Only Four New Homes Left in Wellington's Olympia

A new home is built in 2012 in the gated Wellington community of Olympia

The grand gated community of Olympia in Wellington announced this week it has just four new homes left for sale as a hot real estate market continues to eat away at new and existing inventory.

Canadian-based Minto Communities, the developer of Olympia, said the homes will be built as part of its Custom Choice program, which is designed to meet homebuyer demand for quicker move-in times without sacrificing personalized design.

Custom Choice homes are built through the drywall stage, allowing buyers to make their own decisions on items such as carpet, tile, kitchen cabinets, countertops and paint colors. The homes will sell for between $500,000 and upwards of $700,000.

“As our community nears its finale, the launch of our Custom Choice Home Program is yet another way Minto responds to our homebuyer needs,” said Steve Svopa, vice president of Minto Communities. “Olympia has always set the pace for other communities to follow.”

Although Olympia suffered with the rest of South Florida through the real estate crash, the community has been on a fast-track to sell out for the past year.
In July 2012, just 77 lots were available for purchase with prices ranging from the $300s to the $700s.

Olympia is located at the crossroads of Forest Hill Boulevard and U.S. 441. Minto bought the land, a former tree nursery, in 2001 for $41 million. The initial purchase was of 1,600 acres, but some land was later sold to another developer and donated to the community.

Buyers, including many investors, stood in line on the day in 2001 that Olympia opened for sales. More than 100 contracts at pre-construction prices were signed. The first homes were built in 2002 with 446 sold by 2003 at an average price of $343,327, according to the Palm Beach County property appraiser.

As the real estate bubble deflated, home sales stalled in Olympia in 2006, falling from 303 the year before to 175. By 2007, almost one in 10 homes were for sale, priced from $400,000 to $1.7 million. In a six-month period beginning Jan. 1, 2007, Olympia homeowners had defaulted on more than $14 million worth of loans, according to a Palm Beach Post analysis.

But many investors have since cleared out. About 65 percent of the homes in Olympia are homesteaded, meaning they are occupied by the homeowner, property appraiser records show.

Palm Beach County Realtors say they are turning more to new home construction to find properties for clients as existing-home inventory continues to dwindle.

“Personally I am now focused on getting reacquainted with several new construction communities that are all over Palm Beach County,” said Realtor Shannon Brink. “That part of the business is definitely revitalized and becoming a viable option for inventory now that there is such a small amount of options for resales. Some communities have nothing for sale at all.”

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