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Old 01-20-2007, 10:40 AM
30 posts, read 182,883 times
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My husband and I are considering a move to West Palm Beach for work. Our other relocation choice is the Stratford, CT area (about 1 hour from NYC). I don't know anything about West Palm Beach at all. We currently live in AL, but have lived in several states. I am originally from Savannah. It would be a huge help to have information about what it is like to live in the area. What are the positives and negatives? What is the personality of West Palm Beach? Any words of wisdom or advice in making this choice?
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Old 01-20-2007, 11:20 AM
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Wink Amazing

I have family that has lived in West Palm for many years. We just returned from a short vacation there earlier this month. It is one of the most beautiful locations in all of Florida. It has changed dramatically during the past ten years, and you will need to prepare yourself for the contrasts. You could be driving through a small region of West Palm and be observing the multi-million dollar homes in the gated communities; five minutes later... you had better lock your car doors and drive quickly. The ocean is beautiful this time of year, but the gridlock and traffic negates some of the appeal. Good jobs are scarce, but if you have a large bankroll, life can be very good in WPB.
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Old 01-20-2007, 02:59 PM
33 posts, read 171,186 times
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couldn't have said it better
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Old 01-21-2007, 04:49 AM
Location: western East Roman Empire
8,956 posts, read 13,002,821 times
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A detailed answer to your question depends on the details of your circumstances: level of wealth and income, number and age of family members, type of housing, sector of employment and type, connections in that sector, distance between eventual residence and place of employment ... these are a few of the basics to start off with.

The details of your circumstances may even also determine whether the cost of living in WPB is greater or less than in Stratford, CT.

There have been a couple relatively long threads recently on West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County, so look them up in the forum search engine. Also look up some of the major suburbs like Wellington, Jupiter, Port Saint Lucy (PSL).

Generally speaking, as for WPB proper, as some one alluded to, there are a few very good neighborhoods, usually along the coast, clustered in and around what passes for downtown, and a lot of mediocre and funky ones, even surrounding the core.

As mentioned, the WPB has undergone visible changes in the last ten years, even five years. The drive to revitalize and modernize the downtown area has been only semi-successful mainly because - in my estimation - due to the credit bubble, real estate is way overpriced and many condo projects remain half-empty or half-built on the one hand, and the economy is not that well-diversified, on the other, to support high enough income on broad enough scale to fully support the price level. Economic flows are still significantly seasonal: for example, "City Place", a newly developed neighborhood downtown, has almost of ghost town feeling to it during the low months (June-August, even April-December) and most of the higher paying jobs are in the County government sector, dominated by a spoils system.

But again, these are general considerations. Your particular circumstances will determine whether you are able to enjoy the positive sides to the quality of life in WPB, Palm Beach County, and the southern Florida region as a whole.

Good luck!
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:02 AM
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Thanks for the info and encouragement. Here is a bit more about my circumstances: We could comfortably afford a mortgage payment of $2500, more if I get a job, which I desperately want to do. We've lived in GA, Missouri, AK, Maryland, and now Alabama. Since we've moved so much I've re-invented myself each time. In Missouri I was a substitute teacher. In AK I worked for the University teaching classes in the technology dept. I took a year off in MD and in AL I've opened my own event planning business. (If I never have to plan another over-the-top super expensive birthday party for a 3 year old I'll be very happy.) My husband loves the idea of wearing t-shirts, shorts, and teva sandals year round, but I love pulling my cashmere turtles out of the closet. Oh yeah, whenever I visit FL everyone looks so gorgeous and glamorous to me. I'm just an average, reasonably attractive 36 year old woman and I don't think of myself as particularly glamorous. Frankly, I'm a bit intimidated about living in WPB, finding a job, and fitting in.
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:32 AM
33 posts, read 171,186 times
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Do yourself a favor and check out Wellington. And p.s. Get rid of the winter clothes, unless you travel north of the PBC.
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:39 AM
33 posts, read 171,186 times
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Just checked the 10-day forecast since my sister is going down Tuesday for a visit.
So don't throw all of your winter clothes out. You'll need a sweater next Friday,only a high of 66.
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Old 01-21-2007, 10:03 AM
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I am moving to West Palm Beach after graduation in a about four or five months. I WAS contemplating buying a place down there when I moved, but have decided against it until I'm sure I'll like living there for a while! I have, however, done a lot of research on prices and neighborhoods in the area though, and lived in Palm Beach County for four years during undergrad prior to moving up to Tallahassee for grad school, so I think I can give you some help.

I personally plan on living in or immediately around the "City Place" development, most likely renting a condo, the average price being roughly $1500/month for a two bedroom the desired buildings. Now, if you desire to live IN West Palm Beach itself, I recommend the same general area, and buying a condo or townhouse, though if you can handle the adventure (i.e., owning a free standing home in a revitalizing, historical neighborhood, there are some unique neighborhoods just outside City Place, near the intracoastal, and convention center that are very charming, such as the "El Cid" neighborhood). Apparently a lot of New York and Palm Beach society have been buying up properties in West Palm Beach and fixing them up. Plus, downtown is right outside Palm Beach Island, and just a short skip to the airport!

Stay South of Palm Beach Lakes Blvd, in your search, the closer to the intracoastal, the better, as the area is still being gentrified and there's a pretty scary neighborhood not far from Downtown. I'm not sure what the "northern" boundary of desirability is though, I'm afraid. When you read about crime statistics in West Palm Beach, however, realize that the vast majority of that takes place in a part of town called "Riviera Beach" and stay as far as possible from it.

If you BUY a condominium in downtown West Palm Beach, you can expect to spend 300k+ for a 2 bedroom condo in the better buildings, and home owner's association fees can be steep, often $400 to $500/month. City place itself has comparable condos for roughly the same prices, but also some nice townhouses for $500k, though just outside city place you can find townhouses starting in the 300s. The area attracts a lot of visitors from all over the world, but as someone mentioned before, the whole area (including traffic and commerce) is "seasonal!"

Now, if you prefer a bit more suburban setting, I recommend researching Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, or Wellington. Home prices in these cities are NOT cheap, but they are safe, clean, and offer great amenities and beaches (Jupiter especially, and except Wellington, which has no beach, lol). Jupiter/Palm Beach Gardens actually offers shopping that you can't even get in Downtown West Palm. (Though of course REALLY high priced shopping is always available on Worth Ave. on Palm Beach).

I am not too "up on the times" with Wellington, but it has always seemed nice to me. They have a good mall, the polo grounds, and a lot of fine homes. It's further from the Coast, in the more "Western suburban" part of the county, but easily accessible to downtown and Jupiter/PBG by the turnpike. Look for about a 15-20 minute drive to downtown from any of these cities.

Anything South of West Palm I'm not too familiar with. If you have any questions though, feel free to ask or private message me. Sometimes I feel like I could be a realtor if there weren't too many already, lol. I personaaly lived in Jupiter, though, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I would like to live there again when I'm older and less cut out for more urban living! Basically though throughout Palm Beach County you have the same people and culture as where you're from in the tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT), just with palm trees and sunshine! When people talk about "rude" people in the area, you'll find the same thing in CT. There IS, however, a lot of "status climbing" in Palm Beach County.... so be prepared to deal with the annoyance of people embroiled in THAT.

Last edited by TriMT7; 01-21-2007 at 10:34 AM..
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Old 01-21-2007, 10:56 AM
Location: Fort Lauderdale
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I am not much of an expert on the main 'West Palm Beach" or Northern Pam Beach County but I can certainly recommend and offer my advice on the Southern part of the county. I personally prefer the Boca to Boynton part since they are not that 'uptight' (OK boca is a little uptight), offer decent home values, good variety of jobs (including tech and teaching jobs), and the area is very centrally located so one an easily commute to anywhere from Fort Lauderdale to Jupiter. I personally live in Delray Beach and love the area, the downtown is really nice (yet not as touristy as WPB or Las Olas), the beaches are beautiful, there are plenty of jobs and I often commute down to fort lauderdale as well as the way up to Palm Beach Gardens..... Please feel free to IM me if you need further idea about the housing options, pricing or any other info for that that matter.... Good Luck on your move

FL is really living in Paradise
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Old 01-21-2007, 01:26 PM
30 posts, read 182,883 times
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Thanks guys. I'm feeling a little better about SOFL. What is the deal with all of the pet restrictions? My kids are a basset hound and a lab. I expected to run into restrictions for condos but it looks like there are even single family homes in neighborhoods with pet restrictions. Is FL a dog friendly place?
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