Buying a home in South Florida is easier now than in recent years — sort of. To aide you in your search, we updated our interactive tool that enables you to search for ZIP Codes where median home values match your budget, then easily review school ratings and safety statistics.
Still, the data doesn’t match the on-the-ground reality in every case, and that means attractive pockets can get lost. We’ve highlighted seven lesser-known neighborhoods in our "How to Buy a Home" guide that appeal to different types of buyers. Here is one of them:
Hollywood’s Emerald Hills neighborhood is a magnet for families. Shady playgrounds, skating paths and a waterpark are hallmarks of the 138-acre Topeekeegee Yugnee (TY) Park. Small children romp on the playground at Mara Berman Giulianti Park, and at Emerald Hills golf course, duffers can perfect their swing on the acclaimed greens.
Between them is a neighborhood filled with single-family homes ranging from ranches built in 1970s to newly constructed subdivisions lined with large Mediterranean Revival homes.
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Retiree Herb Schloss, 76, from New Jersey, moved to Emerald Hills in 2015 to be closer to his grown daughter, grandchildren and a new girlfriend. “I was ready to get out of the cold,” says Schloss, who now enjoys golfing four or five times a week with friends. “It’s a beautiful location overlooking the golf course with a lake, a bridge and sunset views.”
Schloss follows a well-set tradition. “Hollywood originally attracted doctors, lawyers and professionals moving from the northeast,” says Realtor Lloyd Feinberg of Coldwell Banker who was born in Miami Beach and has lived in Hollywood most of his life. “Emerald Hills is a unique pocket of a residential neighborhood west of I-95 on the border of Broward and Miami-Dade, surrounded by industrial areas.”
In the last 15 years, the neighborhood’s Orthodox Jewish community has grown, bringing more than a dozen shuls, including the well-known Young Israel-Hollywood Mikvah. As a result, some communities offer “Shabbas gates” facilitating the walk to Sabbath services, and many of the restaurants and grocery stores neighborhood shopping centers feature kosher foods.
The area is also home to Baptist, Methodist and Ecumenical churches, catering to families of many faiths. As Feinberg points out, its central location near the county border positions it just 10 miles from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and a few miles from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
About 130 homes are now for sale here. The average sold price per square foot was $198 in December 2016, up by 28 percent over the previous year, according to Feinberg’s analysis.
With a wide variety of inventory, Feinberg sees the neighborhood as a must-see location for families of all sorts, whether they’re looking for a fixer upper, newly renovated home or a spec house waiting for its first owner.
Location: Hollywood, from Interstate 95 west to north 56th Avenue, between Sheridan Street and Stirling Road
ZIP code: 33021
Best for: Families
Median value: $214,000
Market increase: 6.1 percent (over the last year)
School ratings: Average