Palm Beach Real Estate

Palm Beach Real Estate News & Events

SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY Homes for Sale on Hypoluxo Island

Homes for Sale on Hypoluxo Island

Finest details and finishes are offered in this five-bedroom, six-bath home. The 9,754-square-foot European custom waterfront estate is at 1200 SE Atlantic Drive, on Hypoluxo Island.

Living areas have tumbled stone and hewn wood floors, mahogany paneling, cherry wood crown moldings and high ceilings. A gourmet kitchen features includes stainless steel appliances, a large center island, gas range, granite countertops and plenty of custom-built cabinets. A living room with soaring ceilings and beautiful Intracoastal views features a fireplace and built-in aquarium. A billiards room/den paneled with rich mahogany wood offers a wet bar. Each bedroom has its own bath with high-end stone finishes and custom cabinets.

The resort-style backyard features large covered areas, a summer kitchen, sparkling heated pool/spa and a dock.

Hypoluxo Island is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway on the Gold Coast in central Palm Beach County.

Fite Shavell & Associates lists the home at $4,850,000. Agents are Jack Elkins, 561-373-2198, jelkins@fiteshavell.com, and Bunny Hiatt, 561-818-6044, bhiatt@fiteshavell.com.

View entire article on the Florida Weekly website.

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Couple sells North End house finished last year to West Palm Beach man.

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Staff Writer

Completed in 2013, a custom-built home on the North End has changed hands for a recorded $6.6 million. Photo by Jeff Langlois.

In Palm Beach, the demand for new houses is as strong as an ocean rip current. Owners of recently completed custom-built homes are discovering they own prime real estate indeed.

Which might explain at least part of the reason that an Ohio racetrack owner has sold the custom home he and his wife completed last year on the North End at 200 Ocean Terrace. The four-bedroom Bermuda-style house was not on the market when it changed hands for $6.6 million via a deed recorded last week.

Brock E. Milstein sold the property as trustee of a revocable trust in his name. The 6,612-square-foot house was bought by Timothy C. Davidson of West Palm Beach, the deed shows. Davidson is affiliated in business records with a family company named Somerset Capital Partners.

Lynn Warren of Fite Shavell & Associates

Milstein’s trust bought a 1950s-era house on the property from Arthur Oldham II for $1.425 million in April 2011 and demolished it.

Michael Perry of MP Design and Architecture designed the new Bermuda-style house for Milstein and his wife, Kimberley, according to town records. One lot west of the beach, the house stands on a lot measuring a third of an acre, a mile north of the Palm Beach Country Club.

Milstein is chairman of the board Hard Rock Casino Northfield Park, a racetrack with entertainment near Cleveland, and managing director of Milstein Capital Group. His wife is an entrepreneur.

Fite Shavell agents Lynn Warren and Gary Little acted on behalf of the Milsteins. They served that role three years ago when the Milsteins bought the property, opposite Corcoran Group listing agents Elizabeth Cleckner and John Pangborn.

Gary Little of Fite Shavell & Associates

In last week’s deal, Corcoran agent Andrew J. Reynolds represented the buyer, whose parents once lived on the island. The house’s location near the beach was a plus, Reynolds said. So was the fact that it had sophisticated wiring for electronics and a long list of other “custom features” that you might not find in a newer house developed on speculation.

The Milsteins declined to comment, and Davidson couldn’t be reached.

View entire article on the Palm Beach Daily News website.

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SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY Homes for Sale in West Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in West Palm Beach

Bamboo Hill was created by Lars Bolander, inspired by plantation architecture and lifestyles from extensive travel to exotic places around the world.

The main house is designed with a large living room, soaring ceilings, and open beams with a series of French doors that open to the terrace and lush gardens, creating seamless flow between interior and exterior spaces.

All bedrooms open to balconies or outdoor areas affording maximum exposure to the exotic tropical gardens. The unique dine-in kitchen is comfortable, casual and elegant, ideally suited for entertaining family and guests.

The home has four bedrooms and 4½ baths and is at 260 Palmetto Lane, West Palm Beach.

Fite Shavell & Associates lists the estate at $4,850,000. Agents are Sylvia James, 561-371-0303, sjames@fiteshavell.com, and Pat McInerney, 561-758-0759, pmcinerney@fiteshavell.com.

View entire article on the Florida Weekly website.

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By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Staff Writer Townhomes for Sale in Palm Beach

Townhomes for Sale in Palm Beach

Speaking of new construction, agents Toni Hollis and Gloria Moré of Fite Shavell & Associates recently co-listed two townhouses under construction at 176 Sunset Ave.

Developed by Palm Beacher John Flynn Sr. and his son, John Flynn Jr., the luxury project is rising on a former parking lot in a prime location, one parcel east of North County Road and a bit north of the historic post office building. The project should be completed next season.

Hollis and Moré’s listing describes the attached Georgian-style residences as a rare opportunity to buy a “most luxurious” new townhome on the island.

The price falls in line with that description — $6 million for 4,718 square feet of total space that includes four bedrooms, a library and a private 40-foot lap pool. Architect Daniel Menard of LaBerge and Menard designed the project, which is under construction by Wildes Builders. Steve Kvarnberg of KVLA Design is handling the landscaping.

Flynn Sr. and his wife, Leona, have a home on the North End, but the townhouses are the family’s first Palm Beach development. A limited liability company under their control paid a recorded $2.5 million for the lot last December in an off-the-market deal, records show.

The family’s Equity Enterprises USA recently announced plans for a major mixed-use development on more than 6 acres near downtown Delray Beach. The Flynn family also owned the recently closed J. Flynn’s Restaurant on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach.

With strong ties to Ireland, the Flynns are known for their developments in the United Kingdom, where Georgian townhouses are an architectural staple. It’s no surprise, also, that the two Palm Beach townhomes have been christened with names imported from across the pond — Cambridge House and Windsor House.

The project’s website, by the way, includes a nifty animated tour of the project at CambridgeAndWindsorHouses.com.

View entire article on the Palm Beach Daily News website.

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SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY Homes for Sale in Manalapan

Homes for Sale in Manalapan

One of only two direct Oceanfront estates on Manalapan, this estate offers more than 300 feet of direct ocean frontage. The Tahitian/Modern Transitional style of the house encompasses the best of modern beach living. The compound at 1370 Ocean Blvd. has been completely renovated and is nearing completion this season. The newly redone house features seven bedrooms, 10.2 bathrooms, a guesthouse, a new pool recreation area with slide and rocks imported from Hawaii and a 12-person Jacuzzi with rock waterfalls.

A “bat cave” (underground, with a special waterfall feature) for the ultimate car collector, can hold six to 10 cars in addition to the 10 to 12-car garage located in the main house, for a total of up to 22 cars.

A new dock features two lifts and the ability (with modifications) to hold a 150-foot-plus yacht. The estate offers all new hurricane doors and windows, new roofing with issonean, new electric, all-new energy efficient HVAC, new interior foundation (all concrete), a full exercise wing (second floor with ocean and lake views) with massage room, spa retreat, meditation area and outdoor relaxation loggia.

The expansive grounds allow for a vast variety of options to the new owner, there is room for several options: tennis court, croquette court, putting greens, Zen gardens, rose gardens, or whatever amazing new concept that may have not been thought of yet.

The main house offers seven bedrooms including a master wing with his/hers baths and closets; five oversized guest rooms, each with en suite baths; and an overflow guest/staff bedroom with an en suite bath. The second floor south wing contains the master suite, three guest suites and a private family room.

The “sky bridge” connects to the north wing with the exercise/spa/relaxation rooms and outside loggia. The first floor north wing contains two guest suites with breakfast bar and kitchen for guests. There are three staircases on the main level leading to either the second floor or lower level, in addition to two elevators located on the south and north side of the main house.

The main entry is two stories tall, featuring a limestone fountain wall and a dramatic view of the ocean leading into the main living room, which features 30-foot floor-to-ceiling windows.

The formal living room is the ideal place for entertaining; adjoining is a full wet bar and game area. Toward the south wing of the house, there is a large art gallery leading into the more informal parts of the estate. The south wing contains a large family room, with 30-foot floor-to-ceiling windows looking through to the kitchen, several seating areas, sit-up bars, and through to the casual pool family room/loggia areas.

The kitchen is designed as the heart of this area. Being in the center of the south wing, it services both family rooms (pool and casual) as well as the butler’s panty and dining area. There is also the possibility to have a very large glass wine cellar with tasting area off the kitchen. The kitchen has 180-degree views of the family rooms, ocean and pool area.

Jack Elkins & Bunny Hiatt of Fite Shavell & Associates

The estate features four Mielie dishwashers, four ovens, warming drawers, two cook stations, Carrera marble and a full barista bar. The formal dining room overlooks the waterfalls, front lawn and gardens/ponds. The lower level of the house has a semi-open movie theater and game area/arcade on the north end with a half-bath and wet bar/candy case. A staircase leads down to this area from the kitchen/family room area. In the lower level there are several large storage rooms, equipment rooms, main house garages, and some private areas that can only be disclosed to the new owner.

Fite Shavell & Associates lists the estate at $30,499,000. Agents are Jack Elkins, 561-373-2198, jelkins@fiteshavell.com, and Bunny Hiatt, 561-818-6044, bhiatt@fiteshavell.com.

View entire article on the Florida Weekly website.

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SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Offered is luxury new construction at 225 West Indies Drive, Palm Beach — on an exceptional street.

Available for the 2014/15 season, this Bermuda style home, built by Wittmann Builders, is the only new construction available in the near North End. This home offers 5,302 total square feet with four bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms.

It features premium appliances, custom millwork and high ceilings. Nievera/ Williams landscaping on an oversized lot and a full generator – are offered.

The home is listed by Fite Shavell & Associates at $6,250,000. The agent is Hazel Rubin, 917-975-2413, hrubin@@fiteshavell.com.

View entire article on the Florida Weekly website.

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SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY Townhomes for Sale in Palm Beach

Townhomes for Sale in Palm Beach

North Elevation of Cambridge House & Windsor House

Offered are the most luxurious planned townhomes in Palm Beach in the last 13 years. Featured are a fantastic 40-foot lap pool, high ceilings, large windows, and 4,718 square feet of luxury. In-town location, located at 176 Sunset Ave. Close to everything — restaurants, shopping and banks.

Features four bedrooms, 5.5 baths, library, and many fantastic amenities. Bright, light and airy.

For more information, see cambridgeanwindsorhouses.com.

Fite Shavell & Associates lists them at $6 million. Agents are Toni Hollis, 561-373-1835, thollis@fiteshavell.com, and Gloria More, 561- 373-7444, gmore@fiteshavell.com.

View entire article on the Florida Weekly website.

South Elevation

Floor Plan-First Floor

Floor Plan-Second Floor

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Prices so far range from about $5 million to $7.5 million.

By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Staff Writer Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

235 Eden Road, Palm Beach. To be Listed by Paula Wittmann of Fite Shavell & Associates for $7.495M.

If you want a quick snapshot of how prices for mid-priced houses built on speculation have evolved in Palm Beach over the past couple of years, consider two homes built by Robmar Realty. The company was founded by Palm Beacher Mark Goldman and son Robert Goldman of New York City.

In April 2012, Robmar sold its first luxury spec house, a two-story, 5,876-square-foot home that changed hands for a recorded $3.77 million at 212 Nightingale Trail. It was one of the only homes of its type built during the recession years.

This month, agent Hazel Rubin of Fite Shavell & Associates expects to list Robmar’s latest project, a four-bedroom, 5,302-square-foot spec home nearing completion at 225 West Indies Drive. On a larger lot than the Nightingale Trail house, the price of the one-story, Bermuda-style house built by Wittmann Building Corp. is $6.25 million.

225 West Indies Road, Palm Beach. Listed by Hazel Rubin of Fite Shavell & Associates for $6.25M.

“At the end of the day, you have to look at your costs and what the home is worth,” said Mark Goldman.

Here are some other North End spec houses that will be available this season or shortly after:

* Agent Paula Wittmann of Fite Shavell has set a price of $7.495 million for a Bermuda-style spec house in the final construction stages at 235 Eden Road by Wittmann Building Corp. Scheduled to enter the local multiple listing service by the end of the month, the four-bedroom house has 6,221 square feet, inside and out.

* Agent Judge Moss of Sotheby’s International Realty has listed an in-the-works Malasky Homes project at a pre-construction price of $4.95 million — a four-bedroom, 4,900-square-foot spec house at 264 Country Club Road. The West Indies-style house should be finished sometime this spring, Moss said.

212 Nightingale Trail, Palm Beach. Sold by Hazel Rubin of Fite Shavell & Associates for $3.77M.

* Broker Christian Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate has set a pre-construction price of $5.88 million for a five-bedroom, 4,941-square-foot house underway at 240 Angler Ave. With a completion date set for February, the West Indies-style home is being built by island-based Sicame Homes and developed by its parent company, Sciame Development of New York City.

* The Sciame companies also are hoping to break ground within the next two weeks on a spec house at 225 Plantation Road of similar style and size to the one on Angler Avenue. It should be completed by early next summer, and no price has yet been set, Angle said.

* Corcoran Group real estate agent and developer Richard True has completed a new spec house on the northern tip of the island at 119 E. Inlet Drive, listed for sale at $5.495 million. The British West Indies-style house has four bedrooms and 4,800 total square feet of living space, inside and out. The house marks True’s return to the island’s development scene after taking a hiatus during the recession.

* The Corcoran Group also will be marketing two new spec houses that should be finished this winter — a five-bedroom house with 6,182 total square feet at 256 Palmo Way and a slightly smaller four-bedroom home at 1269 N. Lake Way. Developed by E. Llwyd Ecclestone III, both houses will feature architecture described in town records as “classical tropical.” Prices will be set when the houses are nearer completion, said Bill Yahn of the Corcoran Group.

Palazzo Villas, 215 Brazilian Avenue, Palm Beach. Listed by Chris Deitz of Fite Shavell & Associates for $6.25M-$6.75M.

“Given the low inventory and high demand, we anticipate they will sell when we put them on the market, but we are purposely not marketing them now,” Yahn said, “as we’ve found buyers don’t really appreciate them until they are nearing completion.”

Meanwhile, in Midtown, ground broke last week on a luxury townhouse project named Palazzo Villas at 215 Brazilian Ave., just west of South County Road. The project is a joint partnership that includes Brian J. Mylett’s Capital Development Group International Inc.; Josh McAlees is the builder.

The units, with about 6,100 total square feet each, have been listed for sale by agent Chris Deitz of Fite Shavelltwo at $6.25 million and two at $6.75 million. The project could be completed within 14 months, Deitz said.

HIGHER END SPEC HOUSES LAG BEHIND MARKET

Most-expensive new estates won’t be finished until next season, if then.

A number of builders and developers are working on larger Palm Beach houses — developed on speculation — in the upper price ranges. They’ll boast the sort of features upper-end buyers expect, from generously sized rooms and closets the size of bedrooms, to lavish views, fine interior finishes and lavishly appointed outdoor entertaining areas.

But don’t expect to see much except construction work during the coming season.

Boca Raton-based builder Mark Pulte of Mark Timothy Inc. is finishing up a house at 390 N. Lake Way that may be marketed this season as a spec project, said agent Jim McCann of the Corcoran Group. If so, it would be a rare lakefront property in that category.

Cambridge House & Windsor House townhomes, 176 Sunset Road, Palm Beach. Listed by Toni Hollis & Gloria More of Fite Shavell & Associates. Each townhome is priced at $6M.

The two-story, five-bedroom house — with about 13,000 square feet — features architecture in a modified Georgian-style and occupies a lot measuring about two-thirds of an acre with 130 feet of frontage on Lake Worth. A price hasn’t been set for the house, which is on track to be completed early next year and likely would be sold furnished, said McCann. He declined to identify the project’s financial backer, and Pulte couldn’t reached for comment.

In addition, Mark Timothy Inc. is building two other Palm Beach homes said to be spec projects, but neither is ready to be listed for sale. One is a beachfront estate at 6 N. Ocean Lane on the North End. The other is a newer lakefront project on land in the 1300 block of South Ocean Boulevard, formerly part of Dwight and Martha Schar’s historic Casa Apava estate.

Back on the near North End, Angle is marketing spec home under construction by Malasky Homes at 301 Maddock Way near the lakefront. It should be finished by the end of next summer or early next fall, according to builder and developer Donald Malasky. At the corner of North Lake Way, the British Colonial-style house has six bedrooms and 11,464 square feet. It’s in the local multiple listing service with an in-construction price of $12.5 million.

Farther north, a West Indies-style house is under way at 225 Indian Road at the northern tip of the island. The 12,564-square-foot, nine-bedroom house faces 217 feet of inlet frontage, and is being built and developed by the Frisbie family, which last season sold a lakefront spec house on Antiqua Lane in Midtown for nearly $29 million. The Indian Road house should be finished next season, and no price has yet been set, said Corcoran Group agent Suzanne Frisbie, who hasn’t yet listed it for sale.

There also are several major oceanfront spec estates going up on the North End and points south. But by and large, the developers who fund them — whose identities are often cloaked by limited liability companies — have been largely keeping mum about the projects, and none of the properties is listed in MLS. On the beachfront, major spec estates are under way at 101 Indian Road — involving an investment group linked to developer Robert Fessler — as well as next door at 1695 N. Ocean Way, which is owned by a limited liability company named after the property’s address.

And one not-yet-built spec mansion on the South End’s beachfront is no longer in MLS, having been listed last season at $65 million. Sotheby’s International Realty agent Jay Dewing said last week he did not have information about whether the proposed 20,000-square-foot British Colonial-style house at 1900 S. Ocean Blvd. would be relisted. The property is owned by a trust in the name of Keith Frankel.

View entire article on the Palm Beach Daily News website.

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SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY Townhomes for Sale in Palm Beach Gardens

Townhomes for Sale in Palm Beach Gardens

Offered is a 3,155 square foot, three-story townhome, overlooking the marina with many amenities. Marina slips are available for sale or lease and can accommodate up to a 75-foot yacht. A clear, glass elevator is offered for your convenience. All appliances are upgraded, the home has a new AC unit, and offers three bedrooms, four bathrooms and a two-car garage with extra parking. The first floor billiard room has an efficiency kitchen and can be easily converted into a 4th bedroom, maid, or mother-in-law suite.

The gated community offers security for the marina. It’s centrally located in the heart of Palm Beach Gardens and very close to all amenities and beaches. A sought-after community.

Fite Shavell & Associates lists the home at 2 Marina Gardens Dr., Palm Beach Gardens, at $1,050,000. The agent is Susan DeSantis, 561-301-4888, sdesantis@fiteshavell.com.

View entire article on the Florida Weekly website.

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In struggle to meet buyer demand, luxury ‘spec’ home developers have been stymied by limited inventory, rising land prices. Home for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Staff Writer

Take a drive on a fall morning through Palm Beach and you’ll likely find yourself sharing the road with about as many concrete mixers and construction trucks as Mercedes-Benzes and Land Rovers.

And what are those work trucks doing? They’re making up for lost time.

Or rather, they’re trying to help developers keep up with the demand for new houses, a demand sparked by buyers who have returned to the island with cash and a desire for a house that is move-in ready.

New Construction on Palm Beach: 225 West Indies Drive, Palm Beach. Listed by Hazel Rubin of Fite Shavell & Associates for $6.250M.

What house-hunters are finding is a lack of new homes, a direct consequence of the recession years, when building on the island all but ground to a halt. That means never-lived-in luxury homes, funded by developers on speculation, are rare finds indeed. Only a handful were built during the slowest years of the recession, and those have since sold, including several major waterfront spec mansions that changed hands for between $20 million and $42 million within the past two years.

Likewise, far fewer custom homes were built during the recession, sharply limiting the number of newer homes available for turn-around sales. Even good-quality renovated houses are in short supply.

New Construction on Palm Beach: Palazzo Villas, 215 Brazilian Avenue. Listed by Chris Deitz of Fite Shavell & Associates. Two townhomes priced at $6.25M & two townhomes at $6.75M.

New Construction on Palm Beach: Palazzo Villas at 215 Brazilian Avenue. Listed by Chris Deitz of Fite Shavell & Associates. Pre-Construction Pricing from $6.25M.

“What’s happening right now is that a lot of people are coming down, and they’re scrambling to find something to move into for the season,” said longtime Palm Beach builder Paul Wittmann of Wittmann Building Corp. “There is definitely a lack of newer houses.”

Over the past year, Wittmann and other builders and developers have been working feverishly to fill those gaps, especially on the house-dense North End, where houses built during the 1950s and 1960s have been ripe targets for replacement.

New home permits up

With the economic recovery, the number of demolition permits and new-home building permits issued by the town has soared over the past couple of years — and most of those are for projects on the North End. Over the past 12 months, town records show, as many as 23 permits have been issued town-wide for the construction of new houses, and many of those are custom homes. For the same period three years ago during the recession, there were just 13 new-home permits.

New Construction on Palm Beach: Cambridge House & Windsor House at 176 Sunset Avenue. Listed by Toni Hollis & Gloria More of Fite Shavell & Associates. Each Townhome Pre-Construction Priced for $6 Million.

A new analysis prepared by the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach also demonstrates the breadth of recent change on the North End. The report examined house demolitions between October 2008 — the start of the recession — and July of this year. Nearly 50 percent of the demolitions occurred during the past two years.

The frenzy has left many would-be home buyers and spec developers struggling to find suitable properties on a built-out island where prices have soared, thanks to the laws of supply and demand. Compounding the problem is a tighter-than-tight inventory of houses listed for sale.

The reason for the inventory crunch? Some would-be sellers are holding onto properties while prices rise, and others don’t want to part with their homes until they’re sure they can find something to move into that’s comparable. And some simply are content to remain where they are for the time being, having emerged from the real estate bust a little more cautious about trading up.

Intense competition

The numbers tell the story: As of early last week in Palm Beach, 101 single-family homes, including townhouses, were available in Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service – the lowest number in recent memory, brokers agree. Last year’s number was 120, at the time representing a new low.

Meanwhile, available MLS-listed properties last week in the “land” category, totaled just nine, of which three were houses advertised for replacement.

No wonder that Palm Beach’s housing picture has become more competitive than ever for home buyers and their real estate agents — and developers, too.

Paula Wittmann of Fite Shavell & Associates

Take Wittmann, for example. Later this month, he will debut a Bermuda-style spec house he built in partnership with investor Peter Callahan at 235 Eden Road on a prime street in the North End. Wittmann’s wife, real estate agent Paula Wittmann of Fite Shavell & Associates, will list the four-bedroom Bermuda-style house with 6,221 square feet, inside and out, at a price of just under $7.5 million.

Paula already has gotten calls from six brokers who want to see it as soon as it’s available,” her husband said.

That’s the sort of buyer interest that has been good news for builder-developer Donald Malasky, a Palm Beacher who heads his family business, Malasky Homes. Last season, Malasky sold two North End spec houses in the British Colonial style before they were finished. A 4,916-square-foot house at 226 Jamaica Lane brought $4 million, while a 5,400-square foot home at 226 Kenlyn Road sold for $4.13 million.

Palm Beach has come back big,” said Malasky, who has broken ground on another house, intended as a spec home, of about 4,550 square feet. That four-bedroom, Mediterranean-style home in Midtown is at 310 Australian Ave. — but buyers shouldn’t get their hopes up.

“It’s pre-sold,” Malaksy said, declining to discuss the contract price. “It sold before we poured the slab.”

All about the ‘dirt’

Many of the spec projects under way are on choice North End streets within a few blocks of the Palm Beach Country Club, where some lots are 100 feet by 140 feet, far bigger than usual, said the Corcoran Group’s Bill Yahn, senior regional vice president and head of the agency’s Palm Beach office.

The size allows the lots to accommodate larger spec homes with fine interior finishes and layouts designed for indoor-outdoor living. They will carry prices big enough to justify the cost of the “dirt,” as developers and brokers call it.

“I note that (tear-down houses in) the current spec inventory — few that there are — are priced at or above $1,200 per square foot. Some of the new ones already announced by other brokers are well above $ 1,300 per square foot,” Yahn said.

Town Councilman Bill Diamond, builder Josh McAlees and developer Brian Mylett take part in a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for Palazzo Villas, a complex of four townhomes to be built on speculation at 215 Brazilian Ave. just west of South County Road. The project could be completed in 14 months, according to the development team. Pre-construction prices are $6.25 million and $6.75 million. Photo by Meghan McCarthy.

“This is consistent with the increase in prices up and down the coast of southeast Florida – and a function of the appreciation of tear-down properties being acquired by developers. It’s very difficult now to find a decent, buildable lot — large enough to accommodate a 4,000-square-foot or larger finished home — for under $2.3 million on the island.”

In today’s market, the expected price for such properties might easily exceed $3 million – especially if the property comes with amenities such as deeded beach access and the use of a neighborhood cabana, he added.

“To reward the developer for his effort and risk, a finished home on a $3 million site would likely be priced approaching $7 million. New homes priced in the $6 millions may become a thing of the past after 2015,” Yahn said.

In the Estate Section, about the closest thing to a high-end spec house on the market right now is landmarked Villa Tranquilla at 640 S. Ocean Blvd., with a price tag of $42.9 million. Thanks to a top-to-bottom, multi-year renovation and expansion that left nothing untouched, the 1923 house on the ocean — equipped with smart-home technology — is being marketed as new construction by broker Linda Gary of Linda A. Gary Real Estate. The project is just finishing up, and the house hasn’t been lived in since work began, she said.

On the higher end

Malasky is equally aware of the numbers. He said he hopes to add to his portfolio of spec projects a property in the Estate Section his company has under contract. He provided few details about the project.

“If this deal goes, we’re projecting a house (with a price tag) of a least $17 million,” he said. “It’s very difficult to buy a piece of ground right now. We’re cautious. But we know how to evaluate the market.”

Longtime Palm Beach builder and developer Dan Swanson of Addison Development, likewise, said he has already “secured” one property — although the sale hasn’t yet closed — for a new higher-end spec development. It could break ground this season, he added. And he’s working on one other potential purchase, he said, although he would not provide details about either deal.

Last season, Swanson sold the last of his two recession-era spec mansions — an oceanfront house at 101 El Bravo Way — for a recorded $30 million. He said he’d like his next project to be on a smaller-scale.

“We’ve done so many high-end projects, But there’s a big, big hole right now for (spec) houses in the $15 million to $30 million range,” he said. “And it’s hard to find the land.”

Ready to renovate?

So where does all that leave house-hunters this season? Until more would-be sellers decide to take the plunge, many shoppers just won’t have the option of buying something brand new, at least for the short term.

In the higher end, that probably means commissioning a new custom home or embarking on the renovation of an older one.

And in the lower end, brokers say, the most cost-effective option is likely to renovate — and possibly add on to — an older house on a standard-size lot. On the North End, at least, those can still be had for prices hovering at or just below the $2 million mark.

And, as builders like to say, there’s always next season.

View entire article on the Palm Beach Daily News website.

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