Palm Beach County Mansions Scooped Up in Hot Pandemic Market

Florida’s Palm Beach County hasn’t lost its luster with wealthy homebuyers.

Purchase contracts for single-family houses priced at $10 million or more surged 306% in March from a year earlier, the biggest gain since the pandemic started, appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate said in a report. For condos priced at $5 million or more, deals jumped 392%.

Palm Beach County Mansions Scooped Up in Hot Pandemic Market

Across all price ranges, single-family contracts were up 202% last month to 1,263. Signed deals for condos totaled 1,608 -- a 406% gain.

Demand for homes in the posh county has persisted, pointing to a potential long-standing migration trend, according to Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. Purchases are heating up even as New Yorkers who fled the city during the worst of the Covid-19 outbreak last year are starting to plot their return.

“You would think the intensity would ease by now, and yet it’s continuing to accelerate,” Miller said in an interview. That “suggests that this isn’t a momentary change in conditions. This is more of a structural change.”

New single-family listings in Palm Beach County fell 27% last month from a year earlier, according the report. For condos, the decline was 17%.

Wall Street firms wanting to take advantage of a state with no income tax have rushed to set up operations in South Florida, yet many of the newest homebuyers may be coming from somewhere other than New York: U.S. Postal Service and mobile-phone data show just a small percentage of Manhattanites who left the borough moved to the Sunshine State.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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