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December: Letter From Palm Beach: Back On Track!

Back On Track!
Lisa and John Cregan
#1 Ranked Team at Sotheby’s Palm Beach
All Aboard!
Whether you think of Henry Flagler as a railroad baron or a hotel tycoon, he was at heart a real estate guy. He built his railroad to bring guests to his hotels. And he built his hotels to sell those guests Florida real estate. What better venue for the modern day investment buccaneers at Fortress Investment to repeat Flagler’s formula than by rebooting his old Florida East Coast (FEC) rail line?
Flagler was a sharp negotiator– the FEC owns its right-of-way free and clear, from Jacksonville to Miami, along with sizable adjacent real estate. When they purchased the rights to the rail line, Fortress’s investment thesis was that just running freight trains through some of the country’s most desirable vacation destinations was a serious underutilization. In January 2018 Fortress launched Florida East Coast 2.0 with a private high-speed rail line, The Brightline, shuttling passengers between West Palm, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. If you’ve ever tried to drive to a 9am appointment in Miami, you know what a win this is for Palm Beachers. An I-95 drive that could take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours is now an ultra-reliable 75 minutes– 14 times a day! –with monthly passes, premium cars, WiFi and bar service. For anyone who needs to get to Miami with any frequency, it’s a game-changer.
Fortress’s original vision was to make as few stops as possible in order to keep travel times short. But the by-passed communities had other ideas. The original West Palm-Ft Lauderdale-Miami route now includes stops at Boca Raton and Aventura. The same will inevitably happen as they connect Jacksonville, Orlando and someday, Tampa.
The Brightline start-up has gone more slowly than it’s investors would like (Covid didn’t help) but you only have to look at the bustle of new apartments and offices around its West Palm station to see that Flagler’s old business plan has weathered the years just fine. And as for customers? Well, if our choice is settling in for a European-style train journey or enduring a truck-dodging, accident-riddled highway drive… you get where we’re going.
Florida East Coast train arriving on the Palm Beach spur in front of Flagler’s
Hotel Royal Poinciana
Market Color: Hemingway’s Dictum
As an exasperated Hemingway pointed out to Scott Fitzgerald, the difference between the rich and the rest of us is staggeringly simple, “They have more money.”
How much more? Well, enough that little hiccups like 100% mortgage rate increases apparently don’t put a dent in their appetite for Palm Beach real estate.
Here are the asking or closing prices on nine properties that went recently to contract: $66m-$51m-$49m-$48m-$37m-$35m-$29m-$24m-$23.75m
And that last one was a condo, purchased by the Patriots’ Robert Kraft. The $51m home? That went to newly minted billionaire Tom Ford.
Supply at the high-end seems to have brought its own demand. Maybe investors looking for diversification, maybe refugees from Massachusetts’ new tax regime or maybe just Northerner’s seeking warmth, but for the right property the buyers are out there.
The low end, or what passes for such in Palm Beach, has been busy as well. Our little one-bedroom listing at Island House received multiple offers and sold above asking. Other well-priced condos in good buildings have sold quickly in the $1m-$3m range as well.
So what’s causing the upward slope in the Active Inventory chart above? It’s our expanding middle of $5-15m properties (we know it’s crazy, but that is the middle). Right now there are 45 Palm Beach homes, condos and townhouses listed in that range. Buying opportunities are building.
Year 2022 Averages
In-Town Condos
Year 2022 Averages
In-Town Single Family Homes
Year 2022 Averages
North End Single Family Homes
*Our Listing* 153 Kings Road Estate Coming to Town for MLK Weekend?
Open House this Saturday 1/14 3-5pm
*Our Listing* Big 4 Bedroom Townhouse
Steps to Beach, Restaurants and Shops
160 Sunset Avenue

160 Sunset Avenue 160, Palm Beach


4 Bedrooms  6 Bathrooms  4,530 Sq Ft.
This elegant 5,000 sqft townhouse lives like a spacious seaside villa- one that’s literally steps to the beach! Built in 2004 and fastidiously maintained by the original owner, it’s perfect for a buyer who does not want the upkeep headaches of an older house or large yard. The ocean block of Sunset is a dead end street that terminates at the beach gate. An ideal location-quiet and private- but still walkable to the Breakers and Royal Poinciana Plaza and all their adjacent shops and restaurants. With over 4,500 sqft of living area, an elevator, 4 bedrooms, multiple office spaces and an air conditioned two car garage there’s plenty of room for family and guests. Given its modern kitchen and baths, outdoor gas grill and beautiful private pool, it’s completely ready for move-in for the 2022-23 season. 12′ ceilings on the 1st floor, 10’+ in the Master bedroom. The house has great entertaining spaces, including a large covered terrace overlooking the pool. Kitchen has a two-sided Subzero fridge, with four freezer drawers, Wolf gas range, 2 Miele dishwashers, built-in microwave and air fryer.
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*Our Listing* North End Beach Lifestyle Renovation Ready for Spring 2023
255 El Pueblo Way

255 El Pueblo Way, Palm Beach


4 Bedrooms  4 Bathrooms  3,408 Sq Ft.
This exceptional 1939 Belford Shumate home is currently under renovation with completion expected yearend 2022. The 4BR/4BA Bermuda style house sits on a prime North End block with a neighborhood beach terrace at one end and Lake Trail access at the other. The house features vaulted beamed ceilings, an open-plan, indoor-outdoor kitchen/dining area where sliding glass doors open out to a 25′ pool. In the new eat-in kitchen, French doors lead to an open-air breakfast garden. The new cypress paneled family room overlooking the pool could easily be converted to a downstairs primary bedroom suite complete with a 15′ x 20′ terrace shaded by a louvered pergola. This sun-filled house brings the outdoors in with large picture windows looking onto a tropical landscape planned by Keith Williams of Niervera Williams on a 12,600 sqft lot. The thorough renovation includes new roof, impact windows, new air conditioning, electrical, security, and sound systems while preserving the home’s charming original details. If you’re looking for new construction on a quiet street (you can hear the ocean) with the romance of old Palm Beach, this is a must-see.
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*Our Listing* Exquisite New Home Montecito Style on the West Palm Waterfront
2305 S Flagler Drive

2305 S Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach


4 Bedrooms  6 Bathrooms  5,423 Sq Ft.
Heaven on the El Cid waterfront. Impeccable 2020 new construction with exquisite attention to detail, every modern luxury and unimpeded water views from 1st and 2nd floors. On an almost 19,000 foot corner lot-beautifully landscaped by Nievera Williams-the house is an elegant contemporary take on classic Palm Beach architecture with iron-look windows, handmade Mexican roof tiles and waxed plaster walls. Downstairs master bedroom with water views, generous closets and bath. Two upstairs bedrooms and baths with an inviting shared terrace can be reached by stair or elevator. In the front yard, a 52′, two lane lap pool sits off the electric screened terrace. To the rear is a guest house/gym/office with full bath. And the 3 bay garage fitted with 2 lifts can accommodate up to 5 cars. See Home Features in Documents. Literally too many to list. But for a few- 10′ ceilings, working marble fireplace, Wolf 5 burner gas stove and an induction cooktop, Miele double-ovens, 2 Miele dishwashers, side-by-side Sub Zero fridge with 4 freezer drawers, outdoor shower, full house gas generator, pool heater AND chiller, trunk storage room off elevator, gas fire pit off master bedroom, Lynx summer kitchen with gas grill and rotisserie, Smart Home controls throughout, motorized sun and blackout shades, 2nd laundry room in garage, electric vehicle charger. All that and a shared neighborhood day-dock between Valencia and Sunset. Virtual Tour available via Matterport – see 2nd photo in listing
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*Sale Pending* Waterview 506
Harbor Views, Tennis (and Pickle)
400 N Flagler Drive, 506

400 N Flagler Drive 506, West Palm Beach


3 Bedrooms  3 Bathrooms  2,251 Sq Ft.
Beautiful Southeast corner three-bedroom unit with crow’s nest level sight-lines across the magnificent yachts of Palm Harbor Marina. Enjoy the views over the Intracoastal to the Flagler Museum and Breakers Hotel, and it’s an easy stroll across the north bridge for breakfast at Sant Ambroeus. Fully renovated kitchen and 3 full bathrooms including a large primary bath. Open terraces to catch the waterfront breezes. Waterview Towers has valet parking and concierge, full-time manger and assistant as well as 24 security. Add in pool, tennis, pickleball and fitness and you’ve got the perfect package for a sun-filled, carefree lifestyle.
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*Sold Above List* A Perfect One Bedroom In-Town Pied-a-Terre
354 Chilean Avenue 5B

354 Chilean Avenue 5B, Palm Beach


1 Bedrooms  1 Bathrooms  782 Sq Ft.
A wonderful opportunity for a carefree Palm Beach pied-a-terre. Bright south-facing one- bedroom unit with a terrace, updated kitchen and baths and new carpeting. Apartment comes with 1 car parking, storage unit and place for a bike. Island House is one of the best located buildings in town. Only two streets from Worth Avenue, three streets from the Four Arts and a short stroll to the public beach and town docks. 24 hour doorman and a beautiful pool and outdoor entertaining area.
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