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Highways and Home Values

Highways and Home Values

The Landscape

For many of us transplants moving to Florida is a chance to enjoy nicer weather and spend our weekends at the beach. If you were lucky enough to grow up here you might not even know how good you have it! People come from all around the country to live out their days in sunny South Florida. So what is it that people love so much and how is that driving value in the real estate market?

As a Realtor and general real estate enthusiast, I spend a lot of time thinking about things like this. One thing that came to my attention early on was how certain boundaries had an immense impact on value. Take for instance communities like Loxahatchee. In this area you can get a large home and a large piece of property on a middle class salary. Now try to find that same large home 10 miles east in West Palm and the price shoots up. Now I know, I know, there are all sorts of other things that factor into value when it comes to real estate but in broad stroke generalizations value goes up the further east you go. So here are the three value segments:

West of I-95

Generally speaking things in this are are going to be cheaper. There is still land to be developed and most of the “new communities” I hear about are popping up on this side of the train tracks. If your primary concern is price and space this is a good place to look. The homes here are more likely to be newer, bigger, and cheaper. Of the three segments this is the blurriest however. This is a vast swath of land we’re talking about here and although the above statements are more likely to be true there is a lot of variety. But for some examples think about Loxahatchee, Jupiter Farms, Royal Palm, West Boca and West Lake Worth.

East of I-95

This is the beginning of the older communities. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that I-95 was completed in Palm Beach County so east of this boundary is where you will find most of the older homes. With age comes a premium however. Does this seem counter intuitive? From an age perspective maybe but from a land value perspective not at all. If you live on this side you are closer to the action. You have access to the downtown areas of West Palm, Lake Worth, and Delray. You are that much closer to the beach. Also many of these homes don’t have HOAs which as we all know can be a pain sometimes. I find that many people appreciate the old Florida homes as well. So if you want to experience south Florida at a little faster pace look here. I’m thinking specifically places like Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Jupiter, East Boca, and West Palm Beach. 

East of US-1

This mystical boundary adds even another layer of value to properties. For most of Palm Beach County crossing US-1 on your eastward journey means that you are only blocks from the Intercoastal Waterway. Upscale neighborhoods trickle towards the water. Once you’re there you encounter luxurious high-rise buildings and giant single-family estates. Being so close to these multi-million dollar homes it’s only natural that the buffering neighborhood gets a spike in value. 

The Island

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the various barrier islands and those lucky enough to live there. I didn’t include it as one of the geographic segments of value because it’s just too hard to generalize. I think of places like Singer Island, which is a stones throw to the north of Palm Beach Island, where you can buy a house for a fraction of the price. Or Juno Beach and Jupiter which are between the Intercoastal and the ocean but you can still find an affordable home. Since we’re on the topic, let me give you my favorite: Manalapan. An absolute gem of a town and one of the few places where A1A zigs in front of the homes and you get a stunning ocean view as you drive along.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. I know some people will disagree with this and argue that their home in Wellington is just as valuable as that mansion on the Intercoastal. Hey, maybe that’s true but remember this is a big ol generalization. One that I think becomes more pronounced the further east you go but definitely something to keep in mind when you’re looking for a home. Let me know your thoughts and feel free to reach out if you want to talk shop or need help with any of your real estate needs. 

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