No doubt about it: Stuart has taken a hit during the real estate downturn. Figures from the Realtor Association of Martin County show that prices of single-family homes have dropped by 17 percent — from a median figure of $265,250 to $221,910 — in the past year.
Housing in the heart of downtown, within a block or two of the Lyric, is limited. But within a short walk or drive are leafy neighborhoods, with homes built decades ago that retain an old Florida feel. (But not old Florida pricing: the ones along the St. Lucie River can easily go well beyond $1 million.)
Beyond downtown, there are a couple of other compass points to consider. To the east, you’ll find such stretches of prime shoreline as Sewall’s Point, a well-to-do town on a tip of land that’s bordered by the St. Lucie and Indian Rivers, and Hutchinson Island, which fronts the Atlantic and includes one of the region’s most exclusive gated communities, Sailfish Point.
Homes near or in downtown Stuart range from $350,000 to $2 million, while those in Sewall’s Point and Sailfish Point go for between $500,000 and $25 million. To the west, you’ll find newer communities of the sort typical throughout South Florida. One interesting exception is in Palm City, a western suburb of Stuart. The recently unveiled Canopy Creek has homes with slightly more breathing space than the norm (there are just 300 residences, starting at around $600,000, planned for the 700-acre space) in a nature preserve-like setting.