Top 10: List of priciest property sales in Palm Beach County history

Palm Beach Outlets. Photo by Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post
Palm Beach Outlets. Photo by Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post

Rock-bottom interest rates and a rebounding economy created a commercial real estate boom in 2015, a year that saw two of the three priciest deals in Palm Beach County history.

I find 10 properties that have sold for more than $160 million (based on Palm Beach Post research, and with no adjustments for inflation):

1. The Mall at Wellington Green: $341.1 million (2014)

Starwood Capital Group bought the mall from Taubman Centers, according to a deed filed in October.

2. Palm Beach Outlets: $278.4 million (2015)

Clarion Partners of New York paid top dollar for the 460,000-square-foot property in West Palm Beach. The 300,000-square-foot strip center built by the same developers sold in December 2015 for $116.7 million.

3. Phillips Point: $245.5 million (2015)

The Class A office complex in West Palm Beach sold in May. The previous sale came in 2007 for $200 million.

4. Downtown at the Gardens: $200 million (2007)

This sale of the Palm Beach Gardens retail center in 2007 never was recorded, but an October 2014 deal for $141.5 million was.

 

5. Town Center Circle stores and offices: $193.8 million (2014)

Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors bought the 26-acre complex of stores and offices at 5050 Town Center Circle and 5200 Town Center Circle in Boca Raton.

6. T-Rex Corporate Center: $192.7 million (2005)

The former IBM campus in Boca Raton fetched top dollar.

7. Legacy Place: $180.2 million (2007)

A German investor bought the shopping center on PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens.

8. Office Depot’s Headquarters: $171 million (2011)

The retailer’s office building at 6600 N. Military Trail sold when the economy was still struggling.

9. PGA National Resort: $170 million (2006)

Sale was recorded for $10, but the true price later was revealed in a lawsuit.

10. Florida Research Park: $162 million (2007)

The 537-acre industrial tract west of Jupiter fetched big money in a sale to CalSTRS and First Industrial (NYSE: FR). But the property resold in December 2014 for a mere $29.8 million.

Jupiter shopping center sells for $26 million

ddr

The 140,000-square-foot shopping center at the northeast corner of Indiantown Road and Alternate A1A sold for $26.4 million, according to property records.

Tenants include Office Depot, Ross Dress for Less and TJ Maxx. The seller was an affiliate of Denver-based Prologis. The buyer is real estate investment trust DDR of Beachwood, Ohio.

The Jupiter property last sold in 2004 for $18.4 million.

Top 5: Priciest commercial property sales in 2015

Palm Beach Outlets. Photo by Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post
Palm Beach Outlets. Photo by Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post

The sale of Palm Beach Outlets was the biggest commercial real estate deal of the year in Palm Beach County. The top 5 for 2015 (with the obvious caveat that there are two days left for a blockbuster deal to close):

Palm Beach Outlets main mall: $278 million

In a stunning turnaround, the property at Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and Interstate 95 transformed from a failed mall into one of the county’s most valuable pieces of property. This deal was for the eastern half of the property, which includes 460,000 square feet of retail space. Tenants include Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, J.Crew, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, Kenneth Cole, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and Under Armour.

Phillips Point: $245.5 million

As West Palm Beach’s Class A office market tightens, the trophy address along the Intracoastal Waterway fetched big bucks.

Palm Beach Outlets strip center: $116.7 million

This was a separate deal for the 300,000-square-foot portion of the Palm Beach Outlets along I-95. Tenants include Whole Foods Market and Sports Authority.

TGM Vintage at Abacoa: $82 million

This 390-unit apartment complex in Jupiter fetched more than $200,000 a unit.

Mark at CityScape: $81.7 million

The sale of this luxury rental complex in Boca Raton reflects an apartment boom.

Many Palm Beach County renters are former owners who plan to buy again

The new Loftin Place apartments in West Palm Beach. (Bill Ingram/Palm Beach Post)
The new Loftin Place apartments in West Palm Beach. (Bill Ingram/Palm Beach Post)

Palm Beach County’s apartment tenants are a bruised but optimistic lot, according to a new survey by the National Multifamily Housing Council.

Reflecting just how hard the foreclosure crisis hit Palm Beach County, fully 54 percent of tenants say they’re former homeowners. Still, 72 percent of tenants say they hope to become homeowners within five years.

Palm Beach County’s apartment market has been marked by rising rents, falling vacancies and new construction. As part of its national survey of 120,000 tenants, the National Multifamily Housing Council queried 900 apartment dwellers in Palm Beach County. Among the findings:

Despite stagnant wages, most renters say their incomes are on the rise. Fully 57 percent say their household income has risen in the past five years. Only 14 percent say income has decreased.

Most are solidly middle class. Only a third of tenants report household incomes of less than $50,000. Fully 21 percent of renters say their household incomes are more than $100,000.

Millennials are the biggest demographic group. Renters ages 25 to 34 made up fully 28 percent of Palm Beach County tenants, the largest age group.

Rents are on the rise. More than half of tenants say their rent has gone up by 3 percent or more in the past year.

Pets are big business. Fully 43 percent of Palm Beach County renters say they own a pet, well above the national average of 33 percent.

Top 5: Priciest home sales in Palm Beach County in 2015

Five Palm Beach County mansions fetched more than $29 million in 2015. With the caveat that there are three days left in the year, here are the five priciest home sales of the year:

1300 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach, $71.2 million

Hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones II in March bought the Casa Apava estate.

800 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan, $33 million

The estate at 800 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan
The estate at 800 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan

This oceanfront estate includes two pools and a tennis court. It sold in September, a new record for a Manalapan mansion.

390 N. Lake Way, Palm Beach, $31.4 million

 

A Bain Capital exec appears to be the buyer of this mansion, the Shiny Sheet reports. It sold in December.

1095 N. Ocean, Palm Beach, May $31 million

John K. and Marianne Castle have sold 1095 N. Ocean Blvd, the former Kennedy family compound in Palm Beach. The Castles owned the oceanfront estate for 20 years. Photo by Jacek Gancarz
John K. and Marianne Castle have sold 1095 N. Ocean Blvd, the former Kennedy family compound in Palm Beach. The Castles owned the oceanfront estate for 20 years. Photo by Jacek Gancarz

The former Kennedy compound on the north end of the island sold in May.

200 Via Palma Palm Beach March $29.85 million

200_via_palma_high_res

A television magnate bought the house in May.

Jupiter apartments fetch top dollar

abacoa-iv

A newly built apartment complex in Jupiter just sold for $65 million, or nearly $214,000 a unit.

The 304-unit Abacoa IV Residences on Main Street traded hands just before Christmas, according to property records. The seller was NRP Group of Cleveland, the buyer KMF X Jupiter of Worthington, Ohio.

Palm Beach County’s apartment market has been on fire. This was the third big apartment deal in Jupiter in recent months. TGM Floresta sold for $76 million in June, and TGM Vintage at Abacoa fetched $82 million in May.

Reminder: Your old, battery-operated SunPass device is about to expire

The entrance to Florida's Turnpike at Okeechobee Boulevard. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
The entrance to Florida’s Turnpike at Okeechobee Boulevard. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Don’t forget: That old, battery-operated SunPass transponder in your car is about to expire on Dec. 31.

The Florida Department of Transportation said earlier this year that about 100,000 Floridians still had the old, suction-cupped devices, which are being phased out in favor of battery-free devices — part of a nationwide effort to link toll systems.

SunPass will replace your old transponder for free. For information on swapping your SunPass, visit www.sunpasstagswap.com or call 855-824-7927.

After the old SunPass transponders expire, travelers who choose not to upgrade will still be able to travel on Florida’s toll roads after Jan. 1 by paying cash (where still available) or via the Toll by Plate program.

Read more at myPalmBeachPost.com.

Here's everything you need to know about the SunPass transponder transition. (Provided)
Here’s everything you need to know about the SunPass transponder transition. (Provided)

Despite national drop, is Palm Beach County still a seller’s market?

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Home sales across the United States recorded a sharp plunge in November, but Palm Beach County remains a seller’s market, a local Realtor group said Tuesday.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales of existing homes collapsed 10.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.76 million. It was the weakest pace in 19 months.

But the numbers were a lot more robust in Palm Beach County. Single family home sales here registered a 7.4 percent increase, from 1,104 to 1,186 transactions. The median sale price also showed a healthy 11.3 percent gain, from $265,012 to $295,000.

“Although we are still in a seller’s market, November statistics showed signs that we are moving towards a more neutral real estate market that favors neither seller nor buyer,” said Matt Halperin, president of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches, in a statement. “The median sale price for single family homes is leveling, and months’ supply of inventory is continuing to inch towards the benchmark for equality.”

Still, sellers had to wait fewer days — median days on market decreased 40.3 percent to 37 days – and more bad news for scrambling buyers is that inventory levels fell 3.6 percent to 7,320.

The townhouses/condos sector also bore good tidings for sellers, though not in double-digit percentages. Closed sales rose just 2.1 percent to 865 transactions and the median price went up 5.3 percent to $140,000.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Median days on market for townhomes and condos also dropped 33.3 percent to 36 days.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales of existing homes collapsed 10.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.76 million. It was the weakest pace in 19 months.

The setback follows solid gains in real estate for much of 2015. Sales of existing homes are on track to rise roughly 5 percent for the entire year. But the introduction of a new disclosure form in October likely prevented many homebuyers from closing on sales in November. Home values are also rising at more than double the pace of wages.

The median home sales price was $220,300 in November, a 6.3 percent annual increase from a year ago. Sales fell in all major geographic regions, including the Northeast, Midwest, South and West.

The new rules introduced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to inform homebuyers about interest rates and fees may have delayed the completion of sales last month. It took 41 days to close a sale in November, compared to 36 days a year ago. The extended timeframe means that some sales may have been pushed back into December.

“The effect should be a one-time hit to the data and we expect the uptrend in sales to get back on track next month,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Still, an improving job market and relatively low mortgage rates have encouraged home-buying for this year. Unemployment at a healthy 5 percent has endowed more people with a sense of financial certainty.

But tight inventories and rising prices have curbed further gains. Sales have cooled after accelerating to a rate of 5.58 million in July. Relatively few properties are on the market as the economic expansion has crossed the six-year mark, with many homeowners still recovering equity lost during the Great Recession and the bursting of the housing bubble.

The number of listings on the market has dropped 1.9 percent from a year ago, a shortage that has restricted options for buyers and fueled escalating prices. As a result, more people have no choice but to rent. The share of homeowners has slipped to 63.7 percent from a high of 69.2 percent in 2004.

Low mortgage rates have minimized some of the financial pressure. Still, rates are higher than a year ago. The Federal Reserve hiked a key short-term rate last week, the first increase of its kind in nearly a decade as the economy appears solid enough to manage higher borrowing costs.

The average, 30-year fixed mortgage rate has risen to 3.97 percent from 3.8 percent a year ago, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

Boca Raton biotech to add 160 jobs

biotech

A Boca Raton biotech company will add 160 employees and expand its facility by 100,000 square feet, the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County said Wednesday.

KRS Global Biotechnology, which provides so-called compounding services to patients, hospitals, clinics, and universities, said it will stay at 791 Park of Commerce Blvd. in Boca Raton.

In an incentive package approved by Palm Beach County commissioners in September, the company was known as “Project Darwin.” In exchange for creating 160 jobs at a median salary of $58,000, KRS would receive $960,000 in tax refunds through the Quality Target Industry program, including $800,000 from the state and $160,000 from Palm Beach County. The company also will get $500,000 in Quick Action Closing Fund money.

“KRS’ decision to expand in Palm Beach County is a true testament to the technology and innovative economy that we have been developing for the past 10 years,” said Business Development Board Kelly Smallridge said in a statement.

The company has 57 employees now.

Read more on myPalmBeachPost.com.

How much will Fed rate hike raise mortgage payments?

house money

With the Federal Reserve all but certain to boost rates on Wednesday, home shoppers are left to wonder how the first such move in nearly a decade might affect their housing costs.

Here’s one educated guess: $29 a month. That’s assuming 30-year mortgage rates rise to 4.25 percent from 4 percent, and that you borrow $200,000 on a $250,000 home. (You can run your own numbers on our mortgage calculator.)

A survey released Tuesday by Zillow says 70 percent of home shoppers will be undaunted if rates rise to 4.5 percent, which is where economists expect they will be by mid-2016.

“If the Fed does decide to raise rates this week, as we expect them to, there is no need for future homebuyers to feel that they’ve missed the ideal window of time to purchase a home,” says Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages for Zillow Group. “It’s important to remember that while a hike would result in higher rates than we have been accustomed, they are still historically low.”

Just to be clear, the Federal Reserve doesn’t determine mortgage rates. But rising short-term rates, which the Fed does control, typically affect prices on home loans.