Big ticket sales have been trending in Palm Beach as the sale of luxury homes for huge profits have been beefing up the prices of real estate in the area. Currently, the average price of a luxury home in Palm Beach is pegged at $11.7 million, which makes owning a property in this part of Florida a symbol of wealth.
Fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger is among the long list of high-profile owners of luxury homes in Palm Beach. Local Palm Beach reports have it that Hilfiger and his wife Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger bought a smaller $9 million, 3-bedroom mansion in March. The couple has been staying there after they sold their Golden Beach property for $24 million, and while awaiting the completion of another Palm Beach oceanfront estate that they plan to buy.
Yet the highest-priced Palm Beach oceanfront property is a newly built megamansion spec home that sold in February for an epic price of $122.7 million. The new property appeared in the Palm Beach real estate market in January 2021, at an original selling price of $140 million. A month later the property was bought for $122.7 million, by Scott Shleifer, hedge fund manager and founding partner of Tiger Global Management.
Described as a “glass mansion” for having floor to ceiling windows, the spec home that sold for $122.7 million, seems to defy Florida’s notoriety for hurricanes. Those familiar with South Florida’s new building codes know that developers of spec homes in Palm Beach have to strictly abide with the provisions for constructing hurricane-safe homes.
What’s a Spec Home?
Actually, a spec home is supposed to be a more affordable alternative to having a house built according to one’s envisions of a dream home. Some buyers prefer buying spec homes because they can simply move in, since the house already has all the luxurious amenities typically desired by house hunters; whilst meeting all the highest standards of reliability. In South Florida, reliability includes high levels of protection against hurricanes and other natural calamities that regularly hit Florida.
Why Florida’s Building Codes Matter
The state’s building codes have been revised in 2002, yet South Florida, the area where Palm Beach is located, has been noted for its exceptional strict adoption of the state’s strong building codes. Actually the houses in this part of Florida have become less vulnerable to hurricanes ever since Hurricane Andrew wreaked havoc in 1992.
In contrast, the standard building codes enforced in the northern coasts of Florida including the Panhandle and the Tampa Bay Area are regarded as more lenient. This is why, the northern areas hvce seen greater losses amidst the worsening natural calamities, as had been exemplified by Hurricanes Irma and Michael.
Florida Building Codes require homes in counties located in the High-Velocity Hurricane Zone to envelope their buildings with doors, windows, eaves and roofing systems that can provide protection against high velocity winds and flying debris. Actually, the requirement vary as they are based on studies of where the strongest peak winds are expected.
Among the areas located in the High Velocity Zone is Tampa, where even the smallest roof leak has to be thoroughly inspected to determine the cause of water infiltration. An undetected damaged roof in tampa from leak can be caused by water infiltration that originated from sidings and gutters ripped apart by high velocity winds.
Tampa Bay Area and Palm Beach have similar weather and climate conditions. Yet the prices of waterfront spec homes in Tampa are less likely to attract the well-heeled property buyers in Palm Beach.