South Florida’s real estate market looks hot again

Demand is up, inventory is low and prices are rising. The battle for South Florida’s residential real estate is back on even though there may still be many more foreclosures to come.

<p>Fort Lauderdale Realtor Michael Elliott puts a SOLD sign on the shingle outside a home in Wilton Manors.</p>

Bidding wars are erupting from Homestead to Weston, as home sales and prices take off, further reinforcing the end of a prolonged market slump.

A two-bedroom, two-bathroom, bank-owned condominium in Coral Springs sparked 64 offers within 10 days — selling for $71,000 on Tuesday, or 34 percent over its $53,000 listing price.

“It was a feeding frenzy. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Marta DuPree, broker associate and vice president of the Keyes Company in Coral Springs. “It was a rentable building, so all the investors were out.”

In Broward County, the median sales price of single-family homes rose 17 percent in April to $205,000, and condominiums jumped 17.4 percent to $84,300, compared to prices in April 2011. And in Miami-Dade, home prices continued a five-month ascent — up 30 percent for condos, to $150,000, and 8.2 percent for single-family homes, to $183,000, compared to a year ago, according to figures released Tuesday by the Miami Association of Realtors.

Across South Florida, higher demand is leading to multiple bids and, in turn, elevating prices — as the real estate market keeps turning around.

“We have a very limited amount of inventory at this point and there are a lot less foreclosures on the market,” said Tony Garcia, district sales manager for the Keyes Company in Homestead. “What we are seeing is that people are going again to bidding wars … We’re in a situation where for 80 percent of contracts there are at least three or four offers for the same property.”

Realtors say the inventory of residential listings is way down. It has decreased 34 percent in the past year in Miami-Dade, from 17,897 to 11,878, and down 4 percent since March, the Realtors’ Association said.

Similarly, in Broward, the inventory of residential listings has dropped 30 percent in the past year, from 15,781 to 11,086, also down 4 percent from March.

With a housing stock of 16,000 homes and condos in Weston, only 254 single family homes and 91 condos are currently for sale, said Chip Rowand, assistant district sales manager for the Keyes Company’s Weston office.

Neighboring areas of Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines, Davie and Cooper City are all experiencing a similar dearth of inventory, said Fritz Hawkins, general manager for the Keyes Company.

“We can put a property on the market and we can have multiple offers in one day,” he said.

Investors with cash — predominantly foreign buyers — continue to fuel the market.

In both Miami-Dade and Broward, 64 percent of closed sales in March were all-cash sales, with the vast majority to international buyers, the Miami Association of Realtors said.

“We’re at a point where builder inventories are low, and in fact, for some builders, sales are proceeding faster than they can build,” said Brad Hunter, South Florida director for Metrostudy, a housing market advisory firm headquartered in Houston.

“For those who are waiting four or five or more years for home prices to stabilize and start edging back upwards, we are essentially there,” he said.

Meanwhile, distressed properties still make up a large number of sales.

In April, 47 percent of all closed residential sales in Miami-Dade were distressed, including REOs (bank-owned properties) and short sales, compared to 59 percent in April 2011 and 49 percent the previous month.

In April, 38 percent of all closed residential sales in Broward were distressed, compared to 50 percent in April 2011 and 41 percent the previous month.

Even more distressed properties are sure to hit the market, which could still dampen prices, analysts say.

“We still have 52,000 foreclosures that haven’t been sold, and it is still taking 809 days to process a foreclosure in Florida,” said Jack McCabe, chief executive of McCabe Research & Consulting, based in Deerfield Beach.

When those distressed properties become available, they may be sold online, rather than through Realtors, he said.

“Things are better, but they are still not great, and there is still a flood of distressed property yet to be sold,” McCabe said. “And that will have an impact on the marketplace.”

Statewide median sales prices in April increased 10.2 percent to $144,350 for single-family homes and 16.1 percent to $108,000 for condos, according to the Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $177,400 in April, a 10.1 percent increase from April 2011.


National rental trend reaches South Florida development

Mahesh Pattabhiraman, chief lending officer at Apollo Bank

The nationwide rental boom is moving to South Florida, where, for the first time in years, developers are rushing to build apartment buildings in cities from Plantation and Davie to Doral and Coral Gables, the Miami Herald reported. “Rentals will be in demand for a while,” said Mahesh Pattabhiraman, chief lending officer for Miami-based Apollo Bank. “The pendulum has swung.”

Last month, Apollo Bank got on the rental bandwagon, making a land-acquisition loan to Miami’s Adler Group, which plans to build two 20-story rental apartment towers near the west end of the 79th Street Causeway. Downtown Miami rents jumped 11 percent last quarter compared to the prior-year quarter. [Miami Herald]

Miami tops South Florida apartment market

Miami continues to be the strongest apartment market in South Florida, according to a second-quarter report from Marcus & Millichap. With plummeting vacancies and the “gradual restoration of rents to former peaks,” Miami-Dade County is leading the tri-county area, in large part due to increased tenant demand. Further expansion in service employment will help lead to a projected 60-basis-point decline in the vacancy rate this year to 4.1 percent.The county’s vacancy fell 100 basis points in 2011, according to the firm. Asking rents are projected to rise 3.6 percent to $1,114 per month, with effective rents projected to increase 4.3 percent to $1,063 per month this year. That follows 0.7 percent and 1.0 percent increases, respectively, in 2011. —

More South Floridians going live-work route

Cynergi in Wynwood

With a non-existent commute and reduced expenses, more tenants in South Florida are choosing to work where they live, the Miami Herald reported. The increase is being driven by a rental boom in South Florida, particularly Miami’s once-dormant downtown areas. “Literally within the last five years, it’s gone from being dead at night to where you now have 93 percent occupancy,” said Tadd Schwartz, a real estate marketer. “Now you’re seeing the migration back to the urban core. And if people are going to work there, why the hell not live there? Who wants to sit in the traffic?” David Dabby, a real estate analyst, said more South Floridians are choosing to live closer to work, but live-work units themselves, like those at Cynergi in Wynwood, have not caught on en masse. [Miami Herald]

Existing U.S. home sales, prices rise while inventory falls from last year

Sales and closing prices of existing U.S. homes grew in April and listed inventory fell, indicating a strengthening recovery, according to data released today by the National Association of Realtors.

Completed sales on existing homes increased 3.4 percent from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million in April 2012. Sales are up 10 percent from the 4.2 million rate recorded in April 2011. The median price for all types of existing homes rose 10.1 percent from last year to $177,400.

The inventory of listed existing homes has fallen 20.6 percent from April 2011, although total inventory increased 9.5 percent to 2.54 million from March 2012.

“It is no longer just the investors who are taking advantage of high affordability conditions. A return of normal home buying for occupancy is helping home sales across all price points, and now the recovery appears to be extending to home prices,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said. “The general downtrend in both listed and shadow inventory has shifted from a buyers’ market to one that is much more balanced, but in some areas it has become a seller’s market.”

Despite the importance of these apparent improvements in housing for national financial markets, the accuracy of the NAR’s past monthly existing-home data has been called into question and the organization had to adjust years worth of data because it had been gathered incorrectly. —

Miami condo prices jump 30 percent

May 23, 2012 09:00AM

Miami’s residential prices showed strong increases for the fifth month in a row in April, with the median sales price of condominiums rising 30 percent compared to the same period in 2011, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. The median sales price of single-family homes rose 8.2 percent year-over-year. “Miami single-family home and condominium prices continue to trend upwards due to the record demand experienced last year,” said Martha Pomares, 2012 chairman of the board of the Miami Association of Realtors. “Price appreciation should continue due to limited supply and strong demand from both U.S. and international buyers and investors.”

Fla.’s housing market continues positive signs in April 2012


ORLANDO, Fla. – May 22, 2012 – Florida’s housing market had increased pending sales and higher median prices in April, along with a greatly reduced inventory of homes and condos for sale, according to Florida Realtors® latest housing data.

“Here in Florida, we’re seeing some strong numbers that show positive momentum for the state’s housing recovery and our economy,” said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “Home prices continue to rise in many markets. Inventory is down to extremely low levels while pending sales are on the rise – almost 38 percent for single-family homes and 25 percent for townhomes and condos. It is not unusual to see multiple offers.

“Now the challenge will be for appraisals to catch up. Overall, we are very happy to see the market move in this direction and expect this trend to continue.”

Pending sales refer to contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed; closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in April was $144,350, up 10.2 percent from the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department, and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $108,000, up 16.1 percent over April 2011.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in March 2012 was $163,600, up 1.9 percent from the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in March was $291,080; in Massachusetts, it was $267,500; in Maryland, it was $225,601; and in New York, it was $215,000.

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.

Statewide sales of existing single-family homes totaled 17,544 in April, down slightly, 0.7 percent, compared to the year-ago figure. Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhomes/condos, a total of 9,765 units sold statewide last month, down 4.9 percent from those sold in April 2011. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in March 2012 was $165,200.

In April, there was a 5.8-month supply of single-family homes in inventory and a 5.7-month supply for townhomes/condos, according to Florida Realtors.

“The housing numbers for the state of Florida continue to signal recovery,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Sales in 2012 are above where they were in 2011, a harbinger of a third straight year of improvement. More importantly, pending sales are up dramatically, and inventory is still falling. Financing constraints still mean that a significant percentage of these will not lead to closed sales, but with the numbers up, we are confident that closed sales will continue to rise.

“The increase in both median and average prices suggests that investors are having a strong impact on the market, soaking up lower priced inventory and causing buyers to move up the price ladder.”

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.91 percent in April 2012, down from the 4.84 percent average during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.

Miami condo prices jump 38 percent in first quarter, inventory falls 33 percent

The median sales price of a Miami-Dade County condominium rose by 38 percent in the first quarter, compared to the same period in 2011, according to a report from the Miami Association of Realtors. The median single-family home sales price rose to $174,799, a 14 percent increase compared to the first three months of 2011. “In the first quarter, we have seen further decline of housing inventory in Miami-Dade County, coupled with consistent and significant price appreciation,” said Martha Pomares, 2012 Chairman of the Board of the Miami Association of Realtors. “Record home sales, which were greatly boosted by foreign buyers and investors in Miami-Dade County, have further strengthened the local real estate market and economy.” The price increases came despite short sales and REOs continuing to account for a significant proportion of closed home sales. Inventory in Miami fell by 33 percent in the same period.

More vacation home buyers drive to Florida

U.S. vacation home buying trends are changing, according to the Wall Street Journal, and that’s affecting Florida, one of the largest such residential markets in the country. Depressed real estate prices are drawing more buyers to the market, but because of rising fuel prices and traveling costs, vacationers aren’t interested in journeying as far to shop for, and eventually live in, their second homes.

“People [increasingly] choose second homes that are a shorter drive rather than a plane flight away,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia. A National Association of Realtors survey found the median distance between a buyer’s primary residence and vacation home declined for the first time in six years, by 19 percent to 305 miles.

Sales of these homes are picking up, and especially in Florida the Journal said. However, most of the buyers are coming to Florida from nearby states a short drive away.

Manhattan and Miami Real Estate Market Trends Point to Higher Prices, Lower Inventory and Lower Down Payment Requirements for Foreigners

Bidding wars are now being seen in both Manhattan and Miami Real Estate markets

Manhattan and Miami property prices have seen significant price increases in the first quarter of 2012 in comparison to the prior year, with record prices in both markets.

At current sales rates, Manhattan has 9 months of inventory and Miami has only 4 months of inventory remaining.  In Miami, to meet the demand of buyers in the face of declining inventory levels, developers are announcing new projects every few weeks.

Manhattan price increases on a per square foot basis


    • Manhattan condo prices increased 9%

Luxury prices increased 8%

Miami price increases on a per square foot basis


    • South Beach prices increased 20%



    • Miami Beach prices increased 27%



    • Downtown prices increased 19%



  • Luxury prices increased 13%


Record prices have hit Miami, marked by a sale at St. Regis Bal Harbour for $20 million and another at Setai for $21.5 million. While not across the board, there have been a number of sales at record prices in both markets.

In one instance, a penthouse in Manhattan, at 15 Central Park West was sold for a record 88 million dollars. At One 57, the new uber-luxury 90-story pre-construction development towering over Central Park, off-plan apartments have reportedly been selling at 4 to 5 times the average price per square foot of a condo in Manhattan.

Gone, are the days of 10% down payment for a pre-construction property. Developers in Miami are now requiring 50-60 percent in progress payments over two years, with the remaining at closing, a practice borrowed from the Brazilians, an increasing participant in this market.

Manhattan new development has been on a much slower track, with a dearth of new development coming online in the next few years. Accordingly, the low inventory environment in Manhattan is likely to be the norm for some time.

Ricardo Mello from Manhattan Miami Real Estate explains, “Declining inventory levels has caused multiple bids on certain properties. While multiple bids are not widespread, since many prime neighborhoods now have a shortage of inventory, bidding wars, a boom-era phenomenon, are on the rise.”

As for mortgage financing trends, down payment requirements have been lowered for foreign buyers by some big banks to 30% in Manhattan and 40% in Miami (although some smaller banks have been offering mortgages with lower down payments in Miami), down from 40% and 50%, respectively.  For primary homeowners, however, lending standards remain stringent. ”

Notes to editors

Ricardo Mello, Co-Founder of Manhattan Miami Real Estate is available for interviews.

Price increases percentages were taken from Jonathan Miller’s market reports- The Miami and Manhattan Market Reports for Q1 2012.

About Manhattan Miami

Manhattan Miami Real Estate, an international full-service luxury real estate group within the Charles Rutenberg brokerage firm, assists buyers and sellers of prime Manhattan and Miami properties. At, customers can search for Manhattan Luxury Real Estate & Miami Luxury Condos in one place and browse all New York City and Miami properties.