2014 aerial view of West Palm Beach (Credit: WPPilot)

Much like the rest of South Florida, a new report shows Palm Beach County is facing a wave of new apartment development as the multifamily market tightens.Photo above is a 2014 aerial view of West Palm Beach (Credit: WPPilot).

Renters in the county chewed through 1,840 apartments by this year’s third quarter, according to a new report from Marcus & Millichap, driving Palm Beach’s vacancy down to 4.4 percent. Much of that demand seems to be centered around Boca Raton, which absorbed 900 of those units by itself.

As a result, rents are on the rise. The report shows Palm Beach County’s average rents climbed 6.4 percent year-over-year to $1,453 per month.

Developers, sensing those tightening conditions, have begun to ratchet up the number of projects in the pipeline. So far this year, only 885 units have been delivered in Palm Beach County. But the report states another 5,700 apartments are expected to be completed between this year and the end of 2017.

Rental demand in South Florida is being driven by the high cost of buying a home. That barrier to home buyers is even more unfavorable in Palm Beach County, which boasts the region’s highest median home price of $314,000.

The report states a prospective buyer would have to pull a salary of $75,600 to afford that, while the county’s median income is $53,242. — Sean Stewart-Muniz

From The Real Deal Miami 
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