Profiles on Ten Hot Cities
Everyone agrees that this is the perfect time to buy a new home. Interest rates are low and the construction industry, which fizzled during the recession, is now stronger than ever here in Florida. There are ten cities in particular where median prices for homes are robust, due in part to the state’s beautiful weather, and housing developments that are not only quiet and safe, but adjacent to nightlife, shopping, and other amenities. Here are the ten cities you should consider if you want to buy a home.
West Palm Beach
According to CNN Money, West Palm Beach was the fastest-growing housing market in 2014.Housing prices have risen 34% in the last year. People transplanted from the North are buying houses faster than ever in West Palm Beach, considering a home of similar size would cost at least twice as much back home. People love West Palm Beach for its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, its magnificent golfing, and its upscale Shops at CityPlace. The most popular neighborhoods right now are Palm Beach Lakes and Cypress Lakes, where houses can be snagged for under $250,000.
People love Boca Raton because it’s one of the premier resort destinations in Florida, so it’s only natural for people to want to live where they spent so many happy times in the past. Houses in Boca are priced similarly to West Palm Beach, and what draws people to Boca to live is that it’s very safe and quiet. Boca has great shopping and dining on its own, but it doesn’t hurt that West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale are just a car ride away. Boca Del Mar has beautiful homes in the $250k price range and also multi-million dollar mansions.
I’ve spent the last couple of years observing Fort Lauderdale, and after I talked to all of our realtors for this issue, it was so plain to see why this is one of the fastest-growing areas in Florida. Areas north of downtown, such as Oakland Park and Wilton Manors, are some of the safest in Broward County, and it doesn’t hurt that Wilton Manors especially is a hub for LGBT businesses and nightlife. The average home price has risen 25% between 2013 and 2014 alone, making it a good time to get in on low prices now. Many single-family homes in the area sell between $250k and $300k.
As people who live in Miami look for places in the suburbs to move, Hialeah has increasingly found its way to the top of everyone’s lists. While nearby areas like West Little River and Little Haiti have crime problems, Hialeah is not only safe and quiet, it’s an easy commute for anyone working along the I-95 corridor in South Florida. If you want some of the best housing deals in Florida, this is where you can snatch up a nice single-family home for under $200,000. Even larger, more spacious houses are selling under $300,000. Restaurants and shopping are in abundance here, making it a great place to relax at the end of the day.
Mayor Buddy Dyer has put a lot of time and resources into making Orlando a world-class city, and stepping into downtown, it definitely shows. Luxury high-rise condominium buildings now dot the skyline along with business skyscrapers. Thornton Park and Lake Eola are beautiful places to find your dream house. The area from Lake Eola from Eola Drive to Amelia Street is beautiful, safe, and competitively priced. Both of these neighborhoods have median listing prices in the range of $320,000, which is comparable to many other urban areas in the state.
As more and more people want to be close to Orlando, Daytona Beach is sprouting up as a great housing market. At the junction of Interstates 4 and 95, Daytona offers world-class amenities, and Orlando is less than 45 minutes away on the highway. Houses here are going up in price but you can still find most new single-family houses for under $200,000. Condominiums are pricier, but even they are going for above $300,000, which would be a steal in most other Florida cities. Whether you live on the beach or in downtown, Daytona is safe to walk during the day or at night.
Tampa’s downtown is growing at such a rapid pace. Just ten years ago the downtown was known for office buildings and not much else; in the past decade, thousands of residents have moved into new condominiums, which now boast 98% occupancy. The Channelside District is getting a much-needed revamp, adding to the shopping and nightlife Tampa is famous for. If you want a single-family home, the areas of Seminole Heights and Hyde Park have always been irresistible to the gay community. Ybor City is also wildly popular, with demand easily outnumbering the supply.
There are a lot of people looking to move right into the heart of Miami, and they’re coming from all over the world. Home prices have increased for the past three years in a row by double digits, so it means people know what they want and they’re willing to pay to get it. As a result, homes aren’t on the market for very long in Miami: on average, it takes 41 days to close on a house here, which is three days quicker than last year. Who can’t resist being in one of the nation’s most dynamic cities, amidst such beautiful scenery?
St. Petersburg has always been proud of its small-town feel. When coupled with world-class shopping and amenities, residents get the best of both worlds. The areas along Central Avenue have become a commercial haven, and in kind, people have responded by moving close by. Condos with views of the water are coveted. For single-family homes, Historic Kenwood is an area where gay people feel particularly at home. Cottages and bungalows in this area sport manicured lawns with pride flags flying from the rooftops. Many high-quality properties can still be snatched up at great prices.
Sarasota’s impressive population growth (2% in 2014 and forecast to be as high as 3.5% in 2015) has shown us that people from all age groups are moving there to take advantage of a charming downtown and an up-and-coming gay scene. The most recent mall built in the United States was built last year in Sarasota, and features the west coast of Florida’s only Saks Fifth Avenue, proving how well-heeled the area truly is. Look no further than Siesta Key or St. Armand’s Key for lavish and beautiful homes. Back to downtown, Laurel Park is a walkable and eclectic neighborhood perfect for home-buying. If you want something a little outside of town, consider Lakewood Ranch.