Wall Street now that the world has become virtual, have been inquiring about relocating to Palm Beach County. Even local private schools have seen new admissions traffic.
That means that along with new homeowners, many seasonal residents have decided to stay in Palm Beach for the entire summer.
Summers in South Florida are filled with activities, most of which involve being outside, excellent for our new normal, and even better for our mental and physical health. Walkers and cyclists will love the paths along on the Intercoastal Waterway. Golfers of all levels will enjoy Palm Beach’s famous Par 3 course right on the ocean, or the exceptionally designed courses and practice facilities at The Breakers.
Says Palm Beach resident Dana Koch: “During the summer we try to keep cool by staying around the water, whether it’s on the beach, paddle boarding, or swimming in the pool.” Cris Condon, who has also seen a spike in rental demand, likes visiting Piccolo Gelato, located in charming Via Mizner. She adds that “at-home al fresco entertaining is what summers in Palm Beach are all about.”
Clubs also offer great opportunities to stay active, safe, and social. Vanderlaan, a Palm Beach resident, mentions that The Breakers now has a Summer Beach Club program. “The Palm Beach Yacht Club,” he adds, “is one of many wonderful club membership options.” Members of many clubs will get access to a selection of reciprocal memberships, allowing unique chances to experience other golf, beach, and yacht clubs.
According to these local experts, it seems that popular peak-season activities are now becoming all-season activities, with even more to offer now that the population is growing. “The entire area is a wonderful playground for running, walking, rollerblading, bicycling,” Vanderlaan explains. “You can hire a boat and go deep sea fishing. There’s a great archery venue in West Palm Beach. Wellington is the place for equestrians.” He, along with other agents, are in touch with clients on a daily basis who are looking to buy in Palm Beach and the surrounding areas. “In the past,” says Vanderlaan, “they would be looking for seasonal rentals.”
Liza Pulitzer and her Brown Harris Stevens partner, Whitney McGurk, have been expertly navigating these dynamic times in search of creative opportunities for their clients. She says that right now it’s a great time for sellers, but the question is: “Where do they go if they take advantage of this super strong market?” “It’s a lot of moving parts,” she says, “but we are ending up with both happy buyers and sellers.”
After a busy day, Pulitzer—a lifetime resident—is fond of a sunset walk or bike ride, especially one overlooking the Intercoastal. The weather, the boat rides, the trips to the beach, the sunset walks “are all restorative to the soul,” she says. “You sometimes wonder, why does anyone ever leave?”