Pros and cons of Palm Bay Florida

Pros and cons of Palm Bay Florida

YouTube Video on the Pros and Cons of Palm Bay Florida

No matter what city or town you live in…there are things you love and you hate about. If you are trying to decide if Palm Bay is right for you, here are 12 things you are either going to love or hate about Palm Bay Florida.

1 City Parks & Recreations

Since Palm Bay is the largest city in Brevard County, you would expect that they have a lot of great parks & outdoor areas throughout the city.  The city of Palm Bay delivers with over 30 parks throughout the city with a lot of them around the Turkey Creek including the Turkey Creek Sanctuary. You can expect to see the typical park items, pavilions, playgrounds, paths, restrooms, and green space. Baseball, basketball, & tennis courts. They have paintball & a skate park.

Public Boat Ramps

You have boat ramps at either Pollak Park or Goade Park where you can also launch kayaks, SUPS, or canoes. There is also a kayak launch place at Turkey Creek Sanctuary. Even though this is technically Melbourne…Three Forks Marsh is a place to launch your boat on the St. John’s River.

Aquatic Center

There is the city’s aquatic center located at the East Florida State College Campus in SE Palm Bay. The pool is open for lap swimming Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 8-1 and 5-8. General swimming Saturday afternoons. Admission is $4 or you can buy a pass starting at $40 & they offer senior and Veteran discounts too. More info can be found on their Facebook page

2 Palm Bay Schools 

There are a lot of schools for the city of Palm Bay. 3 high schools, 1 middle school, 12 elementary schools, and 5 charter schools that cover a variety of the grades/education levels. shows all the schools in Palm Bay to be fair to good and show them to be good to great. So, do your research to see if the schools are right for the kiddos.

3 Palm Bay taxes

Property taxes in Brevard County range from 12.2143 to 21.3683 with the city of Palm Bay near the top at 19.9057. Keep in mind that Palm Bay is the largest city in the county that needs to have a police & fire department large enough to take care of the 100+Sq Miles of the area and 120,000 population. 

Palm Bay Taxes

4 Traffic

Traffic in Palm Bay is not the worst in the county (I believe Wickham Rd takes that honor) but it is pretty bad at times. Two high traffic areas any time of the day are Palm Bay Road between Minton & Dairy Rd and Malabar Rd near I-95. Babcock Road, Minton, & Emerson will also be tough to navigate depending on the time of day (aka rush hour) There are some options to get around the “log-jams” If you can navigate the sidestreets around the canals. Learning the quadrants of Palm Bay will also help you get around. 

5 Waterfront Living: Tillman Canal and Canals Throughout Palm Bay, Turkey Creek & Indian River

If you haven’t been to Palm Bay yet, you can look at a map or aerial view of the city and see the canals & waterways that are throughout the city with the Tillman Canal being the largest & most prominent. If you are thinking, I want to live on one of these canals to explore the city on the water, you will be disappointed…the purpose of these waterways is to control stormwater and to prevent flooding and not for recreation. You cannot legally access these canals. I would recommend looking at these canals as an opportunity to have a larger buffer zone between you and your backyard neighbor. 

Photo of what a canal looks like in Palm Bay.
A Palm Bay Canal

If you are wanting to live on a navigable waterway, you will need to look in the North East section of town along the Turkey Creek and in the Palm Bay Point community for homes on the Indian River. There are also a few options along US1 where you have your house on the west side of US1 with a dock on the east side. 

There are also condos along US1 that are on the Indian River.

6 Not close to the beach

This can be a pro and a con. If the beach isn’t really important to you…it doesn’t matter. If you wanted to be within 20 minutes of the beach, you need to live as far north & east in Palm Bay as possible. The closest route for you to get to the beach is driving north to 192 or the Melbourne Causeway. It ends at the boardwalk in Indialantic. 

map view of Palm Bay showing the closest beaches
Closest beaches

7 Downtown or Walkable Area

If you are looking for a downtown area or destination area of Palm Bay for restaurants, shops, & bars…there isn’t really an option like Melbourne, Cocoa, or Titusville YET. The city recently sold the Pelican Harbor Marina which will be the place to go. Bayfront Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has taken over the Pelican Harbor Marina and will be working with the city to redevelop 7 acres of land along US 1 and the Turkey Creek into a vibrant downtown area on the water. This project is just getting underway and I do not have an eta on completion. 

Map view of Palm Bay near the Turkey Creek showing where future redevelopment will be happening
Future Development Area for Palm Bay

Emerald Lakes will be another section of Palm Bay that will be a destination area for that walkable downtown area. This is located off exit 166 of I-95 and the St Johns Heritage Parkway. Besides the 3000+ homes to be built in this area, there will be offices and commercial buildings including retail, restaurants, & bars all centered around a crystal lagoon (a massively huge pool). Here is a concept video that is circulation on the web 

Homes are being built today and the city of Palm Bay has said that the permitting for Emerald Lakes has started and believes construction should start towards the end of 2022. 

8 Where to work?

Even though Palm Bay offers a lot of employment opportunities in retail, restaurant, trades, and tech jobs with Raytheon and L3Harris (which is the city’s largest employer), 70% of the residents commute out of Palm Bay for work. 

The question I have is, how long of a commute are you comfortable with? Since I do not know where you are living, all the drive times are from the middle of Palm Bay-the Palm Bay Police Department. It also depends on if you will be using I-95 too.

If you work near the Melbourne Airport (Embraer, Northrop Grumman, etc) it’s about a 20-25 minute drive.

If you work in the Viera area it’s about a 30-35 minute drive.

If you work at Patrick Space Force Base it’s a 35-40 minute drive.

If you work at the Space Center it’s almost an hour.

Google map view showing the drive time from Palm Bay to Melbourne, Viera, Patrick Space Force Base and KSC.
Drive Time From Palm Bay Florida

9 Sidewalks

Unless you are on the main road or in an HOA, you might not have a sidewalk. If you plan on taking a stroll, riding a bike, going for a run, or walking the dog, you will either be walking on the street or along the grass line of your neighbor’s yard. And a lot of the areas that don’t have sidewalks also have culverts connecting the driveway to the street, so you might be walking through water (or at least wet grass) I recently heard through a YouTube comment that there aren’t many streetlights in the non-HOA neighborhoods either.

10 Housing Options

Since it’s the largest city in the county, it only makes sense that you have the most options for finding a house. If you want a newer home, Palm Bay has options. The average age of homes sold in 2021 is 21 years old (built-in 2000) There are more new homes being sold in Palm Bay than in any other city in the County. Palm Bay also has better prices for a home than the rest of the County. Palm Bay Average price 266952 Median prices 259000 Average years built 2000 compared to the County average price 376126 Median prices 309000 and average year built 1992. 

Palm Tree background with text overlay of the sales in Palm Bay versus Brevard County Florida
Palm Bay vs Brevard county

The thing that comes up when I show a property in Palm Bay that is not in an HOA is how the homes are set up in the city. You could have a small house built in the 1980s next to a home that was recently built. You can have several vacant lots side by side that have not been cleared. There is a lot of “scattered lot construction” that has been going on in Palm Bay for some time. 

The new construction that is happening right now on the scattered lots could be the best way to buy a new home right now. I know both Holiday Builders and DR Horton are both sending me email updates on the homes coming available & there have been brand new homes on these emails for under $300K

Rental history

If you aren’t looking to purchase and are more interested in renting a home, here is what to expect. This is all data from our MLS for 2021 (Jan-Dec). Rent ranges were 950-3500. Average rent 1692. Median rent $1630. Average size 1583. The average year built 1996. Today (5.3.2022) there are 25 homes for rent ranging in price from 1700-3500 per month.

Palm Trees in the background with text overlay on the rental history of Paom Bay Florida
Rental information Palm Bay Florida

11 Utilities

If having city water and city sewer is important to you, you need to know that not every house comes with city water & city sewer. You could end up with city water and septic. You can also end up with well water & septic. The good news is that most of the newer communities in an HOA are on city water & sewer. If you don’t know, you can ask your real estate agent, you can look for telltale signs while looking at a property, or you can visit the city of Palm Bays’ website to see what’s available at that location. It is lot-specific.

12 The Compound

See for yourself what it is like in the compound

This is 12 square miles of SW Palm Bay that had plans of being developed in the 1980’s. There are over 200 miles of roads. The lots are divided. There just isn’t any infrastructure. No electric. No utilities. It’s just empty. I haven’t been out that way in 10+ years and when I did go, it was kinda creepy. Today, this is where the homeless might go, the high-school/young adult looking to party, the paint-ball wars happen…The city of Palm Bay owns 235 acres and the rest is owned by private individuals. So, technically; you are trespassing by going out there. The city of Palm Bay is pretty clear that the Compound is not zoned as a recreational area open to the public. If there is a “what if” to say about this SW section of Palm Bay is…What if the St John’s Heritage Parkway can connect…wouldn’t that help jump-start things in the Compound?

google maps view of Palm Bay showing the compound and where St Johns Parkway could connect.
Could the St John’s Heritage Parkway trigger development in the Compound??

Ready to see what homes are for sale in Palm Bay? This link will take you there

I hope this helps with your research to see if Palm Bay Florida is the right place for you to move to! If you are either moving to Palm Bay or moving to Florida, I am here to help! You can call or text Eric Larkin with Real Brokers at 321.795.1854 or leave a message below.

About the author:

Eric Larkin is a Broker Associate with Real Broker, LLC. He lives, works, and plays in the Cocoa Beach area. If you have questions about moving or relocating to Cocoa Beach and the Space Coast, let me know! I get calls, texts, direct messages & comments on my posts every day about the real estate market and things that are happening in Cocoa Beach and the Space Coast that I love answering. Ask me your questions on moving, relocating here, or anything about the community. I am here to help. I have been helping buyers and sellers with their real estate needs since becoming a real estate agent in 2003. My focus is always on helping, answering your questions, and doing everything possible to make certain you have a smooth transaction from beginning to end.

What questions do you have about buying or selling a home? Contact Me

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