Frenzied Palm Beach Home Market Has Buyers Bidding Sight Unseen

The following is an excerpt from the original article written by Amanda L Gordon on Bloomberg.com: View Link | View PDF

101 Palmetto Lane in West Palm Beach sold for $6.1 million. Sabra Kirkpatrick represented the seller.
  • Prices in Florida enclave are soaring with limited offerings
  • ‘A seller’s market like I’ve never experienced,’ an agent says

“Anyone with money is fleeing New York and coming here,” said Guy Clark, an agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “It’s a seller’s market like I’ve never experienced.”

Some of the migration is paired with job relocation, as Wall Street firms and hedge funds set up bases in the Sunshine State. Others are pandemic refugees looking to flee Covid hotspots or take advantage of Florida’s lack of a state income tax. And some are billionaires increasing their footprints, such as Steve Wynn’s purchase of an additional Palm Beach home for $18.4 million last month, or Robert F. Smith’s $48.2 million acquisition of two properties in North Palm Beach.

The Palm Beach County Clerk’s office recorded more than 20 home sales last year exceeding $20 million, compared with 10 in 2019, according to the Palm Beach Daily News. Early next month, a home on North Ocean Boulevard is scheduled to go on the market for $75 million, fully furnished by designer Sara McCann with everything from chaise lounges to frying pans.

Unlike the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, which brought a glut of supply and sharp price decreases, there’s now very little in the way of offerings to show potential buyers.

“We’ve gone from anxiety buying to there’s no inventory and what am I going do?” said Liza Pulitzer, senior associate at Brown Harris Stevens. “We’ve even had people buy an interim house when they couldn’t find a rental.”

As for changes in residency, Florida makes it easy to domicile, while New York has a high bar to let people depart. Lawyer Paul Comeau of Hodgson Russ expects plenty of tax audits by New York state for the pandemic year of 2020. New York also issued guidance that employees working remotely outside the state would still be on the hook for city taxes unless the employer has local offices.

Esperante Corporate Center: 222 Lakeview Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL

Migrants have started to look at renting office space, according to Lesley Sheinberg and Barbara LeBrun of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman, who represent the Esperante building in downtown West Palm Beach.

“Every single showing this week we have there is from people up north or different states, either wanting to have a presence here, so they don’t have to commute back and forth, or wanting to get out and move their firm here,” Sheinberg said.

“The residential market is driving this,” LeBrun said.

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