The Real Deal Miami

Manalapan, Palm Beach’s southern neighbor, enjoying quiet success

By Alexander Britell | June 20, 2011 02:42PM


Frank McKinney’s planned project

The recent sale of 1880 South Ocean Boulevard for $5.1 million is the latest in a string of high-profile sales in Manalapan, the tony enclave south of Palm Beach that is packing quite a real estate punch for a town of less than 500 people.

The Corcoran Group’s Randy Ely and Nicholas Malinosky, handled the deal, which followed the sale of Don King’s former mansion nearby for $15.9 million earlier this month. At the beginning of June, Manalapan’s Chateau Mer au Lac sold for $7.15 million.

“We have no more inventory in Manalapn,” said developer Frank McKinney. “That’s how hot Malapan is. We’ve sold everything we had there.”

According to McKinney, Manalapan has 32 direct oceanfront parcels in a town that has only 241 total residences. McKinney’s firm had been marketing a pre-construction $135 million home he planned to build, but that land, which consisted of 3 plots, was sold in two purchases in February and March.

“We had some vacant land there that we planned on putting a larger project, but the market heated up and someone came and bought the land up from beneath us, at a price we wouldn’t turn down,” he said.

The three lots combined sold for just shy of $26 million, he said.

“The market [in Manalapan] has basically been on fire,” Malinosky said. “It’s been unbelievable what’s happened there.”

Part of the reason for the surge, Malinosky said, is the relative bargains for large homes in Manalapan compared to similar ones in Palm Beach proper.

Manalapan is 10 miles south of Palm Beach on the same barrier island.

“You’re getting a lot of value in Manalapan,” he said. “You’re definitely paying a lot less than Palm Beach prices, and in some cases, you’re getting more. So you have the best of both worlds — in some of these properties, you are on the intracoastal side and you own the ocean side as well.”

The 1880 South Ocean Property was listed for $6.9 million (following a 40 percent price cut from its original $13.5 million listing 2008) and Malinosky said he was still receiving offers higher than the sale price after it had gone under contract.

According to Zillow.com, the median listing price in tiny Manalapan is $6 million. 

“Manalapan actually has one of the highest wealth concentrations per capita in the area,” Fite Shavell’s Jonathan Duerr, said. “There’s definitely a lot of moving going on in that area.”

Manalapan’s mainland condo market, while significantly cheaper than its island equivalent (the town is divided by the intracoastal waterway) has also been seeing strong sales, Duerr said.

“We’ve definitely seen volume up,” he said. “We have buyers from Chicago, New York, Canada, the Midwest. They’re real buyers — not just looking for homes during the season.”