Cost of luxury high-rise construction in Florida

A neighbor is a refugee from the Land of Lockdown (Illinois) and is a partner in a real estate development company. “We decided to stop doing projects in Chicago because so many people were leaving,” he explained. He’s finishing a sold-out project of $4 million Florida beachfront condos that will be ready for occupancy early in 2023. It is on the site of a former hotel. What does construction cost right now for a luxury concrete high-rise? “It is $450 per square foot,” he responded. Three years ago? “Mid-$200s.”

Here’s a new one near us, which was planned starting at $4 million per unit, announced at $6-10 million, and has apparently been selling for up to $18 million for a 5,000-square-foot unit ($3,600 per square foot): SeaGlass, Jupiter Island (it is not in Jupiter, but in the next town up: Tequesta).

Some friends in northeast Florida will be moving into their new 3BR house soon. They bought it 18 months ago, which is when the developer began work on design and construction (theirs is a tweak to a standard design within the development). It will cost just under $1 million and is a 20-minute drive to the beach. The developer complains that, due to inflation, this particular house will actually be unprofitable.


  • City rebuilding costs from the Halifax explosion, from 2019, in which I describe an affordable apartment construction project in Boston. Even with free real estate, the construction cost of each unit ($555,555 per) rendered them unaffordable, without taxpayer subsidies, to a dual-income couple in which both of the partners (who will, one hopes, come in a rainbow of gender IDs) worked full time at the median Maskachusetts wage. Presumably that construction cost has now also doubled, but the median wage won’t have followed.

23 thoughts on “Cost of luxury high-rise construction in Florida

  1. Recent exercise measuring inflation costs in Japanese-made bidets 🙂 One bought in 2017 – $300. Same model of Toto Washlet C100 (as Amazon directs to same item, apples to apples comp) – $425 with 15% discount.
    Five years of single digit inflation increased the cost some 40%. Hence no bidet.

  2. Is it a Florida thing? Or house segment thing?
    I see new construction for middle class 2,000 – 2,500 sq. ft. houses including land for $360,000 – $480,000, which implies per square foot building costs of at most $150.
    In the area with not many jobs but people making money by renting houses through Air B&B as it is one of less costly tourist destinations.
    I know someone from 2 – income household who quit his lower middle class job after finishing building second house strictly to rent it out through Air B&B

    • I am not saying it is cheap, new houses could be had for just over $200,000 just recently and size of new houses seem to level off or even shrink. But it is still not $450/sq ft.

    • perplexed: I would love to see a link to a developer’s web site where a 2,500 sf single family house can be had for $360,000! I believe that this might exist somewhere in Indiana, for example, but I would like to see some concrete examples.

      Separately, though, given the Progressive American’s determination to house all of humanity (or at least that subset willing to walk across the border and say “I request asylum”), I think the relevant number is the cost to build a concrete high-rise. The only practical way to house the next 100 million migrants and their kids is in city-like environments, not more suburban sprawl that has already resulted in a gridlocked road system. I wonder if it actually costs more per square foot to build a high-rise apartment building than to build a single-family house out of wood sticks.

    • Here’s something that I found for Indianapolis: is the first development listed. A 2,000 sf house is $400,000. It is a 30-minute drive to downtown Indianapolis in case Americans ever decide to stop pretending to work from home.

      (I picked Indiana because I have never personally seen new houses that were less expensive than in the Indianapolis exurbs.)

      If we consider a migrant family of 4, this is probably the minimum size house. Assuming that it is not legal for the migrant adults to work while their asylum applications are pending, working taxpayers would be on the hook for a mortgage of $2,500 to $3,000 per month, right? (take current interest rates and add something for property tax) If they’re not going to be prisoners in the house, they’ll need a taxpayer-funded car at $1,000 per month including insurance, gasoline, depreciation, etc. So the cost of housing for an asylum-seeking family would be roughly $4,000 per month (plus the usual costs of Medicaid, SNAP/EBT, Obamaphone, and free broadband). Are we willing to spend that? If not, I don’t see how the U.S. population can be expanded via asylum-seekers without a lot of them living in situations that we would consider unacceptable.

    • Thanks Philip.
      At your link I even found new houses below $300,000, something that I though no longer exists!
      I never claimed 2.500 sq ft house for 360,000. I gave two ranges 2,000 – 2,500 sq. ft and $360,000 – $480,000. I have seen builders advertise 2000 sq ft home for $360,000 and 2,500 sq ft home for $480,000 and other houses in between and few above. You found cheaper 2000 sq ft house.
      It is also clear that houses are shrinking. First time in 70 years 1,500 sq ft middle class colonials are hot again.
      Browsing it is obvious hot home price construction is up by maybe 40 to 50 %,. The rest of pricing is price of the location.

    • One element of single family homeownership in Florida that I hadn’t budgeted for is palm tree maintenance. If you don’t pay guys to come over and climb up the 80′ trees once/year, you’ll have coconuts falling on your head, palm fronds drooping onto your roof (pathway for bugs and squirrels), and other problems. On our massive 1/3 acre estate, the cost will be $1,000 this year. For trees that are near the sidewalk, the HOA requires that they be maintained so it is not an option to say “let the nuts fall where they will.”

      (I wrote “guys” above because somehow those who identify as “women” are being excluded from this lucrative line of work in which there is an abundance of fresh 90-degree humid air and sunshine as well as a great view from 50-100′ above the ground.)

    • I myself would never consider joining any HOA. Is it something like coop – lite? Do you pay HOA fees? If yes then HOA is the entity that should care for curb and adjacent area.
      I pay local taxes but at least town take cares of the road and adjacent wide ditch area.

    • Yes, we pay HOA fees and they seem to deal with the lighter-weight landscaping for the parts of our yard that are not enclosed by a backyard fence. For whatever reason, they don’t pay for this tree maintenance. The HOA keeps the entire neighborhood looking great so I’m not opposed to it. They also maintain the neighborhood meeting field, the play structures for little kids, the gym, the pool (which nobody uses since almost every house has its own pool), etc. They keep people from collecting pit bulls. That has a lot of value!

      I’m a believer in local government, especially spending on parks and other common infrastructure. Working extra hours to pay taxes to build stuff in Afghanistan isn’t satisfying. Working extra hours to pay taxes to build local recreation facilities is something I am happy to do. I think of the HOA as an even more local form of local government.

    • Our town too spends money thrifty and maintains roads and nature preserves. After being experienced with large East Coast city dealings I was surprised. I am sure that my local government makes money and it uses officials’ and family as sub-contractors but it seems to be a lot more efficient and their road maintenance work is of great quality and done very fast so I just keeping my mouth shut, do not want repeat of “public” “services” that I had experienced in the large city for several times larger local tax.

    • Even the expensive houses in MA are 100+ years into what was a 50-year design life. They’re nearly all scrap by the standards that prevail in most states. Certainly they will cost more to maintain over the next 30 years than those new houses in Indiana cost to build!

  3. @philg: “palm tree maintenance”

    About ten years ago, I bought a 24-foot aluminum ladder for $100 off Craigslist and a $130 Black + Decker cordless pole saw from Home Depot, with the intent of trimming my two 25-foot palms. The first time out, I soon realized I didn’t like working 20 feet up a ladder w/ both hands holding the pole saw. I quickly put my ladder and saw away and grabbed some guy doing lawn service across the street, and he did both palms for $40 (using my ladder), and I did the clean-up. He trimmed my two palms once per year for nearly ten years, no price increase. I called him last month, and he’s retired from the tree-trimming/lawn service business (in his late 30s; I’m suspecting SSDI or corona relief funds). The next six tree-trimmers I called wouldn’t take any job for less than $400. I finally got some guy off Craigslist for $50 for the two palms (and he used my ladder!).

    • Our palms are too tall for ladders. I think the guys will climb them with belts and spiked shoes, etc.

  4. Would it be possible to share any demographics on the people that can afford the $4MM price tag for these new condos?
    On a follow-up, would your contact be willing to share any of the construction design changes for new buildings that close to the water to prevent another building collapse in the future?

    JJD – Wondering where he went wrong in life….

    • What are the demographics of rich folks in America? To the pre-2020 list we now have to add the masters of PPP and other Covid handouts.

      I don’t think any changes have been required after that sad collapse, which was an outlier on many dimensions, including a huge construction project next door that destabilized it. Remember that none of these high rises have ever been knocked over by a hurricane. The changes of which I am aware all relate to inspections 20+ years after completion.

    • Thanks for the follow up. It looks like this property will likely avoid a neighboring project.

  5. All I know is: If I had the money, I’d be moving there. I intensely dislike stupid people. I will keep trying to hit the Lottery.

    • Despite Tropical Storm Alex on May 31, so far it’s been a fairly quiescent North Atlantic Hurricane Season and I hope that continues – but of course I don’t control the weather. I keep reading that Edward Teller paper from time to time. It’s a little hot in Florida during the “summer” months but people – including lots of elderly people – cope with it well. The best answer, I think, among the “terribly bad to pretty good” alternatives we have is to build more nuclear plants and preserve the value of our real estate. It looks like a very nice place.

      We have to get Jane Fonda’s strangling velvet fingers off the rosy dawn of things, though, which isn’t going to happen with this Administration.

    • And this is pure speculation, but I have to say it: I’ll bet if you did a Real Truth accounting of the people who live in that building, many to most of them have made the money they need to buy a unit because of their role in Government, taking Other People’s Money. It’s like giving the Ultimate Finger to the Man.

  6. $18 million with neighbors upstairs, no boat launch access and “secluded” beach in full view of glass-walled high-rise? It is for multi-millionaires from move Idiocracy who got rich on selling crops – watering gatorade to the people and producing movie “ass” Possible buyers:
    “After driving off, Taylor was seen driving past the scene twice before being stopped by police, according to the police report obtained by the Post. She allegedly brushed off the accident, saying the other driver was alright and wanting proof of his injury.
    “Taylor continued to state that she wanted to go back to her house . . . and the accident was ‘not a big deal,’” the report stated.
    Authorities also quote her saying, “It’s hard to be a good person.””

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