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Buyers look for value in Palm Beach County new home market

Saturday, January 7, 2012
When Danny Rivera decided he wanted to move to Florida nearly two years ago, the state's housing market was in full collapse.

Rivera, 50, who works in information technology for Bank of America, thought briefly about buying a new house, but then decided to search northern Palm Beach County for re-sales.

"What I found was that with a lot of those houses, the prices seemed competitive, but then when you figured in the amount I would have to spend on upgrading everything to get what I wanted, I would have had to spend a lot more," he said.

So Rivera, like more and more buyers, recently decided to take another look at new developments. Last week he became the first buyer for GL Home's newest Palm Beach County community, The Preserve at Bay Hill Estates.

The Sunrise-based company is building 194 homesites on 1/2 acre lots in the community off Northlake Boulevard west of the Bee Line Highway. Home prices range from $425,900 to $599,000 depending on the model.

At an open house for the project Saturday, Rivera said he believes he actually saved money by buying new.

GL's East Coast division president Marcie DePlaza agrees. She said the company sold 500 homes in Palm Beach County last year and believes the numbers will stay high.

DePlaza says that according to her company's research, many of their buyers follow Rivera's path, considering a new home initially before searching out resales and eventually deciding to buy new.

"We actually think about that when we price our homes," DePlaza said. "We market with the selling point of better quality for less price."

Rivera, who now lives in New Jersey, said he also explored the option of buying a plot of land and having a home built, but in the end decided that GL's five-bedroom, three-bath Rosewood model was best for him.

According to a U.S. Commerce Department report, sales of new homes in the southern half of the nation were up in November from the previous month and higher than the numbers from the previous year though the sales of new homes nationwide had declined.