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Thread summary:

West Palm Beach, potential relocation from Houston, gas prices, average auto insurance rates, property prices, gated communities, rental costs, hurricane season, taxes and insurance

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Old 12-02-2008, 10:18 PM
 
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I currently live in Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States. I have been offered a job in Palm Beach county that comes with a fairly good relocation package, but the pay is less than what I make now. Houston has all the conviences of a big city, but of course it has its share of problems too.

It appears from reading the post about the Palm Beach area, crime, quality education and affordable housing seem to be the major problems there.

Im well aware of the real estates issues that have plagued florida. Im not going to buy a house if I move there, but it appears the areas I saw when I was down there were all gated communities...seems everyone is behind walls. the rental cost are pretty high too....I guess it depends on where you live.

What I would like to know from any of you who currently live in Palm Beach or South Florida are the economic effects of day to day life. What do you spend in grocery stores? Are Publix and Wynn Dixie the only grocery options down there?

I saw gas was still above $2.00 a gallon there, when it is $1.59 here in Houston now. What are the average auto insurance rates? I pay $170 a month now for full coverage on a truck and an suv. What can I expect there in florida? what about renters insurance? Im sure the light bills will be about the same as they are in Houston, since it gets hotter here and is more humid.

It looks like we are coming down next week for a visit to look at some properties..we are going to stay away from anything to the south of Palm Beach, and will probably be looking in Jupiter, Tequesta, Palm Bay or Stuart...it appears those areas are a lil safer than what has been described about areas to the south like Boynton Beach, Lake Worth and the what appears to be the worst area of all, Riveria Beach....

I know a lot of people who are living in the area now are looking to leave. What drives that desire? any info would be helpful. Thanks
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:59 AM
 
668 posts, read 2,216,704 times
Reputation: 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by v2four View Post
I currently live in Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States. I have been offered a job in Palm Beach county that comes with a fairly good relocation package, but the pay is less than what I make now. Houston has all the conviences of a big city, but of course it has its share of problems too.

It appears from reading the post about the Palm Beach area, crime, quality education and affordable housing seem to be the major problems there.

Im well aware of the real estates issues that have plagued florida. Im not going to buy a house if I move there, but it appears the areas I saw when I was down there were all gated communities...seems everyone is behind walls. the rental cost are pretty high too....I guess it depends on where you live.

What I would like to know from any of you who currently live in Palm Beach or South Florida are the economic effects of day to day life. What do you spend in grocery stores? Are Publix and Wynn Dixie the only grocery options down there?

I saw gas was still above $2.00 a gallon there, when it is $1.59 here in Houston now. What are the average auto insurance rates? I pay $170 a month now for full coverage on a truck and an suv. What can I expect there in florida? what about renters insurance? Im sure the light bills will be about the same as they are in Houston, since it gets hotter here and is more humid.

It looks like we are coming down next week for a visit to look at some properties..we are going to stay away from anything to the south of Palm Beach, and will probably be looking in Jupiter, Tequesta, Palm Bay or Stuart...it appears those areas are a lil safer than what has been described about areas to the south like Boynton Beach, Lake Worth and the what appears to be the worst area of all, Riveria Beach....

I know a lot of people who are living in the area now are looking to leave. What drives that desire? any info would be helpful. Thanks
I'm temporarily currently stayin in West Palm Beach from Chicago and I can tell u it's a real snoozehole compared to big city lifestyle. The people seem friendly enough, but it's a ghost town around here at night, unless ur at City Place or Clematis, which is really nothin special compared to what were used to in the city life. Any place north or south of downtown west palm (a couple block radius) is completely deserted looking. I've gone bored here, but I'm still fairly new here and still lookin for the little nooks n crannies, so it's not really fair of me to say. Someone else can give u a little more info better than mine I'm sure.

And Publix is the only grocery store we use where I live. Good luck.
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:06 AM
 
Location: western East Roman Empire
8,549 posts, read 12,488,807 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v2four View Post

1) What do you spend in grocery stores? Are Publix and Wynn Dixie the only grocery options down there?

2) What are the average auto insurance rates?

3) I know a lot of people who are living in the area now are looking to leave. What drives that desire?
1) Look for produce stands for fruits and vegetables, prices are around 1/4 of Publix prices. For dry and household goods try Walmart, Sam's Club, Costco or BJs (?). For meats, Publix is probably better, but Wynn Dixie and Albertson's often run sales, so look for advertisements and coupons in newspapers and in mailings.

2) I pay around $1400 per year for one fuel-efficient car, perfect driving record, do not use it to commute on a daily basis, high credit score. I am told that this is a low rate. Depending on your situation, be prepared for up to double that.

3) You mentioned the reasons in your original post. Mainly the cost of living during the bubble years increased at a faster pace than incomes (if incomes increased at all for the average worker); also back-to-back hurricane seasons jacked up property insurance rates. So between taxes, insurances and other expenses, many people have been priced out of the region with respect to their expectations.

Taxes and insurance costs are receding now that the bubble has burst and the hurricanes are becoming a memory (hopefully the 2004-2005 phenomenon will prove to be once-in-a-century), but the damage has already been done for many people and the outlook for incomes is not bright.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Alaska & Florida
1,629 posts, read 5,096,424 times
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Palm Beach County is large, it can take a good hour without any traffic to go from the South end (Boca Raton) to the North end (Jupiter). I have family that lives in Houston and I have to say the lifestyle is almost exactly the same. Shopping is done at big malls, everything is spreadout, most of the buildings are new, there are a lot developments etc. However, with that being said, I definetly prefer South Florida over Houston. I just moved from San Francisco, so the cost of living here seems extremely cheap. $2.00 per gallon is "wow" to me lol.

As far as crime goes, I wouldn't be worried about it, it's just like Houston, crime stays in the bad areas for the most part anyways. Schools, it depends which city in Palm Beach County you live in. I know Boca Raton has supposedly the best public school system in South Florida or one of them at least. I would recommend checking out PALM BEACH GARDENS and BOCA RATON for renting or purchasing a house. They are both very nice, desirable and safe cities. I currently live in Boca Raton and think it's the picture perfect city to raise a family. If you do drive there, most people live WEST of I-95. I would take the Palmetto Exit West, make a left at Military Trail, make a right at SW 18 Street, make a right at Powerline Road, make a right at Glades, you will pass by the Town Center Mall, if you continue you will end up back on I-95. It will give you a tour of the residential side of Boca Raton, it will take maybe 15 minutes from the time you exit the freeway until the time you get back on.

Groceries: Publix, Winn, Costco, Target, Walmart, Greenwise Publix, Whole Foods (favorite)
I have a 1/1 apartment (950 sq ft) and pay about $30 water/month, $100 electric/month

Hope this helps

Last edited by Jonotastic; 12-03-2008 at 10:55 AM..
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Louisville, KY
522 posts, read 1,511,168 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonotastic View Post
Palm Beach County is large, it can take a good hour without any traffic to go from the South end (Boca Raton) to the North end (Jupiter). I have family that lives in Houston and I have to say the lifestyle is almost exactly the same. Shopping is done at big malls, everything is spreadout, most of the buildings are new, there are a lot developments etc. However, with that being said, I definetly prefer South Florida over Houston. I just moved from San Francisco, so the cost of living here seems extremely cheap. $2.00 per gallon is "wow" to me lol.

As far as crime goes, I wouldn't be worried about it, it's just like Houston, crime stays in the bad areas for the most part anyways. Schools, it depends which city in Palm Beach County you live in. I know Boca Raton has supposedly the best public school system in South Florida or one of them at least. I would recommend checking out PALM BEACH GARDENS and BOCA RATON for renting or purchasing a house. They are both very nice, desirable and safe cities. I currently live in Boca Raton and think it's the picture perfect city to raise a family. If you do drive there, most people live WEST of I-95. I would take the Palmetto Exit West, make a left at Military Trail, make a right at SW 18 Street, make a right at Powerline Road, make a right at Glades, you will pass by the Town Center Mall, if you continue you will end up back on I-95. It will give you a tour of the residential side of Boca Raton, it will take maybe 15 minutes from the time you exit the freeway until the time you get back on.

Groceries: Publix, Winn, Costco, Target, Walmart, Greenwise Publix, Whole Foods (favorite)
I have a 1/1 apartment (950 sq ft) and pay about $30 water/month, $100 electric/month

Hope this helps
are you serious that you think Boca is the picture perfect place to raise a family? Spanish River High is rated the best public high school in Boca and it's full of drugs and kids from dysfunctional families. Of course, if wealth and manicured lawns are what you value, I agree Boca has everything in south PBC hands down. I know, I'm from the midwest and really made a huge mistake in moving down here. I'm not shallow, superficial, or a con artist. Anyone else who wants to live in s. florida need not apply.
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:04 PM
 
Location: Alaska & Florida
1,629 posts, read 5,096,424 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joanie55 View Post
are you serious that you think Boca is the picture perfect place to raise a family? Spanish River High is rated the best public high school in Boca and it's full of drugs and kids from dysfunctional families. Of course, if wealth and manicured lawns are what you value, I agree Boca has everything in south PBC hands down. I know, I'm from the midwest and really made a huge mistake in moving down here. I'm not shallow, superficial, or a con artist. Anyone else who wants to live in s. florida need not apply.
I don't know...I've lived in Anchorage, AK - Wasilla, AK - Seattle, WA - Australia -Orlando,FL - San Francisco,CA - Daytona Beach,FL - Boca Raton, FL and I have to say Boca Raton is a picture perfect place to raise a family. I have a few friends here who went to Spanish River and one that went to Boca Raton and they are all nice girls who aren't on drugs. Boca Raton has a reputation for having great schools, it's one of the reasons real estate prices are holding their value. It sounds that you have a bitter feeling toward the people who live in this area, maybe you are jealous of the wealth people have here? Anyways, greatschools.net is what I used to choose schools when I was growing up because I moved around so much and I have to say they've been pretty accurate from my experience and the two high schools here seem to follow the same remarks made by my friends.


Boca Raton Community High School - Boca Raton, Florida - FL - School overview

Spanish River Community High School - Boca Raton, Florida - FL - School overview

btw: I'm assuming you think people here are "superficial, shallow, and con artists" I just moved here in August and have met MANY nice and friendly people in my apartment complex, at Mizner Dog Park and at my local grocery store (Howard's Market), they know me by name and even know what I usually get before I even have to ask. Sometimes you have to ask yourself, maybe if people are coming off rude etc, maybe it's something that I AM doing wrong, after all you moved to their area, you can't expect them to roll out the red carpet. I've always found no matter where I've lived, if you are friendly, people will be friendly, don't expect them to be without any effort from your side.

Last edited by Jonotastic; 12-03-2008 at 10:13 PM..
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:43 PM
 
587 posts, read 1,052,637 times
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thanks for the help so far. I guess when I get down there next week, I will search in Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and areas north of Jupiter. I know Boca Raton is pretty much high rent district, and my potential job is in the northern portion of Palm Beach County, so I do not want to navigate traffic north on 95 in the morning and south on 95 in the evening. Additionally, I dont think I could afford anything in Boca anyway...Ive seen listings on rent.com and realtor.com and the prices for some of the properties are just outrageous!

One more thing that really concerns my wife and I are the unemployment numbers coming out of the Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boyton Beach area that we read about on the Department of Labor
s website

Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary)

job losses have taken a turn for the worst there and in Miami/Ft Lauderdale as well, so it appears that the entire southern atlantic coast of Florida is enduring record unemployment.....that is a serious cause for concern. I will take my trip down there next week, but unless we really feel confident about our chances there, I may just stay here in Houston.
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Old 12-04-2008, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Ft Lauderdale, FL
259 posts, read 782,570 times
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Original Houstonian here. I moved to Palm Beach County (Greenacres) about 2 years ago and now live further south in Broward County. It's a long story of how I ended up further south but for the most part, I just wanted to add that so far, it has been a fairly interesting and unexpected adjustment for me. Honestly, I think it all depends on the lifestyle that you truely expect to live and what you are truely looking for in a city.
First, I think the most challenging difference me was the high cost of living factor down here vs Houston. Here, a 1bd apart in a decent middle class-ish area will run around $950-$1000/month. In Houston you can find something much cheaper for a middle class area and if you are in fact paying $1G you are at least getting some nice appliances, really close to downtown, or a garden tub, or some other type of benefit. Groceries are much higher (just looking at the price of simple orange juice), gas is higher, movies are more expensive, TOLLS are annoying (of course I've experienced that more though as I went further south), my car insurance doubled -I am now paying about $2000/a year (normal driver), and I wouldn't even consider buying a house as they are still just too overpriced and I could get more bang for my buck somewhere else. Even the ghetto is expensive. But the point is that the cost of living to me was a huge downer.
Also, I think the Palm Beach County area will seem much slower coming from Houston.
Downtown West Palm is beautiful, close to the beach but also tiny. There are events but there is no "theatre district" or anything with an extreme vibe. For the most part, it's very laid back and "touristy". That could be enjoyable for some...like I said, that is all relative to what a person is looking for.
Also, crime is fairly high for a much smaller city and the schools are not that great compared to the wide range of options that you have in Houston. You might get lucky and find a nice area but for the most part, I found that people stick to themselves and are not very "neighborly".
That being said, yse there are still some positives about Palm Beach County. It is a GORGEOUS area compared to Houston. (Not much litter or pollution). The weather is actually somewhat similar (except there is more of a breeze here & the summer temps last about 1 month longer) and the beaches are beautiful compared to places like Galveston. It has a different international vibe as there are a lot of carribean islanders. (I won't go into that because that also depends on what like) Also, if you enjoy a little bit of slower pace then it could be the place for you. I would recommend Palm Beach Gardens as well especially for the location. It is a nice area. Most of Greenacres is also nice and I've only driven through Jupiter.
I would definitely say keep doing your research before moving. I would ONLY do it if the job situation was promising and if I were getting paid more here than in Houston (since it is so expensive). Also, you have to consider the change in environment and the type of lifestyle that you enjoy living.
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Old 12-04-2008, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Ft Lauderdale, FL
259 posts, read 782,570 times
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Oops I meant to say $3000/yr (car insurance)

Last edited by Nikki9947; 12-04-2008 at 08:40 AM.. Reason: error
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:32 AM
 
Location: Exit 14C
1,555 posts, read 3,927,100 times
Reputation: 398
Quote:
Originally Posted by v2four View Post
It appears from reading the post about the Palm Beach area, crime, quality education and affordable housing seem to be the major problems there.
I think it should seem more that a handful or two of people have issues for reasons that might be difficult to pin down just by reading posts. It should tell you more about those people than anything else, but we'd really have to spend some time getting to know them in person to better know what's going on in each case.
Quote:
it appears the areas I saw when I was down there were all gated communities...seems everyone is behind walls.
Not every place is a gated community, but yes, there are plenty of them in Florida, for a wide variety of reasons, including paranoia.
Quote:
the rental cost are pretty high too....
That could be the case relative to Houston. I'm not familiar with real estate prices in Houston.
Quote:
It looks like we are coming down next week for a visit to look at some properties..
That's really the best idea. You will be able to tell by visiting various neighborhoods whether they'd be right for you. Also make sure that you make a list of things to check at the grocery store for prices, and make sure you write the prices down so you can compare them. For auto insurance, etc., you can easily get a quote from insurers, and that will give you an exact figure, based on facts specifically about you. Do this after you narrow down your locations, so you can get quotes for the exact town you might be living in.
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