Palm Beach County Home Construction Surges

housing startsNew home construction in Palm Beach County rebounded strongly last year as resale inventory tightened and the economy continued its rally.

Developers began construction on 2,053 homes countywide in 2013, a 13 percent increase from the previous year, according to the latest analysis from the Royal Palm Beach-based company MetroStudy.

The Treasure Coast also saw gains in home building with St. Lucie and Martin counties experiencing jumps of 139 percent and 42 percent respectively.

“I’m looking at 2012 as sort of the first full recovery year for the housing market locally and nationally,” said David Cobb, MetroStudy’s South Florida regional director. “In 2013, we’re talking about the best numbers we’ve seen in six or seven years.”

In Wellington’s Olympia, once a community struggling with vacancies and foreclosures, just three furnished models and one spec home are left for sale. At the same time, new projects, such as the 110-home Capistara development in suburban Lake Worth are just getting started.

Lennar Homes, which is building Capistara, also has two other new communities that broke ground last year. Wellington Parc is a community of 92 townhomes north of Lake Worth Road on State Road 7. Aspen Glen, which broke ground in September, will have 45 homes in Boynton Beach.

“We had a very nice 2013,” said Frank Fernandez, director of sales and marketing for Lennar Homes. “I would say it was a lot better than 2012.”

The National Association of Home Builders estimates that each single-family home built generates three jobs and $90,000 in tax revenue.

Nationally, sales of new homes in 2013 rose to their highest level in five years. A report last week from the Commerce Department found buyers purchased an estimated 428,000 new homes in 2013, a 16.4 percent increase from the previous year and 38 percent higher than the record low measured in 2011.

During the real estate boom — between 2003 and 2006 — more than 1 million homes were sold annually each year.

“I’m not seeing that kind of frenzy today,” said Palm Beach Gardens-based Realtor Linda Costanza. “I’m seeing comfortable, good market changes that are healthy for our communities and healthy for the region.”

In the Southern region of the U.S., a 17-state area that includes Florida, the Commerce Department measured a 28 percent increase in new home sales last year from 2012.

The 2013 median sales price nationally for a new home was $265,800, up from $245,200 the previous year.

Cobb said new homes in Palm Beach County are nearing a median price of $600,000, an increase of 11 percent from 2012.

“We don’t expect price increases to be as rapid in 2014,” said Cobb, noting that market constraints such as lack of land and labor could impact costs. “In some cases, builders are only releasing a certain number of homes each month because they don’t have the worker capacity to do more than that.”


Source:  Palm Beach Post