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Port St. Lucie - Sebastian - Vero Beach St. Lucie, Martin, and Indian River counties (Treasure Coast)
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Old 07-25-2006, 02:26 PM
 
291 posts, read 1,044,422 times
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Considering a move to Florida from NJ. We were looking at the West Palm Beach area, but a realtor suggested we look a bit North to Port St. Lucie since it is a bit more affordable than WPB. Can anyone tell me about Port St. Lucie? Job market or proximity to job market? Safe neighborhood? Median cost of houses? Homeowner's insurance costs, property taxes? Things to do - restaurants, shopping, nightlife, etc. Thanks!
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Old 07-25-2006, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie and Okeechobee, FL
1,305 posts, read 5,186,137 times
Reputation: 1100
Long response -- broken into two messages. Dsiclaimer -- I'm just a satisfied, happy resident who has lived here more than half my life. I don't have anything to gain from this review. I probably have too much time on my hands.

I've lived in Port St. Lucie for the past 34 years, having moved here with my wife and two tiny kids when she and I were 32 years old and the kids were 2-1/2 and 1 year old. We chose to live here because my wife's parents lived in the community and we felt it was a good idea for the kids to be near their grandparents. We chose to move to Florida in general because of the weather.

Back then, Port St. Lucie was an adventure. The city had been incorporated but few lived in it. Port St. Lucie was started around 1956 by the Mackle Brothers, who owned Life Magazine. The land development work was done by General Development Corp, which went on to be the primary developer. The land was purely cattle ranch and citrus groves. The land was developed into thousands of vacant lots which were sold to folks all over the world. The initial price was $10 down and $10 per month for 10 years. The land in each section as it was sold was left fallow for 9 of those years, then roads were constructed in time for the deed to be issued. Few people actually moved here; most bought the lots for investment or some vague retirement dream.

Some of the buyers wanted to move here immediately, so an area was set up where houses would be built for immediate occupancy. The developer also constructed a riverfront hotel in order to entice potential buyers to visit the area, built two golf courses near the hotel, and built some rental villas around the golf course.

When the company decided to incorporate as a city, there were approximately 5,000 residents in the pre-planned area. They declined to be part of the city, which was incorporated around them. Then, the company sold off the golf villas, which were located in the city. Thus, when I moved here in 1972, there were approximately 5,000 people in the general area and 330 people living in the city limits, and more than 50,000 vacant lots! The city had no street signs, no stop signs, about 700 miles of paved road, and not a single house except the golf villas.

Today, the city has grown to more than 151,000 residents. It has been named the safest city if Florida for it's size for more than 6 years. It is considered the 8th safest city over 100,000 population in the nation , and is 24th safest in the entire nation regardless of size, including many small towns. The fire department is county wide, operated by a fire board, and completely professional with more than 15 stations and almost 400 employees. It was one of the first in the nation to have EMTs (before 1972), one of the first with 911 service, one of the first with enhanced 911, and now every firefighter is requred to become a paramedic.

There are plenty of jobs -- if you are in the service or retail industry, a professional, or in a construction related industry. It has been one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, was the fastest growing in 2004 and I thing about 3rd fastest right now, so construction, real estate, insurance and the like are king. However, it is also becoming a research center. The Harbor Branch Foundation has an oceanography center in St. Lucie County, the Smithsonian has a research facility, the U of Fl and the USDA have agricultural research labs, and the Burnham Institute is considering locating its biomedical research to the city, in a move similar to Scripps research in Palm Beach County. Many people live in PSL and work in other areas, including Palm Beach County. The commute is about 45 miles on I-95.

Last edited by pslOldTimer; 07-25-2006 at 05:36 PM..
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Old 07-25-2006, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie and Okeechobee, FL
1,305 posts, read 5,186,137 times
Reputation: 1100
(Continued)

Housing prices are lower than surrounding areas precisely because of those thousands of building sites. While demand is high, supply is even higher, and land costs are lower than other areas. Median house prices are somewhere around $275,000; I don't keep up with that part. The lots are all similarly sized with the vast majority measuring 80' x 125' with side setbacks of 10'. Most houses are 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage. There is a fairly wide variety of housing, some older and smaller and some very exclusive. At least one project located in the city, Tesoro, features homes with multi-million dollar price tags. The community called Tradition is very popular with young people; the plan is that it will be a traditional community where you live, work and go to school in the same community.

PSL received a direct hit from hurricane Frances in 2004 followed 3 weeks later by a direct hit from hurricane Jeanne, then was hit again in 2005 by Wilma. However, these were the first hurricanes to hit the city since 1948. Damage was relatively low because most houses are well-built. The majority of damage was to roof shingles, with some houses having interior ceiling damage when the roof leaked. No houses were "blown down" and the most severe damage other than roof shingles was to screen enclosures, fences and the occasional garage door.

Nevertheless, there is an insurance crisis impacting the entire state of Florida because of the repeated hurricanes in the past 2 years. No area of Florida is exempt. Companies are cancelling policies, rates are doubling and then doubling again, and every insured in the state is helping to pay for the bankrupt Citizens Insurance, operated by the state as an insurer of last resort. PSL is no better or worse in this regard than anywhere else. At last report, rates were being increased all up and down the East Coast of the U.S. as well as in the Gulf states.

Property taxes are similar to any other area in Florida. Florida's property taxes are lower than many northern states. While no one likes taxes, they are not a burden. There is no income tax in Florida.

There are plenty of restaurants, movie theaters, and a new entertainment super center with bowling, arcades, and even indoor laser tag. The Treasure Coast Opera Society stages 3 operas per year and the newly renovated, 1200 seat Sunrise Theater in Fort Pierce is attracting name acts. The drama, music and dance departments of Indian River Community College put on first class performances throughout the year, including a Black Box Theater in the round. There are neighborhood taverns and sports bars. There is an increasing number of local restaurants, although most are chain like Tuesdays, Fridays, Outback, Chiles, etc. etc. etc. My wife and I enjoy going to Barnes & Noble, with its Starbucks center, and reading books and magazines without ever buying much. If you're looking for Broadway Musicals or World Rock Tours, you'll have to look to bigger cities. We do enjoy the County Fair every February...

Shopping is only adequate, with 3 Walmart stores in the city. They're building a new Tarzhay. Nearby Jensen Beach has a fairly decent Mall, and there is a better one about 20 miles up the road in Vero Beach. PSL is a middle class community and probably doesn't offer as much snob support of "fine quality" shopping.
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Old 07-25-2006, 05:41 PM
 
94 posts, read 396,287 times
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and he is a part time realtor by the sounds of it. or trying to sell his house for good bucks
I like honest opinion but I do not like when he says demand is more than supply ? that is misleading. just a search in the database will show you houses not sold for months, prices reduced. and the jobs are mainly construction, it is like a monster that survives on its own flesh.
Median house prices were about 90K in 2000 there (just check the city-data.com) and now over 250K. unreal!
what people do not get is that they all assumed 20% per year gain is normal. It is not normal guys, just do the math. If that continued in 10 years the median homes would be 1.5 Million.
please be honest, will you?
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Old 07-25-2006, 06:57 PM
 
1,868 posts, read 5,367,982 times
Reputation: 530
Quote:
Originally Posted by josephhawkinson
and he is a part time realtor by the sounds of it. or trying to sell his house for good bucks
I like honest opinion but I do not like when he says demand is more than supply ? that is misleading. just a search in the database will show you houses not sold for months, prices reduced. and the jobs are mainly construction, it is like a monster that survives on its own flesh.
Median house prices were about 90K in 2000 there (just check the city-data.com) and now over 250K. unreal!
what people do not get is that they all assumed 20% per year gain is normal. It is not normal guys, just do the math. If that continued in 10 years the median homes would be 1.5 Million.
please be honest, will you?
JOE!! Your awesome!!
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Old 07-25-2006, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Florida but not for long :) :)
1,130 posts, read 1,300,704 times
Reputation: 50
ps,
at least somebody here knows what they are talking about!
good for you
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Old 07-25-2006, 08:07 PM
 
Location: arrlando, flarida
2,227 posts, read 7,742,935 times
Reputation: 497
Default psloldtimer

is the most reliable source you have on here buddy. what the hell does he have to gain by telling you about psl anyway? even if he were a realtor part-time as you may claim, do you think the odds are kind of slim that he would be your realtor in a town of over 150 ppl?

maybe next post he'll give you his card. dont think so.
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Old 07-25-2006, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie and Okeechobee, FL
1,305 posts, read 5,186,137 times
Reputation: 1100
Quote:
Originally Posted by josephhawkinson
and he is a part time realtor by the sounds of it. or trying to sell his house for good bucks
I like honest opinion but I do not like when he says demand is more than supply ? that is misleading. just a search in the database will show you houses not sold for months, prices reduced. and the jobs are mainly construction, it is like a monster that survives on its own flesh.
Median house prices were about 90K in 2000 there (just check the city-data.com) and now over 250K. unreal!
what people do not get is that they all assumed 20% per year gain is normal. It is not normal guys, just do the math. If that continued in 10 years the median homes would be 1.5 Million.
please be honest, will you?
I am not a Realtor, part time or otherwise. I clearly stated that in the beginning of my message. Shame on you for calling me a liar.

Then you carry it a step further and imply several times that I am less than honest. I frankly don't think your appraisal is worth my time, but just for the fun of it, let's take it one at a time.

Supply greater than demand -- you used house sales and prices. Why? I was referring clearly to the amount of vacant lots and describing land prices compared to other areas. Land prices have gone up here in the last 3 years, but are still much lower than they are in other areas. It costs the same to build a house almost anywhere in Florida, the difference is the cost of the land. If the land is cheaper, then houses will be cheaper. The simple fact is that Port St. Lucie has much lower median prices for housing than Martin County or Palm Beach County or any other county further south where land prices are higher. Your insinuation that I was not honest is just so much bunk.

Jobs mostly construction -- Duh! I said that! Go back and read it again, and this time exercise your attempt at reading comprehension.

Median house prices -- You are absolutely correct that the median house price here about 6 years ago was approximately $90,000 (some sites say $100,000). I am absolutely correct that the median house price has gone up that since then. My original number was a guess, and I said as much, but I looked it up. Here's one report (I can direct you to the actual website if you still think I'm a liar):
-------------------------------
Home Price Analysis for Port St. Lucie - Ft. Pierce
By the Research Division of the National Association of REALTORS®
Executive Summary
With home prices rising strongly in most parts of the country, there has been widespread media coverage on the possibility of a housing market bust. A thorough analysis of the Port St. Lucie-Ft. Pierce metro market, as detailed below, reveals that there is very little danger of this. In fact, the local housing market is in excellent shape with a potential for significant housing equity gains, particularly for homebuyers who plan to remain in their house for the long run.
Because prices have risen faster than income, the ratio of price-to-income is currently above the historical norm. This measure is frequently cited to imply that there is a housing market bubble. But this ratio is a misleading measure in assessing bubble prospects. A more relevant measure is the mortgage servicing cost relative to income. This ratio is at a very manageable level. It implies no widespread financial overstretching to purchase a home in the region. Furthermore, the nationwide supply of homes on the market relative to home sales is very lean, suggesting similarly tight market conditions in the local area.

Price Activity
• The current price of $265,300 is about the national average.
• The median home price rose 31.6% in 2004 and 99% in the past three years.
• Home price growth has been weak throughout the 1990s. So part of the recent increase is attributable to the “catch-up” effect.

--------------------------------
This was 2005 data. I can direct you to several other sources which show similar numbers, as well as facts that demand will continue strong in PSL because of the price advantage.

Your assumption that prices would continue to accelerate at the same rate and reach $1.5 Million is simply faulty logic.

You have been proven wrong, and if you have an honest bone in your own body, you will extend a humble and sincere apology to me.
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Old 07-26-2006, 06:15 AM
 
94 posts, read 396,287 times
Reputation: 44
PS
I red that "demand was greater than supply" so I based my opinion on that, now I read "supply is greater than demand" , I must have misred it (unless of course you changed your post after my post). If former I apoligize.

I have word from other people who live in your area that jobs are mostly construction or RE (or related, mortgage, insurance etc) as you have also verified in your post.

For you not being a RE person or a seller (i.e. flipper). We cannot know that for sure as a lot of realtors pretend they are not in many forums. I think this cannot be proven within the forum boundries, unless you go out of your way. It is not important what you are, it is important what you say.

If you have nothing to gain please do not sound like a RE apologetic. There is not a single thing in your post about Port St. Lucie RE overpriced, you do not even hint it. I recently red a research that showed Port St Lucie as the third overpriced county in the entire US. It was even more overpriced than most NE and many CA areas. Even if the research is flawed, for Port St. Lucie 's name to come up as the third overpriced county/city requires a lot of mistake to be made, would not you agree?

I did not mean to offend you , or insult you. Sorry about that.
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Old 07-26-2006, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie and Okeechobee, FL
1,305 posts, read 5,186,137 times
Reputation: 1100
Thank you. Yes, you are correct about the report about PSL being overpriced. If you referred to that in your first message, I missed it. What I saw was you saying that the median price I quoted was not possible because it was so low just a few years ago: "It is not normal guys, just do the math. If that continued in 10 years the median homes would be 1.5 Million."

The report that said that Naples, FL, Salina CA and Port St. Lucie FL were the three most overvalued markets was flawed. It failed to take into consideration that the Port St. Lucie market was stagnant for nearly 20 years previous, and the recent increases were simply a matter of catching up.

To support that, I submit two pieces of evidence:

(1) Even after the rapid increase, the prices in Port St. Lucie were still lower than in the surrounding areas, especially to the South.

(2) My own house -- I paid $46,000 for it in 1979 and added a $5,000 Florida Room and and a $12,000 swimming pool to it that same year. Thus, the value would have been about $60,000, even assuming I would not have gotten the full value of the improvements. 21 years later, I sold it -- for $74,500, and had to hold the mortgage on it to get that much. So, in over 20 years, it only appreciated about 25% TOTAL, or not much more than 1% per year. That was typical of all houses in Port St. Lucie, while Martin, Palm Beach and others were enjoying a higher rate of increase.

One year later, that house sold for $128,000.. That was the beginning of the rapid increase, and it continued. It's a 3 BR, 2 B house with a pool and a 1-1/2 car garage. Today, it would be right about the median house in PSL, worth about $250,000 to $275,000.

The important thing to remember about that house and the report saying it (and all the others) is overvalued, is that it's still less than the same house would be in the rest of South Florida. If it's cheaper Palm Beach County, Martin County or Indian River County, how can it be over valued? That report was crap. If there is any reason for any recent declines in prices in PSL, that report is one of the factors -- and I have to wonder who was behind the report and what they stood to gain.

By the way, if there was any proof necessary that I'm not a real estate agent, it should be my failure to make any money on that previous house. I once did have a real estate license, back from 1977 to 1982, but in those days, even my barber had a real estate license.

I will tell you that today, my son is a certified real estate appraiser and a manager of appraisers for a large, national savings bank. I take an interest in his work and he and I have frequent discussions about the market.

Before I retired, I owned a store that sold high quality, upscale BBQ grills, BBQ accessories and cooking supplies, grill repair parts, and we fabricated custom outdoor kitchens with fancy built-in grills.

I'm hardly a flipper. In my 34 years in Florida, I've owned the following: 3 primary residences, 1 for 7 years, 1 for 21 years and another for 6 years. I also owned a commercial property where my store was located; I owned that for about 15 years. Finally, for about 5 years I owned a small house in a gated community where my Mom lived until she passed away in 1999. I sold that after she died and lost money -- once again I missed the increase in the market. For the past 3-1/2 years, I've owned 5 acres in Okeechobee, FL, where I am improving the landscape and planning to build my retirement home. I did catch the market jump on that property -- I bought it before prices went up almost 500%!

Nope, sorry, what you see is what you get. I happen to absorb facts and I honor accuracy and detail. I have nothing to gain.

I'm sorry I get so grumpy when someone calls me a liar, but I'm even sorrier for someone who has to live with such a negative and critical attitude.
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