Southeast Florida Roundup
Shrinking inventory: Builders strain to meet demand
It takes Rei Mesa, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway’s Florida real estate company, just two words to sum up the real estate markets from Broward north to Indian River: “Very strong.”
A well-established rebound is evident through Broward and the Treasure Coast. In St. Lucie, a tightening existing-home market has drawn the median price upward. In Martin County, inventory has fallen to an unprecedented 5.8 months. The existing-home market in Palm Beach County, especially for single-family homes, is accelerating. In Broward, more homes sold in May than in any of the previous 12 months.
“Broward goes the way Miami- Dade goes,” Mesa says. Cash sales dipped below the 30% mark where they’ve hovered for a year.
In the new-construction market, supply is tight. Of all Florida regions, southeast Florida has the lowest supply of finished new homes, just 1.8 months, thanks to shortages in Palm Beach and Broward, reports Brad Hunter, chief economist for market research firm Metro study. In Palm Beach, the supply is only 1.4 months, and in Broward it’s a “microscopic” one month. Hunter says 1.5 to 2.5 months is normal and healthy.
Farther north, in St. Lucie, the supply is at 3.3 months, large but down considerably from the 10.2 months early in 2010.
“Housing production as well as home prices have risen sharply, and now builders are straining just to get enough lots, labor and production capacity on line to meet demand,” Hunter says.
DAVIE — Nova Southeastern University realigned undergraduate and graduate degree programs to create a College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography named for the Halmos family. Businessman and Nova board of trustees member Steve Halmos and his wife, Madelaine, made an undisclosed gift to fund scholarships in marine sciences. Nova also named its newest oceanographic center building for artist and entrepreneur Guy Harvey, a longtime benefactor of the university.
DEERFIELD BEACH — An effort failed to create an artificial reef by installing 15 cast concrete sculptures similar to the statues on Easter Island. The statues broke when the barge carrying them flipped as it was sinking. Boca Raton philanthropist Margaret Blume had given $500,000 for the project.
FORT LAUDERDALE — Uber pulled out of Fort Lauderdale, saying county regulations were too restrictive.
JUPITER — A Scripps Florida scientist won a $2.1-million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders to study a protein linked to Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. The long-term goal is to advance new treatments.
PALM BEACH GARDENS — Charleston, S.C.-based Atlantic Marina Holdings, a marina acquisition and development company, acquired 7.5-acre PGA Marina Center, a 395-dry slip marina with 1,240 feet of wet dockage. Atlantic is renaming the marina PGA Marina & Boating Center and plans to redevelop it. > Weight-loss plan company SlimFast returns from New Jersey to Palm Beach County, basing its headquarters in 13,000 square feet at Golden Bear Plaza. The company was based in West Palm Beach but moved to New Jersey when it was acquired by Unilever in 2000. Unilever sold it last year. > Connecticutbased United Technologies’ UTC Building & Industrial Systems will hire 380 and invest $115 million in its 250,000-sq.-ft. “Center for Intelligent Buildings,” a showcase for building technology it will construct on the Briger tract.
SUNRISE — Florida East Coast Industries sold Sawgrass Corporate Plaza, a fully leased, 106,648-sq.- ft. Office project on eight acres, for $18.9 million to Stiles Property Fund.
WEST PALM BEACH — Boston-based AEW Capital Management paid $245.5 million for the Phillips Point office towers downtown overlooking the Intracoastal. The buildings, totaling 410,469 square feet, were sold by an affiliate of Colonnade Properties and Prudential Real Estate. > Dining delivery service Cravy will deliver for Whole Foods Market in West Palm Beach under a partnership agreement. The two hope to expand the service to southern Palm Beach County, Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach.
Tenet Healthcare appointed Jeffrey M. Welch CEO of its Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. Welch had been CEO of Tenet’s Coral Gables Hospital.
The Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches, the sixth-largest in the nation, appointed COO Dionna Brahs-Hall CEO and CEO of its BeachesMLS multiple listing service division.