Cost of Living - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Cost of Living

The cost of a home is going through the roof. For the first time ever, the median price of a single family home in Palm Beach County goes above the $300,000 mark. So, is it more expensive to live in South Florida when you look at housing, taxes, insurance and other costs?

The sunshine, sand and surf comes free of charge, but to live in Paradise continues to get more and more expensive. Nationally, the cost of a single family home rose 8% last year, but Florida homes went up 17 percent in one year. Locally, prices went up 25% in Palm Beach County from 2003 to 2004, and 26% on the Treasure Coast.

"Welcome to Cypress Cove. Cypress cove has 79 homes in this area."

Jupiter Realtor Laurie Klein Goodman says homes in Jupiter have gone up by as much as 35% in the last year. She says clients who thought about buying 5 years ago, are now kicking themselves.

Laurie Klein /Jupiter Realtor: "A home in the 350 range is now going for 850. Everybody says they should have done it then."

Lisa Samek of Washington D.C. has watched the homes increase in price. That's not stopping her from buying in North Palm Beach County.

Lisa Samek/Washington DC: "We've seen a large increase in the price of homes, but we wanted to be part of the market."

Not everyone can afford the increases. These New condos in downtown West Palm Beach advertise for sale from 200 to 700 thousand dollars. Many people complain, there are not enough affordable homes for working people.

"I can't afford to live here."

In a new study, the national low income housing coalition says in Palm Beach County, just to rent the average one bedroom apartment, you need to earn at least $14.63 cents an hour, and $10.40 cents an hour in St. Lucie County. Cities like Delray Beach have programs which offer developers incentives to build more affordable housing.

"Oh it's great. More power to them. More power to us. It's great for traffic and everything else. But to live here? Need to be rich."

The website bestplaces.net compares the cost of living in our area to other U.S. Cities. The site analyzes groceries, health care costs, transportation, taxes and Insurance. It's still 20% less expensive to live here than Los Angeles, and 54% less expensive than New York. But also remember, salaries are not as high here as they are in other big cities.

Even with increased costs in housing and the hurricanes, 900 people move to Florida every single day. People like Lisa Samek.

"We're looking for something exciting and new."

"And the sunshine comes at no charge."

"Hopefully we'll have a lot of that."

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