Manalapan: Small town, big sales

840 South Ocean Boulevard in Manalapan, which was recently listed for sale at $25 million
840 South Ocean Boulevard in Manalapan, which was recently listed for sale at $25 million

With demand for luxury properties exploding over the last year, home prices in Palm Beach County have shot up and the volume of sales continues to grow.

This is especially true for Manalapan and its neighbor Hypoluxo Island, which are no strangers to multimillion dollar listing prices or celebrity buyers. Billy Joel went on a buying spree and purchased three homes in the area within a year, and the founder of National Enquirer owned a home there that has been sold more than half a dozen times.

These small and ritzy towns in Palm Beach County saw more than $80 million trade hands for 22 waterfront homes in 2014, up from a total of $39 million for 13 residences in 2012.

Realtors say that Florida’s tropical weather and lack of state income tax continue to draw high-net worth individuals. Jack Elkins of Fite Shavell & Associates told The Real Deal that he’s seeing executives from northeastern states like New York and Connecticut move south into South Florida.

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A recent influx of businesses is also driving demand. Olympus Insurance, investment firm DB Capital and hedge fund Govic Capital have migrated to the county — which means their employees are going to be looking for homes,  Elkins told TRD.

Shrinking stock for luxury homes also means prices will continue to rise while demand from wealthy domestic buyers grows. Elkins said there are no vacant plots for building a new home on the market right now, and buyers are asking about homes that haven’t been listed for sale yet.

“The interest seems to be at an all-time high,” Elkins said in a statement.

The area’s median price for homes jumped up 34 percent from 2013 to 2014 — now at $1.9 million — and Elkins said he expects prices to continue to rise.