Florida is one of the largest states in the U.S. with an area landmass of 65,755 square miles. The largest county in the state is Palm Beach County, located on the East Coast encompassing 2,383 square miles. This is a popular region for land use and real estate development because of its climate and a major U.S. port for travel to and from Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently, Florida is a seller’s market with the median price being centered in South Florida. The current median for a single-family home in Miami-Dade is approximately $ 345,000. In Palm Beach County the single-family median price is in-step with Miami-Dade at $ 345,000.00.
This article will provide tips and insight for buying South Florida land for custom home construction from the state or private sectors.
The Murphy Land Act
The Murphy Land Act of 1937 refers to land that was forfeited for non-payment of property taxes. Landowners in arrears were given until June 9, 1939, and if unpaid, the state assumed their land titles.
These Murphy Act lands are now administered jointly by The Bureau of Public Land Administration (BPLA) and the Board of Trustees (BOT). Most of these include wetlands or marsh with other natural resources, which are managed and protected conservation lands. Today, there is a surplus of small Murphy Act parcels around the state which are offered for sale.
If you’re considering this type of Florida land stock, it’s recommended to work with a reputable real estate agent who specializes in state land purchases and easements. The sale or lease of conservation land is restricted to an individual (that would include a corporate development entity). These lands are considered passive-space for the general public. Conservation lands also serve to protect wildlife habitats and Florida’s native foliage.
There are other tracks of land for sale from the state, but there’s restrictions on what can be sold to an individual entity for a custom build. The state real estate program is administered by the Bureau of Real Estate Services (BRES), who function as agents for the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund.
In Florida, the purchaser is also responsible for the following costs:
- Land appraisal
- Survey and assessment
- All closing and recording fees
There are also privately-owned parcels on the South Florida market. If you’re looking to purchase in rural areas, it’s possible to finance land from smaller banks or credit unions if you plan to cultivate a section or establish a CSA program, which is supported at state and local levels.
For rural plots you also have to consider other costs related to its purchase:
- Land appraisal (this is required when buying from the state).
- Zoning permits.
- Related costs of getting electricity and clean water to your property.
- Environmental testing for soil quality and grade.
Coastal area land can be more expensive and there are sections that are protected by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). If you’re interested in beach or waterfront land, it’s recommended to do a bit of research in areas that are already zoned for commercial or residential construction.
Purchasing the land itself is the first step. From that point, you can budget and plan for the actual build-out. This is where Miller Design & Construction comes in to guide you through the process from phase one to phase four and closeout. Miller works with established, top-tier craftsmen and subcontractors in South Florida. They will provide comprehensive support on zoning, permit requirements, and keep your project on budget and in compliance whether it’s in a rural or metropolitan area.