Pompano Beach, like many cities with oceanfront properties, has a fairly straightforward system when it comes to desirable neighborhoods. That is the closer you are to the beach, the better. The Intracoastal Waterway--a partially manmade canal that runs along the Atlantic Coast and is primarily used for industrial transportation--further divides the mainland from the ocean, limiting beach access to a narrow strip less than a mile wide.
So, here we go. East Pompano. The Dream. Whether you're renting on the Intracoastal Waterway or the Atlantic Coast, apartment complexes and condos east of the Federal Highway are the most desirable in town. Okay, so the most desirable area of Pompano is a region that is probably less than about three miles wide. Worry not, new resident. Developers are pretty hip to the rental demand, and a large number of fancy new condo complexes and apartment buildings with beaucoup amenities await you. Be prepared to pay luxury prices for luxury rentals. Two bedrooms in this area generally range from $1500-2000.
Okay, so you can't afford east Pompano. Don't fret! There is still a totally reasonable, fairly safe area of town that is more humanely priced. Between the Federal Highway and the Dixie Highway there are several rental properties and private rental homes available at a lower cost than properties closer to the beach. With the exception of a small area just south of the Pandanus Place Shopping Center--which has a strip of seedy motels breeding higher crime rates--anything in this region is pretty much guaranteed to be nice. Two bedrooms, depending on amenities, generally range from $1200-1500 in this area.
Ah, West Pompano. Far from the beach and a reputed gangland filled with petty crime and escalating violence. Who would want to live here? Well, new Pompano resident, there are some rental options in this area that are not half as bad as they may seem. Recent renovation and development west of Martin Luther King Blvd., just south of downtown has made certain portions of the surrounding area safer and more friendly. Additionally, the area closest to the Palm Aire Country Club on the far west side of Pompano has some ritzy rentals in newer developments. Prices for rentals falls drastically west of the Dixie Highway, with even Palm Aire's amenity-loaded two bedroom condos going for between $900-1100.
Once you've settled on a neighborhood, it's time to buckle down and find your apartment. Pompano Beach, as a tourist destination, has a byzantine system of rental regulations that make the city's real estate market a haven for scammers. Do not ever put money down on an apartment that you have only seen pictures of. This may seem like common sense, but when you're in a pinch it's easy to fall prey to convenience. Unregulated online apartment rental search engines are the stomping grounds of SoFla jerks trying to make a quick buck. Use licensed real estate agents in the area, or search exclusively through websites like this one or management companies to be sure that what you see is what you're going to get.
Another downfall to living in a semi-transient town is that a lot of rentals will not allow pets. Be sure you search specifically for pet-friendly buildings when relocating to Pompano, or you'll have to smuggle poor Fido in!
Being a tourist town doesn't mean everything is bad in the rental market, however. Condos and apartment buildings, particularly those along the coast, are frequently rented seasonally when snowbirds migrate southward for a little fun in the sun. This means a couple of things. Firstly, there are a lot of flexible lease options for most rentals, and secondly, you can use the dearth of renters during the humid summer months to take advantage of off-season rental prices.
Most Pompano Beach residents commute to nearby cities, which means capital T traffic. Pompano is connected to Fort Lauderdale and Miami by I-95, so most rush hour traffic occurs along the southbound corridor. Without traffic, you can probably get to Miami from downtown Pompano in about 45 minutes. Good luck doing that any time from 7-9 in the morning, however. Most residents claim that the traffic remains pretty good until you hit the Golden Glades Exchange just outside of North Miami Beach. Avoid traffic here by trying to hit it before 7 or after 9. If you're commuting only as far south as Fort Lauderdale, consider yourself lucky!
Broward County Transit offers extensive bus service throughout the city via several fixed bus routes. Additionally, BCT provides express bus service into Fort Lauderdale from the downtown area.
So welcome home, new Pompano resident! Regardless of how close to the beach your apartment is, I see a lot of fun in the sun in your future!