Real Estate Roundtable: The Great Condo Rush in Palm Beach

Palm Beach, condos
Condo 16E in 529 S. Flagler Drive is in contract with a lask ask of $3.75 million. Andrew Thomka-Gazdik of Sotheby’s International Realty, who repped the seller, says prices in the building keep rising.
Andy Frame

From the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we heard a lot about people moving out of cities for more space and privacy. What about luxury condominiums? In the Palm Beach area, there are plenty to be found. Spacious residences overlooking the ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway and the city skyline. Whether you are a snowbird from the Hamptons or simply someone who prefers the convenience of being close to boutiques, restaurants and cultural venues, condos are often preferred. We asked real estate professionals in the know: How is the luxury condo real estate market in Palm Beach doing as we look forward to coming out of the pandemic?

Chris Leavitt

 

Chris Leavitt, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

“The demand for luxury condominiums in the Palm Beach and West Palm Beach market has never been stronger. There is simply not enough supply for the demand. We are craving inventory. There are some new projects on the horizon and these will be a welcome addition to the market, but until inventory increases, buyers need to move swiftly. When an apartment lists, it doesn’t last very long and oftentimes sells above the asking price. Condominium prices have skyrocketed but that isn’t deterring buyers. People love the ease of living in a condo. There is less upkeep and many of the new buildings coming to market have incredible amenities that make your everyday life feel like you’re living at a five-star resort.”

Mia Morrison

Mia Morrison, The Corcoran Group

“The condominium market continues to be extremely competitive for buyers seeking a home in Palm Beach. The pandemic heightened market activity to a level I have not seen during my 20- year real estate career, but other factors will continue to keep the market robust and active. More people at all stages in their life are deciding to move here as they realize they can work from home, are retiring, or decide they simply prefer the Florida lifestyle. They have the ability to relocate full-time or purchase a second, third, or even fourth home. Weather, taxes, and the recreational opportunities available ensure continued low inventory and high demand. Condos are a great fit for those who are priced out of the single-family home market, are downsizing, or want the ease of condo living. Many buyers are open to looking at several locations to find the right space for them. When luxury condos come to market there are typically full price or over-ask offers. New or fully renovated units are especially popular. Buyers have to be ready to move quickly if they want to buy now. “He (or she) who hesitates (has) lost”… a Palm Beach luxury condo!”

Andrew Thomka-Gazdik

Andrew Thomka-Gazdik, Sotheby’s International Realty

Like most real estate in South Florida, the Palm Beach market has been extremely busy. Inventory is at historic lows, and with new construction projects 2-3 years from completion, existing luxury buildings are getting strong looks from buyers. Buyers are even securing their purchases now and allowing the seller to remain in the property until next season, as many sellers aren’t sure where they will go. Many clients from the Northeast are used to condo living, and appreciate the convenience of having pool, garden, security and concierge services. Due to the pandemic, owners have been spending more time at home; as a result, existing condo owners are adding amenities to their units such as home gyms, offices and living green walls. Current condo owners are also purchasing additional units in their own buildings for their extended family and overflow of guests. With inventory levels low, buyers may need to compromise on their complete wish list but in the end, living the Palm Beach lifestyle carries with it so many pluses that buyers are not disappointed. They are happy to be here enjoying all that the Palm Beaches have to offer.

Maureen Woodward

Maureen Woodward, Brown Harris Stevens

“The Palm Beach real estate market has always been an active one, but since the pandemic and notably over the last few months, prices in our condo market have surged while inventory has receded. Our unique island has two areas where our condos lie, intown and south of Sloan’s Curve. In total, there are approximately 6,370 condos and co-ops on the Island. As I write this, we have 19 active listings in-town and 24 active listings on the south end. Demand continues to surpass supply, and trying to convince an owner to sell inevitably leads to the question, “Where am I going to go?” As a realtor, pricing has become challenging. In some cases, what sold for $800 per square foot back in November of 2021, is now selling for over $1,600 per square foot. Direct oceanfront in-town had sold for over $5,000 a square foot and the most recent entry in the same building has listed for over $6,000 per square foot. Palm Beach has proven to be a good investment. There’s only one Palm Beach and people who are fortunate enough to be here are appreciating their homes now more than ever. Truth be told, it has not been a hardship living through a pandemic here in paradise.”

Margit Brandt

Margit Brandt, Compass

“Palm Beach’s allure has only grown stronger amidst the current climate, and the condo market specifically has fared very well. Positioned as an enclave for year-round living, many are drawn to the water views, beach and Lake Trail access, low-rise style, and luxe outdoor amenities. Year-over-year comparisons show that the number of condominiums and co-ops for sale has dropped even more dramatically than single-family homes. As we look ahead into 2022, we anticipate continually increasing Palm Beach demand, albeit at a slower annual growth rate than the historic proportions of the past two years, especially when it comes to condos.”

This article was the cover story for the March issue of Behind The Hedges. Read the digital version here

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