A waterfront megahome in Highland Beach has sold twice this year, and each time it has raised the bar for for this South Florida town, which has become one of the hottest real estate markets in the state.
Located in the eastern part of Palm Beach County, Highland Beach is just over 1 square mile. While real estate prices are quickly rising in the small town, buyers may see an opportunity as the price per square foot is less than what homeowners are paying in nearby Palm Beach and Miami Beach.
The 11,000-square-foot home at 3715 South Ocean Boulevard is the most expensive home to ever be sold in Highland Beach. Built of concrete and glass, the home has seven bedrooms and nine baths, but it is its insane features like walls and floors made of lava that likely helped it to fetch $30.25 million.
“The home is an oceanfront fortress designed to withstand superstorms,” said listing agent Senada Adzem of Douglas Elliman real estate.
The residence commands 120 feet of oceanfront and is located about 50 miles north of Miami and 21 miles south of Palm Beach.
According to Multiple Listing Service records, the home was first sold in March for a record breaking $21.57 million. Adzem represented the buyers in that deal, a couple who decided to sell the residence shortly after they purchased it.
“The family wanted to trade up and find a much larger home that would accommodate their needs,” said Adzem.
The couple put the home back on the market in July, this time with Adzem as their listing agent and an asking price of $30 million. The new price tag was about 33% higher than what the couple paid for it four months earlier. And just a few short weeks after putting it on the market, the home’s asking price was increased to $32 million — $10 million more than its previous sale price.
“In a typical real estate market, increasing a listing price is not a good strategy,” Adzem said, adding that nothing is typical about the South Florida real estate market this year.
Just three weeks after that $2 million price hike, the fully-furnished home sold for $30.25 million, breaking the record the mansion set a few months earlier. With the sale, the home’s value skyrocketed more than 40%, earning the buyers-turned-sellers a nearly $8.7 million premium in the seven-month flip.
“We were dealing with an unmotivated seller and many interested prospects, which triggered a premium,” explained Adzem.
And while the mansion was breaking records, so was the entire town. The average sale price of a single family home in Highland Beach was $9.8 million in the third quarter, up 178.4% from the year-ago period, according to the Elliman Report.
The gain outperformed Palm Beach, which saw a 111.4% rise, and nearby Boca Raton, which saw a 38.5% gain, in the average selling price of a single family home during the same time period.
In fact, the average sales price shot up higher in Highland Beach than any other market tracked in the Elliman Report, surpassing not just all of South Florida, but also New York and Los Angeles.
Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants, attributed the massive spike in sales prices, in part, to a continuous drop in inventory. Highland Beach has seen 10 straight quarters of inventory compression, he said. Only eight homes were available for sale in the third quarter. For context, the town had 4,165 housing units in 2009, according to the Property Appraiser’s Office of Palm Beach County.
“It’s a niche market and highly dependent on the quality of the individual listings that enter the market,” Miller said.
And while a smaller market can have its average sales price data more easily skewed by one or two big (or small) sales, both average sales price and average price per square foot in Highland Beach have risen to new records in each of the last three quarters in 2021, according to Miller.
“A higher quality of inventory creates an environment of volatility and leads to a new level of extreme pricing,” he said.
While prices are higher than ever, Adzem insists Highland Beach is still a “relative bargain.”
“We listed this Highland Beach property under $3,000 per square foot. … Oceanfront trophy homes in Palm Beach trade north of $5,000 [per square foot] and newer bayfront homes in Miami Beach trade north of $3,500 [per square foot].”
Here’s a closer look at the most expensive property ever sold in this record-breaking town.
A portion of the home’s facade is covered in vertical louvers designed to reduce the amount of direct sunlight penetrating the home’s windows and help keep the home cooler inside. It’s an architectural feature known as “brise soleil.” In English, the French term means sun blocker.
The mega-home’s second floor sits 17 feet above sea-level making the elevated views from its living room even more impressive.
The room’s central feature is a massive fireplace wrapped in bookmatched marble. A portion of it appears to float above the fire.
Adzem said many of the surfaces throughout the home, including in the living area, are clad in imported lava rock. The floors are a polished lava from Mount Etna in Italy, while some of the walls are covered in a porous, unpolished lava from Mongolia.
The bar is also covered in the Italian lava. It features epic views of the ocean, along with steel bar stools upholstered in cow hide.
An entire wall off the living room is covered in lush green vegetation. The leafy mosaic is made up of 1,800 individual plant species that are laid out to create waves of green in varying shades.
The vegetation flourishes under special botanical light fixtures and it has an automatic irrigation system that’s hidden behind the leaves.
Also on the elevated second level is an L-shaped infinity pool, hot tub and outdoor dining area.
The home’s main kitchen opens to the family room and features stainless-steel cabinets and a polished black granite countertop from India, there’s also a second chef’s kitchen in the home.
The dining room seats 12 and includes a wine storage display that can hold more than 1,200 bottles, according to Adzem.
The wine balances on wood peg shelves, mounted to a massive wall of lava rock. It can be viewed and accessed through floor-to-ceiling glass doors.
The owner’s suite is on the home’s third level. Adzem said it spans more than 3,000 square feet, including an owner’s bedroom perched above the tops of palm trees overlooking the ocean.
The expansive sleeping quarters include a seating area, fireplace and midnight bar.
There’s also an owner’s suite bath covered in milky white marble.
The suite’s bath opens to an outdoor area with a hot tub, faux green wall and shower.
The suite also includes a cantilevered home-office with three walls of floor-to-ceiling glass,
Plus there’s an owner’s suite gym.
The suite’s walk-in closet requires fingerprint access to enter it.