Saturday, April 13

Brightline station likely to increase property values in and around Stuart

It’s a story we’ve talked about again and again: the housing crisis in Florida.

Families from Palm Beach County to the Treasure Coast are getting priced out of their homes, and prices could rise again as Brightline plans to build a stop in Stuart.

Realtor Michael Caputo said prior to the high speed rail service announcing a Treasure Coast station, homes near the train tracks weren’t easy to sell due to the noise.

“Home prices near the train tracks have always been a bit of a struggle,” Caputo said.

However, with Brightline creating easy access to Miami, Orlando and the company’s newest planned stop, the city of Cocoa, that tough selling point will likely turn around.

“With the ability to commute from Stuart now, its a home run for the area,” Caputo said, “and its only going to create more need for people to be here.”

According to a joint study between the American Public Transportation Association and the National Association of Realtors, properties near transit lines and stations can increase in value by up to 150%, and Caputo said that doesn’t just apply to Stuart but potentially all of the Treasure Coast.

“Even Vero Beach for that matter,” Caputo said. “So, their commute may have been three hours, now its an hour and 40 minutes, which is a big difference.

While that may be a win for current home owners, at Habitat for Humanity of Martin County, it’s not the best news.

It’s not great news,” said executive director Mike Readling. “Its great that people get to come to our community and get to experience the reason we live here, but the people that are living here, are getting pushed out.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said so far this quarter, 36 evictions were issued. During the same time frame last year, 34 were issued.

In all of 2023, there were 154 evictions. In 2022, there were 166, and that doesn’t include tenants that moved out after getting an initial notice.

“Thats a story that happens every day teachers, policemen, hospital workers, clerks everyone we deal with on a daily basis. It’s getting tougher and tougher and theyre leaving,” Readling said. “Were definitely in the throws of a housing crisis right now.

It’s not just the people Habitat for Humanity serves but the nonprofit itself that’s getting priced out.

“We’re basically out of land,” Readling said. “Weve got a few lots around, but we are actively looking for land to build on.”

Readling also said Martin County has a new land trust, which will allow nonprofits to build more low to moderate income housing, but said the outlook for many folks is looking grim.

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