Mind the gap: Palm Beach County home to three of nation’s most “unequal cities”


Palm Beach County, known for some of the nation’s priciest oceanfront real estate, is home to three of the nation’s six most “unequal cities,” Seattle-based brokerage Redfin says.

Redfin’s measure compares average prices in the top 5 percent of the market to average prices in the bottom 95 percent. Delray Beach ranks No. 2 nationally with luxury homes costing 7.7 times regular houses. Boca Raton is No. 4 at 6.5 times, while West Palm Beach is No. 6 with a ratio of 6.1.

Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson offers this analysis:

“It’s not surprising that you’re seeing so many Florida cities on this list of the most unequal housing markets in the country. The luxury market in Florida is driven more by foreign investors than by the local economy. The median income is a little under $45,000; that’s often times not enough to buy a house, let alone a luxury home. Unlike in some states, there aren’t really dominant tech, financial or fossil fuel industries that lead to high-paying jobs. Rather, the economy is driven by service workers and the tourism industry. Another barrier to luxury homeownership is the high cost of flood insurance and the large down payments that a lot of luxury developers require.”

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