About Boca Raton, Florida

Introduction

The city of Boca Raton was first incorporated on August 02, 1924, as "Bocaratone," and later incorporated as "Boca Raton" in 1925. Boca Raton is the southernmost city in Palm Beach County Florida, located approximately twenty miles North of Fort Lauderdale and thirty miles South of West Palm Beach. The city is also situated approximately fifty miles North of Miami and is considered a “principal city” of the Miami metropolitan area.

Nestled along the eastern coastline of Palm Beach County, Boca Raton offers a resort-style living to each of its residents. Covering a 77 square mile radius, residents of Boca Raton enjoy easy access to a number of employment opportunities as well as ample retail establishments, restaurants, cultural attractions and more. Some employers found in the city include Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton Resort, the Office Depot global headquarters and Boca Raton Regional Hospital.

The meaning of the city's name is often mistaken for the literal Spanish translation, "Rat's Mouth," but the origin of the name is more likely derived from the colloquial translation, "Thieves Inlet," which refers to a nearby geographical inlet in Biscayne Bay.

Demographics

The U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey 2015 population estimate was 89,793 with a population density of 2,877.2 people per square mile. However, approximately 200,000 people with a Boca Raton postal address live outside its municipal boundaries in newer developments such as West Boca Raton. Boca Raton is an active business center, which is reflected by its significant increase the in daytime population.

The Boca Raton population is 48.7% male, 51.3% female, with 48.3% of the population being married and an average household size of 2. The median age in Boca Raton is 46 years, however, 20.6% of the population are senior citizens.

Boca Raton is considered one of the wealthiest, most affluent communities in the United States. 52.3% of the population have earned a Bachelors Degree or higher compared to the national rate of only 29.8%. The median annual earnings for people 25 years of age and older in Boca Raton is $42,250, versus the national average of $32,140. The median household income in Boca Raton ($95,941) is significantly higher than the national average of $51,939.

Geography & Climate

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city of Boca Raton spans a total area of 29.1 square miles, with 27.2 square miles of land and the remaining 1.9 square miles comprised of water. Boca Raton has a water table that does not allow for the building of basements, however, there are several points in the city with higher elevations, such as 4th avenue, which is accordingly named “High Street.” The highest point in the city is the guard shack located at the entrance of the Camino Gardens subdivision which is 24 feet above sea level.

There are several tunnels that run underneath the roads in Boca Raton, but the roads in these locations are built up several feet or are located on elevated sand dunes. Several of these underground tunnels are under A1A at Spanish River Park and run from the west side of the road where public parking is available on the east side of the road where the beach access is located.

Boca Raton's climate is considered a tropical rainforest climate. In general, the climate is warm and sunny most of the year, with winter temperatures typically in the seventies and eighties and summer high temperatures in the high eighties to low nineties. Daily thundershowers occur during the hot season in June, July, August, and September.

Culture & The Arts

Boca Raton boasts a lively artistic community where art and culture are celebrated, appreciated, and frequently offered to Downtown Boca Raton patrons free of charge through a variety of community events. Ranging from sold-out music concerts to world-renowned artists on display at the various art museums and cultural centers, Boca Raton is sure to please those with an appreciation for cultural experiences and the arts.

The Boca Museum of Art is one of South Florida's finest cultural attractions, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The museum presents art exhibits of both national and international importance with permanent collections including work by Degas, Arman, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso and Andy Warhol. The Boca Museum of Art also hosts an annual art festival held at Mizner Park in downtown Boca Raton, featuring art from some of the nation's most talented and well-known artists. This exciting event draws over 40,000 people each year and is celebrated by families and art enthusiasts alike.

The Mizner Park Cultural Center features an ever-changing lineup of art exhibitions and its own black-box theater. The center hosts a variety of stage and gallery shows throughout the year as well as weekly lectures and classes which are well-attended and often offered free to the public.

The Mizner Park Amphitheater is a state-of-the-art outdoor amphitheater that serves as a social, cultural, and musical center for residents of Palm Beach County. The amphitheater and concert lawn accommodates 4,200 people and frequently hosts top-notch artists to the likes of John Legend, Steely Dan, Lindsey Stirling, and FUN. The Mizner Park Amphitheater in downtown Boca Raton is home to the Boca Summer Concert Series and also celebrates the finest local musicians including The Symphonia Boca Raton and the Florida Youth Orchestra.

The Boca Raton Children’s Museum is an interactive museum with a mission “to broaden children's awareness of the world around them and teach them how to problem solve through creative and scientific exploration.” Located in ‘Singing Pines’, one of the oldest unaltered structures in the city, the museum is filled with exhibits and displays designed to engage and stimulate children's imaginations.

The Boca Raton Historical Society and Museum are located at Boca Raton's historic Town Hall and F.E.C. Railway station. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum includes a restored 1930’s train depot, steam engine, caboose and multiple railway cars. The Museum and Welcome Center provide information, tours, programs, and expert knowledge of the community for both visitors and residents.

Festivals & Events

With a full calendar of festivals and events, there is always something exciting happening in downtown Boca Raton. The Boca Green Market, a community farmer's market, is held every Saturday from October through May, bringing fresh produce, flowers, and agricultural-related goods to the community. Every Saturday, there are also free yoga and Tai Chi classes offered to the community in Sanborn Square beginning at 8 am. Throughout the year, there are many festivals and parades held in downtown Boca Raton, including the annual Arts Festival, held during the Spring and the Fall Brazilian Beat Festival.

Attractions

Mizner Park

Mizner Park is an upscale lifestyle center in downtown Boca Raton, that offers some of the best dining, shopping, and entertainment options in the area. The center is home to top-rated eateries including Max's Grille, Tanzy, Racks Downtown Eatery & Tavern, Yard House, Uncle Julio's, Junior's, and the list goes on. The center also features several upscale specialty shops and boutiques, as well as an iPic Movie Theater. The Centre for the Arts is located at the North end of the complex, which includes an amphitheater and The Boca Raton Museum of Art.

Town Center at Boca Raton

Town Center at Boca Raton is one of the top luxury shopping destinations in South Florida. With over 220 stores, this upscale indoor shopping mall features an excellent blend of elite specialty shops and boutiques as well as popular department stores including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, Macy's, and Sears. There are also several great dining options at Town Center Mall including The Capital Grille, California Pizza Kitchen, and Pinon Grill.

Beaches & Parks

Boca Raton's Eastern coast has over two miles of pristine sandy beaches as well as several beautiful community parks including:

Education

Boca Raton Public education is provided and managed by the School District of Palm Beach County, which is the 13th largest public school district in the country. Boca Raton is also home t several notable private, religious, and alternative schools. 

Public Schools

Boca Raton is served by four public high schools. Boca Raton Community High School is located within the city limits and serves the Eastern part of Boca Raton. Spanish River Community High School serves the West-Central part of the city limits and parts of unincorporated Boca Raton. Olympic Heights Community High School serves the Western unincorporated areas of Boca Raton, and West Boca Raton Community High School serves the far-west unincorporated areas.

Boca Raton is served by five public middle schools including Don Estridge High Tech Middle, a technology magnet school, as well as Boca Raton Community Middle, Eagles Landing Middle, Loggers Run Community Middle, and Omni Middle School.

There are twelve Elementary schools that serve the Boca Raton area including Addison Mizner Elementary, Boca Raton Elementary, Calusa Elementary, Coral Sunset Elementary, Del Prado Elementary, Hammock Pointe Elementary, J. C. Mitchell Elementary, Sandpiper Shores Elementary, Sunrise Park Elementary, Verde Elementary, Waters Edge Elementary, and Whispering Pines Elementary.

Private Schools

There are 36 private schools in Boca Raton, serving just under 9,000 students. The average tuition for Boca Raton private schools is $12,940 and the average acceptance rate is 88%. The minority enrollment in Boca Raton private schools is 13% and the student to teacher ratio is 10:1. 47% of the private schools are religiously affiliated, most commonly with the Jewish and Roman Catholic faiths.

Higher Education

Boca Raton is home to five institutions of higher education which include Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Lynn University, Palm Beach State College (PBSC), Digital Media Arts College (DMAC), and Everglades University.

FAU, founded in 1961, is a public four-year coeducational university and a member of the State University System of Florida. FAU is the largest university in Boca Raton with over 30,000 students. FAU offers over 180-degree programs, including doctoral degrees, and includes over 40 research centers.

Lynn University is an American private four-year university founded in 1962. This co-educational institution enrolls over 2,840 students representing nearly all 50 states and 80 nations worldwide. Lynn University offers over 25 undergraduate degrees and ten graduate degrees through its various colleges including the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business and Management, College of Education, and College of International Communication. Lynn University also has a Conservatory of Music and the School of Aeronautics which is a FAA certified aviation training center.

Palm Beach State College (PBSC) is a public state college in Palm Beach County, FL and is a member of the Florida College System. PBSC enrolls 49,000 students in over 100 programs of study including a bachelor of applied science, associate in the arts, and associate in the sciences degree programs. PBSC also offers short-term certificate programs, as well as continuing educational courses.

The Digital Media Arts College (DMAC) of Boca Raton is a for-profit art and design college that was founded in 2002. DMAC offers Bachelor's degrees in 3D animation and graphic design, as well as a Master's of fine arts in Visual Effects Animation and Web Design. The current enrollment at DMAC is approximately 350 students.

Everglades University is a private non-profit university that offers Bachelor's and Master's degree programs both online and on-campus. The main campus is located in Boca Raton, with additional campuses in Orlando, Sarasota, and Tampa, FL. Everglades University enrolls approximately 1,500 students annually and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Housing and Real Estate Market

History of Boca Raton Real Estate

The land boom of the 1920s marked the first major boost in Boca Raton's real estate when Addison Mizner constructed his Ritz-Carlton Cloister Inn on Lake Boca Raton.  The name was later changed to the Boca Raton Resort and Club, which to this day remains one of the only "Five Star" luxury hotels in Florida. In the 1980s and 1990s, development in Boca Raton was focused more to the west of the historic center of the city, which shifted the geographic center of the area to the Town Center at Boca Raton part of town.  By the early 2000s, much of Boca Raton, including the unincorporated areas of the city was considered to be built out. 

The Housing Crash

Not many states were hit harder by the 2008 housing crash than Florida. In 2007, the median sales price in Boca Raton was over $370,000, but by the middle of 2009, that number had dropped below $200,000 for the first time in six years.  The foreclosure rate in Boca Raton in 2006 was fairly low at 1.07%.  By 2008, it had reached a high of 2.84% and by the end of 2010, that number had surged to 11.32%, which was well above both the state and national foreclosure rates.  In fact, it was the 18th highest foreclosure rate in the nation, making Boca Raton one of the hardest hit by the housing crash.  Fortunately, times have changed, and Boca Raton is showing many signs of growth and recovery.

Boca Raton Real Estate Market Recovery & Growth

Real estate in the Boca Raton area has continued to see steady growth since the middle of 2012. In 2014, foreclosures in Palm Beach County were down 40% from a year prior with another drop in 2015 to a current rate of just 2.28%. As foreclosure rates drop, median sales prices have continued to rise in Boca Raton. From its low in 2011 of $149,000, the median sales price is currently now over $275,000, an 84.56% increase. The average price per square foot in Boca Raton is $162, which is an increase of 5.9% from last year.

According to a recent report released by Freddie Mac, South Florida's housing market now ranks as one of the most stable in the country. The health of the housing market in Boca Raton has turned the area into somewhat of a seller's market. There is limited inventory to keep up with buyer demand here, which is prompting developers to construct new homes and condos wherever possible.

The future of Boca Raton real estate is promising. As Boca Raton continues to show signs of growth through increased sales and rising developer activity, it is clear that this is a promising real estate market for both buyers and sellers alike.

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