Updated: Jan 17
South Florida is a big and diverse place- like any other state. When people talk about moving to South Florida, or buying an investment property in South Florida, in order to do so, one has to know the different towns, cities, and cultures. There's a lot more to "South Florida" than "Florida".
Whether we're talking about buying a second home, an investment property for residential rental, or a property for vacation rentals (many calls these "AirBnbs), all of South Florida is not the same. In fact, each town or city is very, very different from each other town or city.
Here are snapshots of some South Florida cities:
Miami is a world-renowned party center. Sure there are many residential communities for families. But the nicest and most peaceful ones are very upscale and expensive. If someone is seeking a nice harmonious residential environment, there are better places for that than Miami. But if you are seeking excitement, culture, diversity, and energy, Miami is second to none in Florida.
Fort Lauderdale reminds of Los Angeles. It's spread-out and offers very expensive homes, as well as an, often, crime-ridden city in certain parts off of the main drag. If you want a downtown urban-vibe mixed with expensive waterfront living, and many communities spread-out in between, Fort Lauderdale may be on your list. But again, in between the waterfront and the communities, it gets a little rough. Historically, Fort Lauderdale also means partying, spring breakers, and a fast, fun beach lifestyle.
Deerfield Beach is a quiet waterfront community. Lately it has attracted many vacation property renters. So if you want a well-protected family environment, this may not be for you. Deerfield Beach has beautiful waterfront homes, but is also very "old Florida" in many places. Plus, it's main shopping drag on US-1 is very commercial and busy- not always in a good way. Finally, getting to the beach there is - well, no beach picnic. The main road to the beach gets backed up for miles on weekends and the parking is slim pickings.
Boca Raton is a mature residential community. More like Manhattan Beach or Malibu than Redondo Beach or Huntington Beach, CA. There are many gated and non-gated communities. But the prices for homes are high, relative to surrounding towns, so, if you are an investor, you need a long-term perspective- unless you are a skilled builder, yourself. In which case there is money to be made in the shorter-term. As a home buyer, as long as you have a long-term view, Boca is a great investment.
Delray Beach is expensive and fun. It attracts young people and partying. It is more Huntington Beach and Venice Beach than Manhattan Beach. But not nearly the party-place as is Miami. The lifestyle and neighborhoods off of the famous Atlantic Ave. are not, necessarily, glamourous- though the communities are being built-up.
Boynton Beach is less pricey than Boca and Delray. But it is also less safe, and east of 1-95, it is not, nearly, as developed or glamourous. It is a mix of old Florida, Central Florida, and gated communities out west with newer homes. Each part of Boynton has its own personality. Some of it very quaint- and some very busy commercial parts.
As you go north in Palm Beach County from Boynton, the lifestyle is more muted, pristine, and family oriented- ex: Palm Beach, North Palm Beach, Jupiter- and, in some cases, have the highest priced real estate in the nation. West Palm Beach, however, is more like Fort Lauderdale than it is like Palm Beach.
So this is just meant to be a rough idea of the flavor of various South Florida communities that may be on your radar for investing or relocating.
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