County’s real estate market takes advantage

Gary Fainshtein had been thinking about moving from Queens to South Florida for a while.

Then the coronavirus struck. Like so many New Yorkers, he’d worked remotely for months and realized that he could just as easily do it from South Florida.

In December, he closed an eight-year-old, five-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot home in The Bridges, a GL Homes condominium west of Delray Beach. He is renovating the house to build a larger study that will oversee his clinical laboratory in Linden, NJ

“Without the pandemic, we probably wouldn’t have taken this step,” said Fainshtein. “Remote working became routine in New York. You could say we were on the fence and the virus knocked us off the fence. When you work from home, it doesn’t matter if you are an hour or 20 hours away. ”

His real estate agent, Mark Rucco, of ReMax in Delray Beach said the trend of family relocations to South Florida has accelerated since the coronavirus outbreak. “We really noticed it with high-end family homes,” he noted. “We are very busy.”

Rucco said his group sold more than 450 homes this year, 30% more than a year ago. He expects more and more managers like Fainshtein to move to the region and work remotely.

“Most of these people weren’t even here when they bought houses that are being built,” remarked Rucco. Fainshtein had actually considered buying a new development, but the house would have taken 18 months to build. “We didn’t want to wait that long,” he said.

Stephen Bauman, like Fainshtein, had considered moving from Long Island to South Florida for some time. He signed a sales contract in January last year before the virus became a problem. Three months ago he moved to his new home in Boca Bridges, a GL Homes family development west of Boca Raton.

He works in logistics and ensures that many roof shingles are transported across the country. “I realized that I can do it anywhere. So why not South Florida? ”

“We couldn’t be happier,” said Bauman, noting that he had been in South Florida since 1976 when his grandparents bought at Century Village in Deerfield Beach. “I’ve always had the mistake of being here.”

His home has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, and a three-car garage – and a very large study that doubles as his office.

The Baumans have two daughters who are enrolled in local colleges. Little did he know they would live with him in Boca Bridges; You attend classes virtually.

However, one disadvantage, Bauman said, is attitudes towards the coronavirus. “It’s like the wild wild west in some places,” he remarked. “You go to Delray at night and hardly anyone wears a mask. We wore ours and someone noticed we had to be from New York. “

Alicia Gold, a real estate agent at Compass, has found a niche in the South Florida real estate market. A former real estate agent from the New York area, she moved to South Florida in 2011 where she resumed her real estate career. She was in close contact with friends in the New York area and praised South Florida.

“I knew a lot of them wanted to move here. It was just a matter of when, ”said Gold, who lives in Seven Bridges, another development of the GL family north of Boca Bridges.

“The ability to work remotely made all the difference in the world for these people,” she noted. Since the virus broke out, she has sold 14 homes in Boca Bridges and two in Lotus, another GL Homes family development on Lyons Road south of the bridges.

Gold’s customers include Lindsay Schwager and Drew Schulte from Nassau County on Long Island. Drew is an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law. This practice enables him to work remotely. They expect to move to South Florida in early 2022. Her 6,912 square foot five bedroom home in Boca Bridges is currently under construction.

You will see some familiar faces at Boca Bridges. Lindsay Schwager said two women she has known since high school will also be moving to Boca Bridges with their families. “We signed all contracts within a week,” said Schwager. Gold was the agent for everyone.

Home sales have rebounded since the beginning of the pandemic

At the end of March, the outlook for GL Homes was just as bleak as it was for other construction companies in South Florida when the coronavirus forced a shutdown. The county’s largest home builder was in the process of building new homes on four developments – Lotus, Boca Bridges, Polo Trace and Valencia Sound.

Sales slowed down to a trickle. “It’s been a very scary time,” said Jill DiDonna, senior vice president of sales and marketing for GL Homes. “We essentially lost two months and didn’t know what to expect.”

However, at the end of May sales recovered. No contractor was expecting the coronavirus, but DiDonna said GL Homes has always had large study and media rooms that make them ideal for working from home.

Sales in Palm Beach County were so strong that they are back at GL Homes’ pre-virus levels, according to DiDonna. “That’s incredible considering we were closed for eight weeks.” Other construction companies in Palm Beach County have also reported robust sales in the past few months.

On November 15, buyers signed contracts to purchase 550 of the 804 homes in Lotus, 290 of the 324 homes in Polo Trace and 360 of the 653 homes in Valencia Sound. The developments are all within one mile of the Turnpike at Delray Beach and Boynton Beach without legal personality.

As of May 1, GL Homes has sold more than 100 Boca Bridges homes for an average price of $ 1.7 million. Almost 80% of the 504 houses were sold.

Gold noted that there are many reasons for this move: The annual property tax savings can be in excess of $ 10,000. there is no state income tax; and the advantages of the homestead that Florida offers. The numbers make sense from an economic point of view, she said.

Meanwhile, Gold spent more than four hours on a Sunday with a customer who introduced her to the $ 1.7 million Palermo model at Boca Bridges. The home has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, and a four car garage.

Gold said she conquered almost every corner of the 6,175-square-foot home. The client agreed to reserve the property, which means the family will have about a week to decide whether to sign a binding contract. Like many gold customers, this couple will never have been physically in the house. The family is also from Long Island and the husband plans to work remotely.

Email Mike Diamond at [email protected]