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Old 03-24-2015, 10:10 AM
 
4 posts, read 25,682 times
Reputation: 12

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I posted my message a few days ago in the Fort Lauderdale section, so I apologize if you've seen it already. Hoping for more comments from Boca-Delray section.

My wife and I are in our mid fifties, looking to buy a house in walking distance to the beach in South-East Florida. Our goal is to use it as a winter refuge from lovely New Jersey and then make it our main home over time. We would have our kids and future grand kids over, but schools are not our main concern besides affecting RE values. Our price range is $1.5-2mm. We are originally from Europe (25 years ago) and the other important consideration is proximity of nice civilized and cosmopolitan nightlife (ideally walking distance to something like a boardwalk,or downtown with restaurants and late closing shops). Like our realtor said - I like to live in an upscale area where nice people are on vacation.

We started our discovery from the South Beach, that we have liked for a long time only to realize that 1) it is unaffordable for the type of house we are looking for, and 2) a bit too much from the stand point of business during the day and during the night. We quickly realized that we will get tired real soon. However, variety of Miami's offerings is highly appealing - where you can drive to nice restaurants like Zuma. So we decided to pass on living there and just have it as a nice place to occasionally come to.

Considered Sunny Isles - mostly condos and a few options like Golden Gate Estates and Golden Beach nearby. Nice but the houses are on top of each other, and Golden Beach is overpriced.

Then Fort Lauderdale. There are a few very nice houses in Harbor Beach, truly impressive. However, almost all of the people we spoke with are apprehensive about Fort Lauderdale - using terms like riffraff, too touristy in the spring break, very busy roads to get in and out, and the crowd in general. What is appealing is that the house we liked is walking distance to a nice private and affordable beach club, and about half a mile to the boardwalk starting at Marriott. Not sure though if this boardwalk is comparable to the one in South Beach. My hunch it is not. We also spent a few hours walking, browsing, lunching in Las Olas area. It does not seem to be large and robust enough to feel similar to Collins ave in South Beach. Yes, there are nice store and restaurants there, but not having enough personal experience we were not certain it would meet our expectations. Is there any cultural life? The other concern living in the Harbor Beach area is noise. While looking at houses we notice very active air traffic coming and going to the FL airport, plus the noise form A1A unless you are deep into the canals area. Not sure how much pressing it is for the residents?

Most of the houses we saw afterwords, were in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and in between. Our impression of Boca was good and better than we expected. Boca was characterized to us as sleeping and a bit old, outdated and boring. Not bad at all actually! We found a few houses in the Por la Mar area in walking distance from the beach and half a mile walk to the Mizner Park. The Park area seems to be nice, while relatively small with respect to variety. What are the opinions of the crowd there?

Delray's Atlantic Ave is nice and booming, but based on what we've seen this is all Delray has to offer. Like someone else said - Atlantic av is still a wanna-be. During the day, other areas of Delray seem grey and unappealing, while the beach is great. But the beach is everywhere the beach, nothing super special about this beach. We could not figure out why Delray has become such a popular place lately with some of the Boca residents moving there, and prices going up disproportionally high. Why Delray is becoming more expensive than Boca?

We enjoyed visiting Palm beach, but it is absolutely untouchable price-wise, and West Palm Beach appeared to us a bit kitschy, almost a feeling of Atlantic City or Las Vegas.

So practically speaking we are to Harbor beach in Fort Lauderdale vs Por la Mar in Boca. I would greatly appreciate feedback on these areas given what I tried to describe as our priorities.

Many thanks for reading and hopefully coming up with insights that may help us.
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Old 03-24-2015, 02:42 PM
 
1,947 posts, read 3,320,698 times
Reputation: 1194
Quote:
Originally Posted by namor View Post
I posted my message a few days ago in the Fort Lauderdale section, so I apologize if you've seen it already. Hoping for more comments from Boca-Delray section.

My wife and I are in our mid fifties, looking to buy a house in walking distance to the beach in South-East Florida. Our goal is to use it as a winter refuge from lovely New Jersey and then make it our main home over time. We would have our kids and future grand kids over, but schools are not our main concern besides affecting RE values. Our price range is $1.5-2mm. We are originally from Europe (25 years ago) and the other important consideration is proximity of nice civilized and cosmopolitan nightlife (ideally walking distance to something like a boardwalk,or downtown with restaurants and late closing shops). Like our realtor said - I like to live in an upscale area where nice people are on vacation.

We started our discovery from the South Beach, that we have liked for a long time only to realize that 1) it is unaffordable for the type of house we are looking for, and 2) a bit too much from the stand point of business during the day and during the night. We quickly realized that we will get tired real soon. However, variety of Miami's offerings is highly appealing - where you can drive to nice restaurants like Zuma. So we decided to pass on living there and just have it as a nice place to occasionally come to.

Considered Sunny Isles - mostly condos and a few options like Golden Gate Estates and Golden Beach nearby. Nice but the houses are on top of each other, and Golden Beach is overpriced.

Then Fort Lauderdale. There are a few very nice houses in Harbor Beach, truly impressive. However, almost all of the people we spoke with are apprehensive about Fort Lauderdale - using terms like riffraff, too touristy in the spring break, very busy roads to get in and out, and the crowd in general. What is appealing is that the house we liked is walking distance to a nice private and affordable beach club, and about half a mile to the boardwalk starting at Marriott. Not sure though if this boardwalk is comparable to the one in South Beach. My hunch it is not. We also spent a few hours walking, browsing, lunching in Las Olas area. It does not seem to be large and robust enough to feel similar to Collins ave in South Beach. Yes, there are nice store and restaurants there, but not having enough personal experience we were not certain it would meet our expectations. Is there any cultural life? The other concern living in the Harbor Beach area is noise. While looking at houses we notice very active air traffic coming and going to the FL airport, plus the noise form A1A unless you are deep into the canals area. Not sure how much pressing it is for the residents?

Most of the houses we saw afterwords, were in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and in between. Our impression of Boca was good and better than we expected. Boca was characterized to us as sleeping and a bit old, outdated and boring. Not bad at all actually! We found a few houses in the Por la Mar area in walking distance from the beach and half a mile walk to the Mizner Park. The Park area seems to be nice, while relatively small with respect to variety. What are the opinions of the crowd there?

Delray's Atlantic Ave is nice and booming, but based on what we've seen this is all Delray has to offer. Like someone else said - Atlantic av is still a wanna-be. During the day, other areas of Delray seem grey and unappealing, while the beach is great. But the beach is everywhere the beach, nothing super special about this beach. We could not figure out why Delray has become such a popular place lately with some of the Boca residents moving there, and prices going up disproportionally high. Why Delray is becoming more expensive than Boca?

We enjoyed visiting Palm beach, but it is absolutely untouchable price-wise, and West Palm Beach appeared to us a bit kitschy, almost a feeling of Atlantic City or Las Vegas.

So practically speaking we are to Harbor beach in Fort Lauderdale vs Por la Mar in Boca. I would greatly appreciate feedback on these areas given what I tried to describe as our priorities.

Many thanks for reading and hopefully coming up with insights that may help us.

I'd be curious to hear from other posters. I personally prefer Delray over Boca myself. I visit the area quite frequently. Coming from the Northeast I find it a more walkable town. Boca reminds me of typical gated/locked-up Florida communities. I don't like Mizner Park that much compared to Atlantic Ave. Mizner Park doesn't seem like an authentic downtown. Reminds me of Disney product, a replica of a downtown.

I can't say why prices in Delray are jumping so much, but they are jumping. I'd be curious to hear thoughts from locals. I would also say the area around Pineapple Grove is growing and is less touristy than Atlantic. I liked Pineapple Grove although it is small.
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:49 PM
 
536 posts, read 844,460 times
Reputation: 1486
I live in Boca and far prefer it to Delray Beach. Boca is by far the better managed city, not that DB is chopped liver. The downtown area is walkable but I am not a big diner-out or patron of antiques shops. There are no small stores, shoe repair shops, etc. Stores to buy t-shirts? I don't wear 'em.

If DB had a real downtown with services--butcher, baker, candlestick maker--I would join Team Delray. It's all show for the tourists looking for bathing suits and small gifts, or celebration dining. And the parking and driving are a nightmare during the Season. Traffic is handled better in Boca.

I do think that parts of Swinton Ave in Delray Beach have more charm than anything in Boca Raton, but also think the town is very overpriced. Swinton Ave would be about 30-45 minutes' walk to the beach.

I don't know Ft Lauderdale well, but surely there are terrific homes down there, and clusters of great communities. FLL beach is much nicer, to me, than Delray. My favorite of the BR beaches is Spanish River Park and I think it's really beautiful, and seldom crowded. Beaches nearer to Mizner Park (south Boca) have tar coming in with the changes in tide. Very hard to get off the feet, so I wouldn't want to live near the beach in the southern part of town, pretty as Camino Real is.

Edited to add: I totally agree with you about wood homes, over-55 communities, HOA association fees, and zero lot line homes. I live in Palmetto Park Terrace, and it is a mix of different 60s-70s styles. Some of the houses are expensive but not all of them.

Last edited by ladyalicemore; 03-24-2015 at 04:05 PM..
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:13 AM
 
5 posts, read 17,456 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiLIFE View Post
I'd be curious to hear from other posters. I personally prefer Delray over Boca myself. I visit the area quite frequently. Coming from the Northeast I find it a more walkable town. Boca reminds me of typical gated/locked-up Florida communities. I don't like Mizner Park that much compared to Atlantic Ave. Mizner Park doesn't seem like an authentic downtown. Reminds me of Disney product, a replica of a downtown.

I can't say why prices in Delray are jumping so much, but they are jumping. I'd be curious to hear thoughts from locals. I would also say the area around Pineapple Grove is growing and is less touristy than Atlantic. I liked Pineapple Grove although it is small.
I LOVE Pineapple Grove! My favorite restaurant is Max's Harvest. I would kill to live in Pineapple Grove. It has an upscale, hippy, cultured, educated, friendly vibe. We're thinking of retiring there!
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Old 03-30-2015, 04:43 PM
 
17,263 posts, read 21,998,333 times
Reputation: 29576
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyalicemore View Post
I live in Boca and far prefer it to Delray Beach. Boca is by far the better managed city, not that DB is chopped liver. The downtown area is walkable but I am not a big diner-out or patron of antiques shops. There are no small stores, shoe repair shops, etc. Stores to buy t-shirts? I don't wear 'em.

If DB had a real downtown with services--butcher, baker, candlestick maker--I would join Team Delray. It's all show for the tourists looking for bathing suits and small gifts, or celebration dining. And the parking and driving are a nightmare during the Season. Traffic is handled better in Boca.

I do think that parts of Swinton Ave in Delray Beach have more charm than anything in Boca Raton, but also think the town is very overpriced. Swinton Ave would be about 30-45 minutes' walk to the beach.

I don't know Ft Lauderdale well, but surely there are terrific homes down there, and clusters of great communities. FLL beach is much nicer, to me, than Delray. My favorite of the BR beaches is Spanish River Park and I think it's really beautiful, and seldom crowded. Beaches nearer to Mizner Park (south Boca) have tar coming in with the changes in tide. Very hard to get off the feet, so I wouldn't want to live near the beach in the southern part of town, pretty as Camino Real is.

Edited to add: I totally agree with you about wood homes, over-55 communities, HOA association fees, and zero lot line homes. I live in Palmetto Park Terrace, and it is a mix of different 60s-70s styles. Some of the houses are expensive but not all of them.
Very accurate post! I grew up in East Boca (lived in PB Farms, wife lived in Boca Square). That being said if I had 750-1mm to spend East Delray would get my money from Swinton to the beach from Linton to George Bush Blvd area. I still like Sun and Surf in Boca but it is hard to get anything nice in there at that price point.

Boca's wannabe rich/scammers/ NY-NJ transplants ruined the town for me. Anything west of 95 is a joke and the traffic going west is ridiculous in the afternoons.
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:24 AM
 
1,947 posts, read 3,320,698 times
Reputation: 1194
Quote:
Originally Posted by City Guy997S View Post
Very accurate post! I grew up in East Boca (lived in PB Farms, wife lived in Boca Square). That being said if I had 750-1mm to spend East Delray would get my money from Swinton to the beach from Linton to George Bush Blvd area. I still like Sun and Surf in Boca but it is hard to get anything nice in there at that price point.

Boca's wannabe rich/scammers/ NY-NJ transplants ruined the town for me. Anything west of 95 is a joke and the traffic going west is ridiculous in the afternoons.
I love the area along Swinton and north of Atlantic. Awesome character and charm. My dream to live over there.
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Old 03-31-2015, 07:37 PM
 
Location: SoFlo
981 posts, read 898,961 times
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I agree, overall Boca is a better managed city - it will be interesting to see how we manage the growth in Delray, and frankly I'm a bit concerned. The traffic, sober houses, tourists, and trash (meaning the junk people love to throw out their car windows) are bordering on the out of control. I have now taken to bringing a garbage bag when I walk the dogs. Disgusting, and something I never see in Boca. Overall, I enjoy living in East Delray but if this continues at the rate it has been, it will ruin the town.

I just have to disagree with ladyalice here. I live in Del Ida Park and either walk or ride my bike to the local tailor, cobbler, clothing shops (and not t-shirts, actual boutiques with a preppy feel), mystery bookshop with book club, music school, gym, historic society, artist alley, French Bakery, etc. You just have to step away from the Ave and all of what you mentioned is right here. There is a lot more to Delray than the Ave. I have my issues with the town, but wishing there was a "real downtown" just isn't one of them.

Agree with ladyalice on Spanish River Park - it is fantastic and the tourist factor at DB's main public beach has tipped into the out of control zone. I just discovered Gulfstream Park, a little north of DB in Ocean Ridge. REALLY nice, very small with limited parking but lifeguard and facilities.
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