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Brevard County Space Coast: Palm Bay, Melbourne, Titusville area
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:24 PM
 
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I had an interview in Melbourne for a position there, which requires moving from Kansas to the Space Coast. During my visit this weekend I spent some time driving around and looking at real estate magazines. It seems there are a lot of amazing deals in Palm Bay. I drove around the area and most of it seemed nice, with newer construction and nice shopping centers (albeit some empty ones). It's clear the economy has hit hard there. But for a buyer, there are amazing houses for very little money, close highway access, and it's close to work. I don't have kids so schools are not a concern. It seems too good to be true.

I stopped at a realtor's office and she told me that Palm Bay was supposed to be a new up-and-coming area, but the economy tanked and the developers lost a lot of money and haven't been able to sell anything, hence the cheap housing and empty shopping centers. Is this true?

I also found online that the country club was closed indefinitely a few years ago due to arsenic contamination in the groundwater. As most of Palm Bay seems to be on well water, this seems like a serious problem. Is this true?

I also read Palm Bay has some of the worst roads in the county, though the areas I was in weren't bad at all.

I rarely hear anyone suggest Palm Bay. The woman at the rental car desk even told me to forget about Palm Bay. What's the deal with Palm Bay?
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by KSmover View Post
I had an interview in Melbourne for a position there, which requires moving from Kansas to the Space Coast. During my visit this weekend I spent some time driving around and looking at real estate magazines. It seems there are a lot of amazing deals in Palm Bay. I drove around the area and most of it seemed nice, with newer construction and nice shopping centers (albeit some empty ones). It's clear the economy has hit hard there. But for a buyer, there are amazing houses for very little money, close highway access, and it's close to work. I don't have kids so schools are not a concern. It seems too good to be true.

I stopped at a realtor's office and she told me that Palm Bay was supposed to be a new up-and-coming area, but the economy tanked and the developers lost a lot of money and haven't been able to sell anything, hence the cheap housing and empty shopping centers. Is this true?

I also found online that the country club was closed indefinitely a few years ago due to arsenic contamination in the groundwater. As most of Palm Bay seems to be on well water, this seems like a serious problem. Is this true?

I also read Palm Bay has some of the worst roads in the county, though the areas I was in weren't bad at all.

I rarely hear anyone suggest Palm Bay. The woman at the rental car desk even told me to forget about Palm Bay. What's the deal with Palm Bay?
There is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with Palm Bay. It is a great place to live. The schools are great, too just like most of the county schools are.

Palm Bay is a newer town...incorporated in 1969, I think. It gets a lot of bad flack by some people who do not live here or who couldn't adjust etc. when they moved down. It is the largest city in Brevard so there are the same issues as other larger cities. The old bad roads are generally way out in the boonies in the areas that have not got a lot of houses on them. General Development came down in the early 60s and bought up lot of land South of Melbourne. They plotted it and built 90 square miles of roads. Then they sold small lots to build houses on to people mostly from the NE. They didn't really develop one area at a time back then so people bought lots miles andmiles from development and the only way to have water was wells. The developers ended up going to jail for fraud so didn't keep up the roads or ptheir part of the bargain. The city ended up with the mess.

When I moved her in 1976 there were only 18,000 people living here. The homes on Port Malabar were the ritzy homes back then. In the early 80s growth hit the big time and by 1995 we hit almost 100,000 people. Some areas were able to put in city water and sewer but the growth was so fast the city could not keep up, so lots of homes are on well and septic. The city is adding city water to areas as they can( usually when enough people in the area request it). Our house got city water last year. They are not adding sewer lines though, so we still have septic tanks.
We are still pretty much of a sleeping community with most people either working at Harris or going elsewhere to work. I work in West Melbourne for example. We have some stores and restaurants but the number has not kept up with the population actually. Doesn't matter though because every town runs into the next in this area and you have to stop and think where you are sometimes. LOL
Now as for the empty buildings and houses....Speculators saw house prices double and triple etc so some people bought more than 1 house figuring to become property managers of a few homes they rented out or to buy cheap and sell high. Others were able to qualify for homes they should not have qualified for so bought bigger more expensive houses putting nothing down or very little into it. When things got tight, they lost their rentals or let the too expensive houses go back to the banks. Not a good thing for any of us so we ended up with homes that are worth less than we paid. many walk away because of this. The banks don't do a good job of maintaining the homes they get back, vandals or the previous owners do a lot of destruction so it makes for some rougher looker areas in good neighborhoods.

That said ....most of us have not lost our jobs and are still spending money here. The shoppping center I work at was built just before the crash and most of the stores have filled in the 2 years it has been open. None of the stores have closed up and left. I think if we just get people to "refill the homes" waiting for people to come back down, we will be back to normal quicker than they expect. JMO

For a young guy looking for a place to move though, I would advise a condo on the beach. My son is single and bought a house in SE Palm Bay when he was going to be married(didn't happen) and is living in his home. His friends think it is too far out and he would love to move beachside but is stuck in a home worth 100,000 less than he paid for it. Not a lot of young singles in town....mostly families and retired folk live here.
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:45 PM
 
Location: Palm Bay, FL
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I live in Palm Bay and love it, but it isn't for everyone. Do a search of my other posts for full descriptions; it's a bit much to type from my iPhone.

As for well water, there are plenty of homes in PB with city water. I wouldn't want well water, but it has nothing to do with arsenic. It's sulphury. It's perfectly healthy, and most newer well water homes have reverse osmosis filters and such to make it a non-issue.
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:43 PM
 
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I've spent a couple weekends in Palm Bay and have friends from the area. If you are young, I would stay clear as every young person I know who is from Palm Bay/Melbourne area usually darts out of there and relocates to a college area unless they are staying to run a business.

If you are settled in with family: it has restaurants, bars, and of course the beach. For young people, it has downtown Melbourne, which has gotten slightly better but still nothing spectacular.

While Palm Bay/Melbourne is definitely a step up above Cocoa, it is infested with drugs and a lot of people who stay back end up hooked on some sort of pills or other drugs. Palm Bay was named #1 in the state for meth labs.

I would say if you are single, look elsewhere (Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Tallahassee are good for singles). Palm Bay is right next to Melbourne, which is usually known as "Mel-boring" from the locals.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:53 PM
 
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Sounds like Rabflmom knows the area very well. I have been looking online to relocate. I thought the area looked promising. I do have a few questions. How is the crime? Is this in a flood zone? How far from the beach? What about homeowner insurance? Are there HOA dues? What about RV parking? I said a few questions, so that is enough for now. Thanks.
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:45 PM
 
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just hearing about palm bay makes me shudder
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Old 06-18-2011, 05:30 AM
 
3,716 posts, read 6,671,751 times
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Originally Posted by Shelby53 View Post
Sounds like Rabflmom knows the area very well. I have been looking online to relocate. I thought the area looked promising. I do have a few questions. How is the crime? Is this in a flood zone? How far from the beach? What about homeowner insurance? Are there HOA dues? What about RV parking? I said a few questions, so that is enough for now. Thanks.
1. Crime; probably no worse than other towns with 100,000 people in it, that is located on an interstate, has teens that get bored, has people who are on drugs, or tourists who think they can do things here they couldn't get away with in their own home towns so Sort of like most Florida towns.

2. Unfortunately Palm Bay does flood, but mostly during tropical storms and hurricanes where you might get 25 inches f rain in a day. Some of the areas are real close or in the St. John River flood plain so the roads do flood. The city uses canals for drainage. Most houses do not fill with water though because the homes are usually built higher than the roads. Fill dirt is brought in when building homes. Closer to the river where you might get storm surge off the river houses did flood during the hurricanes of 2004. In areas that do flood, the water usually goes down by the next day unless they have problems with the ditch and canal in their area. So you need to choose wisely and check the flood maps. I have never lived on a road that flooded in 35 years.

3. Palm Bay is within 10 miles of the beach in most areas. You do have to go to Melbourne or Wabasso to get across the intercoastal because we don't have a causeway here so depending on where you live in PB it can take a half hour to get to the first beach on 192. Of course most of us do not use the main tourist beaches so it takes a little longer to get to less crowded beaches.

4. Home Owners insurance: Of course it depends on location of house, newness of house, hurricane ready features you have, your credit, the price of your home, etc. but our 2006 house it costs about $2000 and our 1984 house costs about $1500. Both are supposedly supposed to go up 25%this yeaR if news reports are true.

5.HOAs some areas do and some don't. We lived in an area built in the 80s that had an HOA of about $200 for the year. Basically they kept cars off the front lawn and mowed the common areas. Most areas do not have HOAs though. The city does have rules that they do enforce. For example all houses built have to have 2 car garage now. Some areas leading into Bayside have colors they are not allowed to paint their homes, and they do follow up on calls they get if neighbors don't mow their grass etc.

5. Not allowed in front of house. Same for boats or cars that are not tagged and being used.
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:41 AM
 
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Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all your feedback. Still have a few questions.

I am a 30-year old career-focused single woman. I’m not a party girl and not looking to live in a downtown loft or anything like that. I also have a large dog and don’t want to be forever going up and down stairs in a condo with him. I like quiet and privacy. I am not a social butterfly, I like to have a few close friends and just hang with them in a casual setting. I have no plans to ever have kids. I’m looking to embrace a laid-back Florida lifestyle. Most of my time will probably be spent at work for the first couple of years anyway. I intend to rent first and then eventually buy a house. Most people here have recommended singles look elsewhere. What is the singles area? For someone looking to live a quiet and simple life, where would you recommend?

I want to be close to work (at Melbourne Airport), but wasn’t too impressed with Melbourne itself. Where else would you recommend? Viera was nice but way too far away – I don’t want to spend half my life in the car. I liked Pineda (around the Pineda Causeway, Wickham, and Lake Washington) and Satellite Beach. I love the idea of living on the beach but I don’t want to spend that kind of money. I’d rather have a pool in my backyard and make occasional trips to the beach.

The most attractive thing about Palm Bay is the housing prices. I can get a bigger, newer house than I have here in small town Kansas for the same money by buying a foreclosure. I love to work on houses, make repairs, decorate, etc. And the value is most likely going to go back up eventually, so it could be a good investment for me. It’s really hard to ignore 2000 sq ft houses for $89k!

If you were me, what would you do?
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:41 AM
 
3,716 posts, read 6,671,751 times
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Originally Posted by KSmover View Post
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all your feedback. Still have a few questions.

I am a 30-year old career-focused single woman. I’m not a party girl and not looking to live in a downtown loft or anything like that. I also have a large dog and don’t want to be forever going up and down stairs in a condo with him. I like quiet and privacy. I am not a social butterfly, I like to have a few close friends and just hang with them in a casual setting. I have no plans to ever have kids. I’m looking to embrace a laid-back Florida lifestyle. Most of my time will probably be spent at work for the first couple of years anyway. I intend to rent first and then eventually buy a house. Most people here have recommended singles look elsewhere. What is the singles area? For someone looking to live a quiet and simple life, where would you recommend?

I want to be close to work (at Melbourne Airport), but wasn’t too impressed with Melbourne itself. Where else would you recommend? Viera was nice but way too far away – I don’t want to spend half my life in the car. I liked Pineda (around the Pineda Causeway, Wickham, and Lake Washington) and Satellite Beach. I love the idea of living on the beach but I don’t want to spend that kind of money. I’d rather have a pool in my backyard and make occasional trips to the beach.

The most attractive thing about Palm Bay is the housing prices. I can get a bigger, newer house than I have here in small town Kansas for the same money by buying a foreclosure. I love to work on houses, make repairs, decorate, etc. And the value is most likely going to go back up eventually, so it could be a good investment for me. It’s really hard to ignore 2000 sq ft houses for $89k!

If you were me, what would you do?
Have to tell you that from Palm Bay you may still have a half hour drive to get to the airport at times.. PB is a big area. I like the houses and yards that we have though and love living in the South section by Bayside area.
You might want to look into West Melbourne. There are some nice areas there that would be a little closer to the airport. I always said ideally living off Eber Road in W. Melbourbne would be the place to live. Sort of closer to everything than where we live in the SE sector. Don't know if there are any houses available in that area but there are some nice homes .
I wouldn't rule out Melbourne completely either. There are some nice areas there too. Best bet is tell everything you are looking for to a realtor and let them show you places in all the towns around. One thing I cannot stress enough is visit the street of a house you would consider on a weekend and at night to see what it is like then. When we bought our house, there was one I liked better but the activity after 8 or 9 PM would have been a problem for us .
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Old 06-26-2011, 09:45 PM
 
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i would recommend not moving to palm bay. i've lived here for 5 yrs and i hate it. my biggest dislike is there are very little to no jobs here. even when you do find a job, the wages suck. crime rate has gone up. i was told that palm bay was the "cesspool" of brevard county. i didn't listen and still moved here. highly regret it now.
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