Spotlight On: Dionna Hall, CEO, Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors® and BeachesMLS

Spotlight On: Dionna Hall, CEO, Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors® and BeachesMLS

2022-07-18T13:56:16-04:00July 18th, 2022|Palm Beach, Real Estate, Spotlight On|

2 min read July 2022 Broward, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie Realtors is a 41,000-member association of realtors committed to making the counties in which it operates the best places to live in South Florida. Invest: spoke with Dionna Hall, CEO of the association, about the area’s housing trends and the initiative her organization is taking in advocating for both the area’s long-time residents as well as newcomers.

How would you describe the real estate landscape in Southeast Florida? 

Palm Beach County is a real hot spot. There has been an uptick in development of residential as well as commercial. There is a lot of construction in communities like West Lake, which is a newly constructed development. There are positive things going on with the market to really stimulate the economy.

With the influx of population, traffic is a challenge, and we are trying to keep up. This is a common scenario for thriving, growing communities. We also continue to experience tight housing inventory. We are under a two-month supply of housing inventory right now. It is slightly increasing, but the prices remain higher than they were previously. The county government voted recently to put a bond measure on the ballot for about $200 million for workforce and affordable housing. We will be helping lead the effort to educate about that and advocate for this referendum. Hopefully, it will pass, and more affordable housing will be built for the people who make this community the place people want to be. 

Do you think housing demand will eventually be met or will it remain in its current state?

You need to be able to tell the future to answer something like that. The developers have been racing to build enough homes to meet demand. We do see that inventory will continue to increase. Four months’ inventory is what you want in a healthy, stable market, so we still have far to go in order to get there. 

Is there any concern about interest rates as they continue to rise, or is it still a seller’s market?

A 2.5% interest rate, which was put in place to stimulate the economy during the pandemic, is historically very low. The 5% rate, which is what we have now, is actually really great. I don’t think we will see 2.5% interest rates again in our lifetime and I hope we don’t have to stimulate the market that much in the future. 

Are there any concerns from new residents about sea level rise or hurricanes?

Palm Beach County has its eye on rising sea levels but it is not creating problems here like it is in Miami or Broward County. Insurance is obviously an issue and we continue to advocate in the state legislature for healthy reforms related to the insurance marketplace. Legislators are making small strides to improve it, but it needs continued work. 

Are there any preliminary discussions going on about next year’s legislative session? 

I have not heard much about it, but workforce and affordable housing is one of our top priorities. Making sure that the Sadowski Fund is fully funded so that our local communities can avail themselves of those funds is also important. Insurance is going to be a large issue as well. 

How have Realtors® adjusted to the changing culture in Palm Beach County?

It is great for real estate and businesses to have year-round residents here. During and after the pandemic, people realized that this was the primary place they wanted to be instead of just a place to have a second home. It is becoming known as the “Wall Street of the South.” The financial sector moving into the area has helped bring in higher-paying jobs, establishing the community as a year-round place to be.

Do you think we will see locals start to relocate to more rural or secondary markets across the state?

It’s always possible. The affordable workforce housing bond, if it passes, will help people stay in the community. The Florida Realtors® helped pass an initiative on the state level that was called “Hometown Heroes,” which is a grant program that gives teachers, firefighters, and policemen a grant to get into homes. All of these things will help the county and help strengthen and build our communities.

Are there any factors that you see on the horizon that might lead to a potential cooldown in the market? 

The tight inventory has put a bit of a damper on our expectations. Since it is starting to increase, though, that might carry the market longer. The South Florida market in general will be more insulated than most from seeing a softening marketplace because there are still so many people from other states who want to move here. There is no business tax and there are other business-friendly policies that have been put in place on the state level.

There is also the international market, where there has been a lot of pent-up demand. They are ready to get back into the Southeast Florida marketplace. That is good to see.

There is still so much interest in the county that it will still be a good market even if it is not quite as on fire as it was before. 

What is your outlook for the next two to three years? 

We have about 41,000 Realtors® across our marketplace. We are positioning them to become educated and be the center of transactions for all people in this changing market. We are investing in technology advancements and are making sure that they really practice being that market knowledge center for their clients. 

We are also putting more of a focus on training and support to meet people’s needs as conditions change. Many different sectors are making investments in real estate here, so we need to make sure that our Realtors® are able to handle whatever comes their way. 

In this marketplace, we can still be optimistic that the climate will be great, the taxes will be low, and the regulations will be mostly fair. Our community members will want to stay here, too. Palm Beach County is positioning itself so that, no matter what happens nationwide, we will come out on top. 

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