Diana Cronkhite remembers when this quiet section of eastern Davie was nothing but Australian pine trees.
“Now they’re trying to shove new stuff wherever there’s land,” said Cronkhite, a real estate agent who has lived in the area since 1980 in a house she and her husband built.
The pine trees were replaced less than a decade after Cronkhite moved in by a community of pastel-colored, one- and two-story single-family homes. Today, prices for 1,500-square-foot homes run into the $240,000s, up 60 percent since 2012, Cronkhite said. Homes in the area stay on the market for a matter of days.
“We listed a 3/2 in here for $234,900, and we had an offer in two days,” she said.
Much of the demand is being driven by nearby Nova Southeastern University and Broward College, which dominate the real estate landscape. Students, staff and professors all want to live close to campus.
That’s causing a run on older single-family homes, as well as newer condo and townhome units. And because the area is priced well and offers decent schools, young professionals and young families are moving in, too.
The median value for a single-family home in the area was $197,100 in June, according to Zillow. The median value for a condo or townhome stood at $112,800. Both markets are growing at higher rates than Broward County as a whole.
An equestrian trail, bike path and plenty of green space still lend a strong rural vibe to this part of Davie.
“We have horses going back [behind our house] all the time,” Cronkhite said. Unfortunately, she said, owners don’t always clean up after their mounts.
Prices in other parts of Davie, which have more highly rated schools, can be much higher for larger homes, eclipsing $600,000.
The more affordable eastern section is roughly bounded by University Drive on the west and by a wetland called Pond Apple Slough and Southwest 40th Street on the east, and by Interstate 595 and Stirling Road on the north and south.
“Because of the lessening of lending requirements, we do have a lot of first-time home buyers who are able to buy in this area,” said Kelly Morello, an EWM Realty International agent based in Weston. “Then you see those repeat buyers moving up from a condo to a single-family.”
Morello said the neighborhood’s central location is also a bonus.
“It’s close to the major highways,” she said. “You can get to Palm Beach or Miami fairly easily. And the airport is 15 or 20 minutes away.”
The problem for many buyers is simply being able to close a deal.
Inventory here is shrinking because the area is so well-priced. That’s a wider problem across South Florida as buyers duke it out for affordable homes.
“Things are moving off the market so quickly,” said Kasia Kossak, an agent at Coral Shores Realty.
According to realtor.com, there are 68 single-family homes and 44 condos or townhomes listed in the entire 33314 ZIP code, which covers much of East Davie.
Although many undergraduate and graduate students end up buying in the area — usually with help from their parents — investors have been active, too, eager to rent out condo units close to Nova Southeastern and Broward College.
Cronkhite said that some condo buildings have contracts forbidding buyers from renting units within one or even three years of purchase.
At the Villa Nova Condo complex, just a five-minute drive from campus, two-bedroom, two-bathroom units rent for about $1,075 and can approach $100,000 when they sell.
“The university is a big draw for people that live here,” said Simeon Pierre, who manages the building. “Half of the students are from overseas so it’s a very diverse community.”
WLRN special correspondent Tom Hudson contributed to this report.
Background: Besides the low prices and green space, the big draws in this eastern section of Davie are Nova Southeastern University and Broward College. Students, staff and faculty are all eager to live close to campus. Reasonable home prices are also drawing young professionals and young families. But like many affordable areas of South Florida, inventory is tight. The neighborhood’s boundaries are roughly University Drive on the west, a wetland called Pond Apple Slough and Southwest 40th Street on the east, Interstate 595 on the north and Stirling Road on the south.
Median single-family home values: $197,100 in June, up 7 percent since June 2014.
Median condo/townhome values: $112,800 in June, up 19 percent since June 2014.