By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on June 15th, 2012
The luxury market in South Florida is exploding, with record-breaking residential listings as high as $125 million for the recently-listed former Versace mansion. But with prices that look like those of 2006, some are warning that Miami’s high-end market might be forming another bubble, CNBC reported. It is the type of speculative, largely foreign buyer in South Florida that worries experts. If Europe’s economy collapses, or if global markets fall back into a recession or even slow, the market for Miami’s pricey real estate could collapse overnight. “This is flight to safety for these buyers, an investment decision,” said Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants. “The question is, how long and how far will it go? Does this create a bubble at the very high end in these specific markets?”
In the meantime, the new condo transactions at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort & Residences as well as Mansions at Acqualina are off to a great start. About 170 units have been closed at St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort & Residences totaling more than $623 million in the first seven month of sales! In addition, deposits for about 80 units were collected at Mansions at Acqualina in the first 5 weeks of the sales center being open.
Buyers are purchasing these super-luxury, ultra-exclusive properties at an average $1,500 sq.ft. and paying on average between $1,2M to $13.5M dollars. This is a sure sign of Miami real estate exploding once again with prices breaking all previous records. The properties are up by 20 percent just this year, which even breaks the peak of 2006 year.
“Miami is hot and it’s not just the weather!” said Jack Levin, chairman of the Miami Association of Realtors.
Consider the stats: The lion’s share of Miami’s high-end real estate is now bought by foreigners. In 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors, Florida accounted for more than a quarter of the $82 billion in sales to international buyers.
The average price paid by those buyers was $400,000, against an overall U.S. average of $212,000. Sixty-two percent of international purchases were all cash, a percentage that has been increasing since 2007.
Real-estate economists and brokers say most of the foreigner investors are rich families from Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Russia. These families are growing increasingly nervous about threats to their wealth from economies and governments back home and are looking for a safe place to store their cash.
Miami is an ideal location, offering all the safety of the United States with the fun and mildly exotic feel of southern Florida.
In other words, Miami’s boom is not a broad-based market recovery driven by local families needing a home. It’s being fueled by a tiny top slice of super-rich overseas buyer looking for the latest hot investment.
As of the end first quarter in 2012, buyers had purchased nearly 45,000 condos in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach areas. They’ve spent over $22 billion dollars. Currently the developers are proposing at least 32 new condo projects with nearly 6,300 units in each of the tri counties Miami-Date, Broward and Palm Beach.
As of June 2012, nearly 1,300 luxury condos priced at $1 million or more are available for resale in the South Florida market where buyers are purchasing an average of about 75 units monthly between January and May of this year, according to the data.