South Florida’s ultra-luxury home market boomed in 2020, setting new records throughout the pandemic.
Buyers from high tax markets in the Northeast and California flocked to Palm Beach, Miami Beach and nearby towns, absorbing nearly all of the waterfront luxury home inventory. As people transitioned to working from home, they headed south in big numbers, looking to Florida and its lack of state income tax. That residential migration has included finance and tech executives, who are also opening up offices in the Magic City.
Residential brokers expanded their teams to keep up with the demand. One agent in Palm Beach described the buyer frenzy as “pandemonium.”
As a result, a number of high-profile deals didn’t even make the cut in The Real Deal’s ranking of the priciest 10 residential sales of 2020. Those included a $37 million penthouse buy
at Terra’s Eighty Seven Park, and billionaire hedge funder — and luxury home property investor — Ken Griffin’s sale of his two penthouses at the ultra-high-end Faena House condo building.
Here are the top residential closings of 2020:
1. 8 South Lake Trail, Palm Beach: $72M
Private equity investor turned maple syrup magnate Robb E. Turner and his wife, Lydia, sold their lakefront Palm Beach estate for nearly $72 million in June. The couple sold the 2-acre property at 8 South Lake Trail to SL Trail LLC, a Florida company managed by attorney L. Benton Alexander Jr. The five-bedroom, six-and-a-half bathroom mansion spans 9,318 square feet and includes a new dock and pool.
2. 1095 North Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach: $70M
The Kennedy family’s former Palm Beach compound, where President John F. Kennedy worked on his 1961 inaugural address, sold for $70 million, also in June. Jane Goldman, a prominent New York City landlord, sold the 11,334-square-foot oceanfront estate at 1095 North Ocean Boulevard to a trust managed by West Palm Beach attorney Maura Ziska. The late Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., a former U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom and father of President Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy, purchased the estate in 1933. The Kennedy family used the property as a winter vacation home.
3. 300 North Lake Way, Palm Beach: $55M
In late December, the waterfront Palm Beach estate that belonged to the late Kathleen DuRoss Ford sold for $55.2 million after just two months on the market. Kate Ford’s estate at 300 North Lake Way sold to David and Constance Littman. David Littman founded Littman Brands, which owns a number of lighting companies. The Littmans financed their Palm Beach purchase with a $30.3 million loan from UBS Bank.
4. 22 Star Island Drive, Miami Beach: $50M
In late July, Lennar Corp. Executive Chairman Stuart Miller sold 22 Star Island Drive for $49.5 million. The modern compound, which was designed by Domo Architecture + Design and built by Todd Michael Glaser, sold for $51.5 million including furnishings. A trust managed by Donna Forlizzi of Family Offices Services & Support in the Boston area purchased the property. Sources said Robert Kraft, billionaire owner of the New England Patriots and the Kraft Group, is the buyer, though people close to the deal denied that to be true.
5. 620 Arvida Parkway, Coral Gables: $49M
Leon Medical Centers founder Benjamin Leon Jr. sold the waterfront mansion at 620 Arvida Parkway in Gables Estates for $49 million in April. John H. Ruiz, a prominent trial attorney, acquired the Coral Gables estate. It was built in 2017 and hit the market for $59.5 million. The $49 million closing price marks an 18 percent discount off the asking price.
6. 1820 South Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach: $47M
In May, Taubman Centers Chairman and CEO Robert S. Taubman sold an oceanfront Palm Beach estate for nearly $47 million to a paper mogul. Taubman’s AAT BB LLC sold the 10-bedroom, 19,068-square-foot mansion at 1820 South Ocean Boulevard to White Birch Farm Inc. The company is tied to mogul Peter Brant, chairman and CEO of White Birch Paper, a top newsprint manufacturer with pulp and paper mills in Canada and the U.S.
7. 6342 and 6360 North Bay Road, Miami Beach: $44M
Gabe Plotkin, who founded his multibillion-dollar investment management firm Melvin Capital Management, paid $44 million for the waterfront homes at 6360 and 6342 North Bay Road, in November. Jean Simonian, who owns the watch store Westime, sold the mansion for $32 million and the adjacent house for $12 million.
8. 1075 North Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach: $43M
In July, rock star Jon Bon Jovi closed on an oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach for $43 million, after selling his home down the street for less than half that. The “Livin’ On A Prayer” rocker and Bon Jovi frontman acquired the seven-bedroom, 10,232-square-foot mansion at 1075 North Ocean Boulevard on the same day he sold the oceanfront home at 230 North Ocean Boulevard for $19.8 million, records show. The seller of the larger estate is Jeffrey A. Marcus, a cable television mogul.
9. 4358 North Bay Road, Miami Beach: $42M
In October, Jonathan Oringer, the billionaire businessman who founded the stock media company Shutterstock, and his wife, Talia, paid $42 million for the waterfront mansion at 4358 North Bay Road in Miami Beach. Property records show beverage tycoon Stephen Levin and his wife Petra sold the nine-bedroom, 13-bathroom estate in an off-market deal.
10. 12520 Seminole Beach Road, North Palm Beach: $42M
In October, Rockstar Energy Drink founder Russell Weiner flipped two North Palm Beach homes for more than $48 million — reaping a 45 percent gain in one month. The billionaire entrepreneur bought the properties from Swedish model Elin Nordegren, the ex-wife of Tiger Woods, for nearly $33 million in September. Property records show he sold the oceanfront mansion at 12520 Seminole Beach Road for $41.8 million to Tranquil Sunrise LLC and the non-waterfront home across the street at 12395 Banyan Road for $6.4 million to Calm Sunset LLC.
Source: TRD analysis of single-family, condo and townhouse sales in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties that closed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 30.