Reading Hammock Musings this morning got me thinking. The post comes as memories of last night’s “House Hunters” are still fresh. I normally only watch the International episodes, but when I saw that this episode was about Palm Beach County, Fla., I was curious.
A co-worker’s brother lives down there, and I keep hearing about the incredible bargains to be had. I still worry about taxes and HOA fees, and ongoing costs connected to standalone homes. That’s also what stops us when we see tempting offerings along the coast from Connecticut up to Cape Cod.
In Providence, R.I., gorgeous apartments, obviously planned in more optimistic times, are at auction. I happen to love Providence, and Waterplace would be a fun place. Views of Firewater would be lovely. But again, even for cheap, is it cheap enough? HOA fees and property taxes are ongoing costs.
Despite my conclusions, these prices are competitive with Centro’s homes, and a lot easier to adjust to for most of us north of the border.
What’s tougher is that Centro homes demand cash on the barrelhead. Where do most people get this cash? Centro prices seem keyed to what a homeowner might be able to write a check from off a home equity line.
Of course, more and more prospective buyers — probably the people who most need to escape the insanity up here — are underwater with their mortgages and have no equity to tap into. This rising demographic is out of work, out of luck, and trapped because as affordable as Mérida is, it still takes resources to buy in, not to mention what adds up to thousands of dollars to travel to the Peninsula and explore, explore, explore. So many beautiful properties in good locations, many which I saw a year ago, are sitting idle.
Briana and Cyrus did well with their purchase in Palm Beach County, buying an obvious fire sale property that met their needs, and their abilities to fix it up. I think their property is a lot less interesting than a colonial in Mérida, but at their stage in life, ease is more important than adventure.
We’d like to maintain some sort of physical presence up here as well, but it depends on what we can afford. Will it be a condo with a view or something more modest?