GL Homes lures Palm Beach County buyers north with low-priced homes


There’s a new GL Homes housing community for people aged 55 and older.

The price is right, starting at $219,000, half the cost of other single-family houses built for this age group.

And as is typical with homes constructed by this Sunrise-based company, residents can expect a host of amenities, including parks, pools and a sports club.

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The catch?

Look north from Palm Beach County, because Valencia Cay is in Port St. Lucie, in the Riverland community.

Buyers don’t seem to mind the new GL Homes’ homestead. During 10 days in August, when sales first began for Valencia Cay, “we did 100 sales,” said Ryan Courson, GL Homes vice president of the St. Lucie division.

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“It’s really been amazing,” Courson said of the sales volume, which could be a company record. “I don’t know if we’ve ever done 100 contracts in 10 days before.” At press time, sales stood at 122.

For the past four decades, GL Homes has been an aggressive builder of homes across a range of prices and buyers in South Florida.

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From starter homes in Boynton Beach to communities geared for those aged 55 and up, GL Homes has made its mark as one of the county’s most prolific builders, to the delight of some residents and the dismay of others who see Palm Beach County increasingly crowded and built out.

In recent years, GL Homes has expanded into the luxury housing sector, building Bridges near Delray Beach and Seven Bridges west of Boca Raton, in former farmland dubbed the Ag Reserve.

In these upscale communities, homes sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. At GL Homes’ newest community, Boca Bridges, homes are priced from $800,000 to $3 million.

Amenities are on the rise, too: At the Bridges, GL Homes built a poolside bistro. At Seven Bridges, the company built a steakhouse.

GL Homes continues to snap up land, most recently buying 255 acres west of Boynton Beach. And GL Homes now is seeking the county’s OK to build multi-family workforce housing on golf course land in the Fountains community in suburban Lake Worth.

But with the county running out of dirt, and home prices edging up past the reach of many buyers, GL Homes is looking to Port St. Lucie for the next phase of homes to be built during the next 10 to 15 years.

If completely built out, Riverland could total 11,700 residential units, including both single-family and multi-family homes.

So far, Courson said about 80 percent of Valencia Cay’s buyers are from Florida and mostly from Palm Beach County. Familiar with the GL Homes brand, they are seeking the lower price and value of the new community, he said.

Also helping goose sales are nearby medical facilities, including the expanding Traditional Medical Center close to Valencia Cay. And coming soon by GL Homes will be shopping centers to serve the Riverland community.

But it’s only summer, and GL Homes mostly has marketed to existing customers.

Come October, when the weather starts to cool, GL Homes will start selling to potential buyers in the Northeast.

GL Homes has owned the land now dubbed Riverland for more than a decade. Once orange groves, the land was annexed into the city of Port St. Lucie a couple of years ago.

GL Homes isn’t alone in seeking to lure residents to the city, of course. Del Webb is building homes in Port St. Lucie as is Minto, which is building thousands of homes in Westlake, a city it created in western Palm Beach County.

With prices rising in Palm Beach County, buyers are starting to look elsewhere.

“But we don’t want to be seen as the affordable housing option for Palm Beach County,” Courson said.

As the medical and commercial services grow, GL Homes hopes to attract a range of buyers, particularly as it builds homes suitable for families, Courson said.



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