“Slow start, strong finish”: Palm Beach real estate’s season in review

Ultra-luxury deals surged this spring, cementing island’s rank among top markets

<p>From left: Todd Glaser; Harvey Jones; Victoria Hagan and Michael Berman; 205 Via Tortuga; 10 Tarpon Isle; 130 Banyon Road (Addison Development Group, Google Maps)</p>

From left: Todd Glaser; Harvey Jones; Victoria Hagan and Michael Berman; 205 Via Tortuga; 10 Tarpon Isle; 130 Banyon Road (Addison Development Group, Google Maps)

The outlook was sour when Palm Beach season kicked off this winter. The weather was rainy and glum, and hardly anyone was buying homes. 

For the island’s real estate agents, though, the clock was ticking to sell their multi-million dollar listings. 2021 and 2022 had been record years for the island, followed by a slowdown in 2023. It had more listings over $50 million than anywhere else in the U.S., but the question remained: Would they sell? This was the season for Palm Beach to prove it wasn’t a one-hit wonder, but a newly emerged power on the global luxury real estate stage. 

Then, in February, the sun began to shine and activity picked up. A flood of eight-figure sales closed in April and May, landing the island among the top performing luxury markets in the the world. 

It was a “slow start, strong finish,” said West Palm Beach developer Blair Brandt. 

“It proves that Palm Beach is here to stay,” Margit Brandt, an agent on the island with Premier Estate Properties and Blair Brandt’s wife, said of the market’s performance this season. She represented Tarpon Island’s buyer, who closed on the megamansion for $152 million in May. 

“There’s a lot of people that have said, ‘Oh, you had this boom, it’ll go back down.’ Some of these people were sitting on the sidelines saying the pricing won’t maintain,” Brandt said. In her view, this season proved the naysayers wrong. 

So do the numbers. Palm Beach sales for properties priced $10 million and up closed $1.1 billion in dollar volume in the first quarter of the year, according to a report from Knight Frank. That was up from $617 million in dollar volume in the first quarter of 2023. 

Still, some of the season’s biggest listings didn’t sell. After listing two adjacent oceanfront lots for $200 million with Premier Estate Properties’ Jim McCann, cosmetics heir William Lauder re-listed them separately for $88.9 million each with Christian Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate. 

Aspirational pricing was less likely to find success this season, and price cuts were more common than in recent years. The cadence of this season, with its slow start and late spring crescendo, marked a return to Palm Beach’s pre-covid rhythm, according to Corcoran Group’s Suzanne Frisbie.

“If you go back and look, Q2 and 3 are where the lionshare of the closings are,” she said. “We’re back to what I would call season and off-season. And now we are in the off-season.”

Despite it being the off-season, there are still some buyers on the hunt and last-minute deals to be closed, agents said. 

“It has been an active end of season,” said Douglas Elliman agent Samantha Curry. “I have three offers on three different listings right now.”

With most Palm Beachers settled at their summer homes, here’s a look at the biggest deals of the season:

$152M | 10 Tarpon Isle | Sellers: Todd Glaser and partners

In its second season on the market, spec developer Todd Glaser found a buyer for the 2.3-acre Tarpon Island, which closed for $152 million at the end of May. Glaser first listed it for $218 million in 2022. He and his investment partners bought the island for $85 million in 2021 and renovated and expanded the mansion to nearly 24,000 square feet, with 11 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms and seven half-bathrooms. The estate has two pools, a dock, a lighted tennis court, a catering kitchen and a wellness wing with a cold plunge, steam room, sauna, salon parlor, massage room and gym. Frisbie and Chris Leavitt of Elliman had the listing, and Brandt represented the buyer.

$85M | 108 El Mirasol | Seller: Anand Khubani

Ideavillage founder Anand Khubani sold an oceanfront vacant lot for $85 million in April. Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates had the pocket listing for the one-acre lot at 108 El Mirasol, and Dana Koch of Corcoran brought the buyer. Khubani and his wife, Neeta Khubani, bought the El Mirasol property for $12.7 million in 2005, according to property records.

$74.3M | 740 Hi Mount Road | Buyer: Harvey Jones

Nvidia billionaire Harvey Jones bought the 10,500-square-foot lakefront mansion at 740 Hi Mount Road for $74.3 million in an off-market deal in March, his first of two trophy deals this season. The seller, Candida Burnap, was downsizing to a $13 million North End home she bought in December. Burnap bought the 1-acre Hi Mount Road estate for $4.4 million in 1995, and she built the six-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bathroom mansion in 1999. It has a pool and a dock on the Intracoastal Waterway.

Douglas Elliman’s Chris Leavitt and Ashley McIntosh represented Jones in the latest deal. Todd Peter of One Sotheby’s International Realty represented Burnap.

$60.4M | 130 Banyan Road | Sellers: Victoria Hagan and Michael Berman

Interior designer Victoria Hagan and her media mogul husband Michael Berman sold their renovated mansion at 130 Banyan Road for $60.4 million, which marked one of the priciest non-waterfront sales ever on the island. Liza Pulitzer and Whitney McGurk of Brown Harris Stevens represented the sellers, and fellow Brown Harris Stevens agent Blair Kirwan brought the buyer. The couple bought the 1-acre compound for $11.1 million in 2020. The 9,700-square-foot mansion was built in 1926, and has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, one half-bathroom, a pool and a tennis court. 

$51.3M | 200 South Ocean Boulevard | Sellers: David and Becky Gochman

Former sporting goods mogul David Gochman and his wife Becky Gochman sold their house at 200 South Ocean Boulevard for $51.3 million in May. The couple bought the 0.9-acre property for $15.4 million in 2014 and built the 5,800-square-foot house in 2018. It spans six bedrooms, five bathrooms, a pool, and faces the beach. They listed it for $59 million in February, prior  to closing on a $9.4 million home in West Palm Beach’s El Cid neighborhood in April. McCann had the South Ocean Boulevard listing, and Phatavahn and Derek Olsen of Elliman brought the buyer.

$50M | 940 North Lake Way | Seller: Harvey Jones

Jones, who made his $1.1 billion fortune as a longtime tech executive and Nvidia board member, flipped the vacant lakefront lot at 940 North Lake Way for $50 million in May. He bought it for that same price in July of 2023. He listed the 0.8-acre property for $59 million in November, and dropped the price to $55 million in February before breaking even. Todd Peter and Frances Peter of Sotheby’s International Realty represented him, and Angle represented the buyer.

$49.6M | 315 Chapel Hill Road | Seller: Estate of Bill Flaherty

The family of the late industrialist Bill Flaherty sold his lakefront home at 315 Chapel Hill Road for $49.6 million earlier this month. Angle represented both sides of the deal. Flaherty and his then-wife bought the 6,400-square-foot house for $1 million in 1990. Built in 1987 on 0.8 acres, the main home and guest house have a combined eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and two half-bathrooms, as well as a pool and 200 feet of waterfront. Flaherty’s family listed the compound for $59.5 million in October. 

$43.7M | 205 Via Tortuga | Seller: Malasky Homes

Spec developer Malasky Homes sold the non-waterfront house at 205 Via Tortuga for $43.7 million in April. Malasky bought the 0.8-acre property for $9.4 million in 2020, and completed the 11,000-square-foot mansion earlier this year. It has seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, a pool and a guest house. The buyers are European, a source confirmed. McCann had the listing, and Jeremy Stewart of Park View Realty represented the buyers. 

$39M | 10 Via Vizcaya | Sellers: Gary and Darlene Yelvington

Aviation heirs Gary and Darlene Yelvington sold their family’s longtime lakefront Palm Beach mansion for $39 million in an off-market deal. Their late parents bought the home at 10 Via Vizcaya for $3.6 million in 2004, and the siblings listed it for $45 million in November. The 8,600-square-foot mansion was built on 0.7 acres in 2007, and spans six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, one half-bathroom, a pool and a dock. The Yelvingtons delisted the home in March and closed the deal in April. Heidi Wicky of Sotheby’s International Realty represented them, and Brandt brought the buyer. 

$36.9M | 300 North Ocean Boulevard | Sellers: Dennis and Jean Bottorff

Nashville financier Dennis Bottorff and his wife, Jean Bottorff, sold their home for $36.9 million four days after listing it in May for $37 million. The couple bought the 5,400-square-foot home for $6.6 million in 2004. Built in 1977 on nearly 0.8 acres, the property has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, a guest house, a pool, and an oceanfront parcel with a beach cabana. Edward Curran of Brown Harris Stevens had the listing, and Maureen Woodward, also of Brown Harris Stevens, brought the buyer.

$29.3M | 120 Via Del Lago | Buyer: Allan Jones
Payday loan magnate Allan Jones bought the mansion at 120 Via Del Lago for $29.3 million in April. The sellers were Chicago’s billionaire Smith family, the heirs of banker and industrialist Byron Smith. He founded Northern Trust and Illinois Tool Works, private companies the family still owns. They collectively have a net worth of $19.8 billion, according to Forbes. The late Harold Byron Smith Jr. bought the 10,000-square-foot house for $7.3 million in 2004. Built in 1958 on 0.9 acres, it has seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, four half-bathrooms and a pool, and was designed by prominent Palm Beach architect Marion Sims Wyeth. The family listed it for $37.5 million in April of 2023. Gary Pohrer of Elliman had the listing, and Frisbie brought the buyer.