Real estate agents and brokers on the island of Palm Beach in Florida are jumping for joy with a market that is finally turning a corner from a downturn in the wake of contentious election of the town’s most famous part-time resident, President Donald Trump.
According to a report by The Palm Beach Daily News, during the year leading up to the 2016 presidential election and for several months afterward, real estate activity on the island seemed as unpredictable as the election itself. Would-be home buyers, by and large, took a wait-and-see attitude for much of 2016, refusing to sign contracts until they knew who would be sitting in the Oval Office. And they didn’t seem to shake off their malaise until the following spring.
Broker Christian J. Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate said the election certainly had an impact on the local market.
“I find that the 2016 election year put a lot of people in neutral. But the velocity of transactions in 2017 has been far stronger than what I saw last year.”
The Palm Beach market is starting to pick up steam according to sales records in the Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. And it was an especially busy summer, brokers agree.
During all of 2016, the island saw a total of 96 single-family sales, according to MLS. But as Oct. 1, agents have already closed 90 sales since the New Year — and the fall shopping season hasn’t even started yet.
The number of sales of MLS-listed condominiums and co-operative units is also telling: There were 247 sales in 2016, compared to the 245 already closed this year. And those figures don’t include sales of non-MLS-listed properties, which can be substantial in Palm Beach.
Jay Phillip Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman’s Florida operations, which includes the Palm Beach office, said agents just seem to be busier.
“I’ve had agents call me to say that finally, the gates have opened. I’m expecting to see a really strong fourth quarter, and a strong first and second quarter of 2018.”
Broker Linda A. Gary of Linda A. Gary Real Estate said she is feeling very optimistic.
“I’ve been having the best year ever,” said Gary. If big deals are a measure, her sales this year included representing fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and wife Dee Ocleppo in their $34 million purchase in May of an oceanfront mansion on the North End of the island.
According to The Daily News, the Hilfiger deal was among the highest-dollar transactions this year on the island, bearing out the post-election recovery that has taken hold since the end of last season
Brokers are in agreement that Trump’s high-profile visits to his Mar-a-Lago Club has put Palm Beach in the spotlight like never before. And that’s been good for the market, noted Bill Yahn of the Corcoran Group, whose duties as a regional senior vice president include overseeing the Palm Beach brokerage.
“We have a lot of people who want to be in the aura of the president of the United States. You can do that in Palm Beach by becoming a member of Mar-a-Lago and buying a home in Palm Beach.”