More Places to Shop and Dine Coming to the Miami Design District

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on October 29th, 2016

Design District Miami

Miami’s Design District is one of the most impressive spaces in the area, and with a host of new stores and restaurants getting ready to arrive in the coming year, it’s set to become even better. This neighborhood encompasses 18 blocks just to the north of I-195.

Currently, there are more than 60 eateries and stores in the neighborhood, and this is going to expand with another 250,000 square feet of retail space coming soon. In addition to the retail space, they are also adding a 12-room hotel, as well as a new parking structure that can hold up to 900 vehicles. Given the size of the expansion, it is highly likely that they will need that added parking space.

What Stores Are Open?

Design District Miami condos

The Design District is already home to a large number of very popular stores including Dior, Burberry, Cartier, Giorgio Armani, and Versace. There are also some great places to dine including Buena Vista Bistro, Buna Vista Deli, Dusk, Mercato, and Lemoni Café. You can also find quite a few interesting art galleries in the Design District including Bossa Gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Maman Fine Art, and Mora Studio. In addition, there are design firms and a host of services in the neighborhood.

What Stores and Restaurants Are Opening?

Although there are already a number of great places to shop, dine, and have fun in the Design District, the new expansion will be adding a substantial number of shops. Let’s look at some of the shops that will be making their way to the neighborhood in the coming year.

Some of the popular fashion and accessory stores include Gucci, Alexander Wang, Cos, Christian Louboutin, Eres, MM6, Alice & Olivia, Diane von Furstenberg, Loro Piana, Dolce & Gabbana, Isabel Marant, Joseph, Rag & Bone, Sevan Biçakçi, Stefano Ricci, Tod’s, Warby Parker, Tory Burch, Van Cleef & Arpels, Saint Laurent. When it comes to restaurants, you can find The Smile, Estefan Kitchen, ABC Kitchen, La Boutique de Joël Robuchon, Le Bar de Joël Robuchon and La Terrace de Joël Robuchon. Other stores coming include Yoga, Aesop, Citco, Creed, and Ahana.

Still More on the Way

While this is already an impressive list of some of the finest and most high-end shops and eateries, it is only the beginning. With the recent announcement of these new properties coming to the Design District, it brings the area to being 30% full. This means that the area is still going to be growing and adding new shops, and much more over the course of the next few years.

If you live in the area, or if you live anywhere near the Miami Beach area for that matter, you might want to visit the Design District real estate projects to see what it can offer. It’s an impressive location that’s going to become one of the most visited places in Miami as they keep adding stores and places to dine.

Will High-End Condos Be Popular in Miami’s Design District?

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on August 30th, 2015

Baltus House Midtown Miami

Many areas of Miami are growing thanks to the strong economy and investment from major companies. The Design District is one of the regions that is starting to see an increase in popularity and is set to go through a transformation in the coming years. Many luxury retailers are setting up shops there, as are some large companies. This makes many wonder whether this area will also be a good location for high-end condos that we see in so many other locations around Miami.

The Changes in the Miami Design District

A large mixed use project in the area is underway that will bring some high-end shops including Prada and Louis Vuitton to the area. This project will take up multiple blocks and is set to be similar to the “feel” that people get from Rodeo Drive in California. The goal is to become the most popular destination for luxury retail in all of South Florida. The project will not likely be finished for at least another year or so, but there are a number of tantalizing details about what it will contain.

There will be more than 120 stores, mostly luxury brands, as well as a boutique hotel. The space will also house between 15 and 20 restaurants of different types. In addition, there will be galleries, art installations, and lofts and condos. This last bit has people buzzing. We know quite a bit about the different retail stores that will be in the project, but there has been very little said about the residential options.

The developers, even though they have not released much in the way of information, seem to believe that people will have an interest in living in such close proximity to these other luxury locations, and they are probably right.

Currently, there have been several condo towers planned for development in the area, all of which are just a short distance away from the Design District. However, those condos have not yet started construction, and it is not certain exactly when (or if) all of them will break ground. Only one tower – Baltus House – is in the area right now. This 15-story tower features 167 units of varying size from studios to three-bedroom and two-bath units.

Since the other condo towers are still in development, it may turn some potential buyers away who want to move soon. Consider that there are quite a few developments in the downtown area that are further along, and couple that with people not wanting to wait, and it could slow the residential development of the area further.

For most buyers that are looking for a good investment opportunity though, buying in this area seems like a very good idea. It’s a location that is only going to grow and get better and more popular with time. The amount of money, time, and effort they are putting into the redevelopment of the Design District is astounding, and this could cause the property values to rise further. Buying as soon as units are available for deposit or sale could be a smart move.

Click Here to view available properties for sale in Design District

The Retro Revival of MiMo – The Miami Modern Biscayne Boulevard District

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on July 31st, 2015

Miami real estate

MiMo is the name given to the Miami Modern Biscayne Boulevard Historic District, but it also describes the architecture found in the area between 50th and 77th streets that were built between the late 1940s and early 1970s as well. While the motels lining this strip were once the chosen locales for prostitutes and drug dealers, it has now become one of the hippest areas in Miami’s Upper Eastside. (See properties for sale in the area –

Leading the Way

The force behind this once downtrodden area becoming the MiMo hotspot it is today is former Miami Beach residents who’ve decided that home ownership and a yard to call their own is a better option than a beachside condo. Along with them are plenty of boutique and shop owners, modern office spaces, trendy new restaurants and period hotels that are transforming Biscayne Boulevard.

MiMo Players

There are a number of buyers and developers snapping up spaces or putting down roots in the MiMo district who want rehabilitate these retro locations, and change the perception of Biscayne Boulevard in the process. One of the major players in Avra Jain, whose purchases and renovations started with Vagabond Hotel. Since that purchase in 2012, she has spent over $12 million on real estate in the area, as well as untold renovation costs.

Greenstreet Real Estate Partners, which is a real estate investment fund valued at $1.5 billion, is another developer making strides in the area, with over $14 million spent on office properties and retail space.

The MiMo Attraction

So why are all these developers and transplants choosing a retro-revival of the Miami Modern District? Because the current costs of buying and renting are still a relative bargain. However, with the influx of interest in the area, rent has gone up as well for retail space. With a 50% increase throughout the area over the last three years, it has left some worried that the increased prices and the costs of renovation will eventually drive rents too high, and force businesses to close that can’t charge enough to offset the increasing costs.

Others in the area disagree with this fear, as they believe that the purchases are based on actual business plans, rather than simple speculation, and a desire to return Biscayne to its former glory.

Changes from 51st Street to 77th Street

Biscayne Boulevard has become an investment retro-revival from 51st Street all the way to 77th, with investors and developers truly trying to make a difference in the area. In addition to Jain’s Vagabond Hotel, there are 16 other major properties along the Boulevard that are either in the process of being renovated, have already undergone renovation, or are slated for building to start in the near future. All of this shows that there are plenty of people and residents that are discovering MiMo, and doing their best to return it to something more than its former glory. With all the changes, and the numerous businesses and developers flocking to the area, it’s clear that this is one area that is worth watching and considering.

South Florida Commercial Real Estate Looking Bright

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on July 15th, 2015

Miami Brickell City Centre

The JJL’s Pulse360 2015 panel members provided predictions about South Florida’s commercial real estate (view all commercial listings), and the outlook is looking very bright. Among these predictions were:

• 2015 is looking to be a strong year for commercial real estate in Florida due to steady investments and a strengthening economy.
• Prime office spaces may see an increase rental rates from 15 to 25% over the next two years as new workplace construction slows, and absorption rates begin increasing.
• South Florida is continuing to grow in popularity thanks to the tourism boom, and world-class hotels, restaurants, and retail locations.
• Millennial entrepreneurs and their rush to the urban core, including in places such as the Design District, Miami Beach, and Wyndwood, along with the increasing popularity of shared office spaces, will cause changes in the face of work sites.
• The Miami Worldcenter, Brickell City Centre, and the Design District, which are three of the top ten retail destinations in the nation, are all currently being built in Miami.
• Currently, the only prime office tower that is slated to be built is the Brickell City Centre by Swire Properties, and it will not be completed until 2019.

All of these predictions and findings show that South Florida is poised to take advantage of the increasing demand for space required by national and international retailers who are choosing to take advantage of the tourist base in Miami. This tourist base, which includes international travelers from locations such as Brazil, arrive in Miami with empty suitcases that they plan to pack with purchases to take back home with them. Major retailers want a piece of that pie.

Land Price Increases

Another driving force behind the increase in office rental prices is the high land prices. This is causing many developers to abandon office sites, and change their focus to the popular luxury condominiums that are being bought up by foreign buyers, many of whom pay in cash.

Considering that the Swire project is the only one expected to occur between now and 2019, JJL’s Pulse360 members believe that this will result in one thing – rental rates will go sky high. These rates will be driven by the lack of additional supply of office spaces in a market that is already tight, and according to the predictions, this is going to be a major push to getting those rental rates even higher.

While there are no other projects currently under development, Nitin Motwani, who assisted with the creation of Venture Hive, a shared workplace for entrepreneurs close to downtown Miami, has said that there have been other developers who are interested in the concept, and creating sites that are similar. However, the problem with creating those sites is that financing is not as easy to secure since it is outside of the typical office space. Motwani believes that this will change as well, although it may take up to 10 years for that type of financing to become the norm.

All of these predictions show that South Florida is a prime location for retail rentals, and it is only going to get better.

Three New Towers Start Construction in Miami Thanks to Related Group

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on September 25th, 2014

Baltus Condo Miami

There is busy, and then there is busy like the Related Group gets busy! In the span of a three-hour period in late July, 2014, the developer did something that other companies could only dream of doing. They began construction on three new condos in Miami. At the same time, they entered the presale phase for yet another high-rise in downtown Miami. If that weren’t enough, consider that this was just a week after they nearly finished work on two other towers in the area. These other towers, ICON Bay, a 43-story tower with 299 units and Baltus House, a 15-story complex with 167 units, are already extremely popular in the area.

The New Projects

Related Group held their groundbreaking ceremony in Brickell Heights to celebrate starting construction on a pair of towers in the area. One of the towers will have 46 stories, while the other will be slightly larger at 49 stories. Combined, they will have 696 units. The towers will be going up on the 800 block of South Miami Ave, along the west side of the avenue. They held their groundbreaking at 10AM on July 31.

Just an hour later, they hosted another groundbreaking ceremony. This new tower is the Paraiso Bay, and it will be 53 stories high and have 368 units. The tower will go up along the north side of Northeast 31st Street in the 600 block. It is important to note that this tower is just the first in what the Related Group hopes will be at least four in the Paraiso family of towers. They want to develop other towers between Northeast 31st and 32nd street, and they hope to have close to 1,400 units between all of these different towers. While these are not in the groundbreaking phase yet, it’s a good way to get an idea of what Related Group plans to do and how rest is certainly not on their schedule.

Approximately an hour after the Paraiso Bay groundbreaking, they will start their presale phase for another of the towers in Paraiso. Paraiso Bayviews will have 44 stories and 388 units. The actual build phase of this project will likely begin sometime in early 2015.

Always Busy

This type of activity is nothing new for the Related Group. They have always been very active when it comes to building new properties in the area. Right now, they have plans for a large number of new towers – at least 34 – between themselves and their partners. This will account for nearly 8,400 units. Already, they are responsible for around 24% of the units in the South Florida area. Take a moment to consider exactly how many units this is already and how many they will be adding in the coming years.

One thing is certain. The Related Group is one that is never satisfied to simply rest on their laurels, and they continually look for new opportunities. However, to remain successful, the company needs to continue doing well on all of their presales to hit their targets.

Designer Touches at the New Baltus House Condo

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on September 5th, 2013

Baltus House Condos For Sale

Baltus House Precontruction Condo

The Baltus House Condo

is a 15-story construction boasting 167 total units and situated right next to the Design District of Miami. The views available from this dramatic new building are truly something to behold, as intended by the award-winning international firm Arquitectonica. Featuring all state-of-the-art features, including a fitness center, it is easy to see why the opening of this condo is highly anticipated by many in the community. Scheduled to open in 2015, time is of the essence to get in on the pre-construction purchase of one of these condos.

Incredible Location

If you have been looking for a condo close to everything, Baltus House Condo has what you are looking for. Access is given to some of the most recognized shops available in Miami. The building is located right at the edge of the Design District of Miami as well as Biscayne Boulevard. The entire downtown Miami area is easily accessible from this new construction to provide residents access to everything they want to do.

Residential Features

Baltus House apartments offers residents the ability to choose between studios (620 sq. ft.), one bedroom (800 sq. ft.), two-bedroom (1,420 sq. ft.) and three-bedroom/bathroom (1,720 sq. ft.) units. Every unit is provided with one parking space for convenient and secure parking.

From the moment you walk into the building, you are greeted by the works of art provided by Jorge Perez. The elevator takes you to your floor where you can enjoy a modern home with interior design by BALTUS (Spanish design firm located just steps from Baltus House Condo in the design district of Miami). Every condo provides a view of Biscayne Bay, the Design District or Miami thanks to floor to ceiling windows in every residence.

The professional grade kitchen appliances make it easy to cook your favorite cuisine that can be enjoyed on your oversized balcony or inside your residence taking advantage of your view. Bathrooms are well appointed with imported porcelain tile flooring and bedrooms are spacious to make you feel at home.

Variety of Amenities

When it is time to relax, Baltus House Condo has you covered. Take a dip in the 55-foot pool with a magnificent view over both Miami Beach and Biscayne Bay. There are private cabanas available to make sure you have an opportunity to relax. Additionally, the nearby whirlpool allows you to let your troubles wash away. If you don’t feel like swimming, you can take a dip in the Jacuzzi on the rooftop terrace. Throw a party for you and your guests utilizing the BBQ grills on the rooftop or reserve the well-appointed clubroom. When you are ready to hit the gym, you have access to a state of the art fitness center that includes access to a yoga/Pilates room as well.

With everything that Baltus House Condominium has to offer, getting in on pre-construction prices from $234,000 to $801,900 is an easy choice to make. The amenities and the location make these residences sure to go up in value immediately after the building opens.

For more information or to reserve your unit today please contact the sale office at (305) 336-0457

The Miami 2012 Luxury Market Analysis

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on June 15th, 2012

Miami Condos For Sale

South Beach Condos For Sale

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.

Miami Condo Sales Are Up And Miami Real Estate Is On The Rise Once Again

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on October 29th, 2011

Miami real estate for sale

 Miami Beach Condos For Sale

Being a broker of Sunny Realty and providing one of the most used resource for Miami real estate ( I’m often asked: “how’s (Miami) real estate these day?”. Unfortunately I can’t just answer this question simply – “good” or “great” or “better”. When I start to explain that Miami basically has the best and worst real estate in the country, people think I’ve gone nuts and trying to sell them a story. However, here is The New York Post recent article By ANDY WANG.

Summer was hardly a vacation for those in the business of selling Miami condos.

“I didnt go to St. Tropez because of this”, says developer Gil Dezer, whose Sunny Isles Beach condo projects include the 384-unit Trump Royale and the three-building, 813-unit Trump Towers.
Dezer reports that he sold more than $100 million in Trump units during June, July and August ($50 million alone in August, including a $29 million, 34-unit bulk deal). He has closed more than $1 billion in Trump condos overall and has only about 75 units left.

Recent Trump Towers Condos sales

have been priced at about $525 per square foot. Thats significantly less than the $1,000-per-square-foot contracts buyers walked away from in 2009 after the financial crisis hit, but Dezer, whos paid off the construction loans for all four buildings, seems satisfied. (Donald Trump participated in a ceremonial Trump Royale condo mortgage-burning ritual, lighting the document on fire himself, in January.) The downturn made the job challenging, Dezer says. Every day was a battle. But when youre winning, its fun.

Winning could also be used to describe the situation at Icon Brickell. That nearly 1,800-unit downtown colossus, built by the Related Group with designs by Philippe Starck, seemed to be in peril not long ago, and two of its three towers were deeded back to its lenders in May 2010. But Icon Brickell Condos now nearly sold out, with more than 1,500 units closing for a total of more than $700 million. When you factor in units in contract, only about 30 condos remain.

I think the market has consumed the inventory in a much more rapid way than I and probably everybody thought, says Related Group chairman and CEO Jorge Perez, who adds that most buyers have been foreign. The Latin American economy has been strong.

The forecast was that we would sell all the units in three years at an average price of $350 per square foot, says Edgardo Defortuna, president of Fortune International Realty, which started selling Icon Brickell apartments in June 2010.

Less than a year and half later, Fortune is almost done and seeing prices at about $400 per square foot.

Demand has been so strong that Perez is now building another downtown development. The 192-unit MyBrickell is a couple years away from completion, but Relateds received over 60 reservations for condos before officially launching sales. Unlike Icon Brickell, MyBrickell isnt on the water, and Perez is passing on the cheaper construction costs and the deal we got on the land to offer units, with interiors by Karim Rashid, for about $300 per square foot.

Defortuna, meanwhile, is now selling downtowns Paramount Bay, a 346-unit building resurrected out of foreclosure by owners iStar Residential and ST Residential. Musician Lenny Kravitzs Kravitz Design firm is working on the building, where prices are about $400 per square foot.

South Beach real estate

with significantly pricier properties, is seeing lots of action, too. The summer was uncharacteristically busy, says Lana Bell, president of Sunny Realty, which has an office in South Beach and Sunny Isles Beach. We certainly didnt take a vacation.

According to Sunny Realty latest Miami market report, South Beach condos sold for an average of $515 per square foot during the third quarter. But this factors in distressed properties, including units bought out of foreclosure.

At the markets top end, the W South Beach Hotel & Residences has closed about $260 million in condos at an average of $1,700-plus per square foot, developer David Edelstein says. The W South Beach sold more than $50 million during the summer. One penthouse went for $7.7 million, north of $3,000 per square foot, Edelstein says.

As with much of Miami, foreign buyers have been key at the W. (Douglas Elliman translated its market report into Spanish and Portuguese to spur international interest.) From May through September, about 65 percent of Edelsteins purchasers were foreign, and about half of those were from Brazil.

The allure of the W has helped nearby condo buildings lure in buyers, including those from New York.

Fashion designer Irina Shabayeva, who won season six of Project Runway, owns a one-bedroom with a balcony at the 52-unit Boulan South Beach development just south of the W, but on the other side of Collins Avenue.

I like the Boulan because it was so new, really fresh and modern, says Shabayeva, who primarily lives in the East Village. And its across the street from the beach and the W.

Shabayeva says she enjoys the New Yorker-friendly amenities at the W, which include a Warren Tricomi salon and a Mr. Chow restaurant. And Edelstein says that the Dutch, an outpost of Andrew Carmellinis SoHo restaurant, will open in the W by Thanksgiving.

Boulan, which has sold 22 condos and has one-bedrooms on the market for upward of $600 per square foot, is busy filling its own retail spaces, as well. An art gallery should open in time for Decembers Art Basel festival. A Mexican/Asian fusion restaurant and a nightclub are also in the works.

Neighborhoods all over Miami are getting big residential and retail makeovers. The 56-acre Midtown Miami developments second phase, which will start next year, will include a boutique hotel, a movie theater and 100,000 square feet of retail.

Well definitely have a fashion component, says developer Jack Cayre.

And the nearby Design District is getting a Louis Vuitton store.

There was probably a point in time here someone said, Whats Chelsea? or Whats Meatpacking? and eventually, they became a place because New York was ready to have another place, says Greg Masin, senior director at commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. When we look at the Design District and at Midtown, what we see is the evolution of the next place in Miami.

Plus, the downtown Metropolitan Miami developments third phase will include rental apartments and a Whole Foods Market. Plans for downtowns eight-block Miami Worldcenter site include residences, restaurants and retailers. And the Genting Group, an Asian casino operator, has unveiled plans for its $3.8 billion Resorts World Miami mixed-use complex. But the scope of the latter two projects will depend on approval for casino gaming, something thats the object of much speculation and uncertainty all over Miami.

Dezer says he has been talking to major Las Vegas casino operators about land he owns in Sunny Isles (13/ acres on the beach and 6/ acres directly across the street that hits the intracoastal waterway) that could accommodate a gaming resort with more than 2,000 rooms and 3 million square feet.

They’re both good real estate, Masin says of the Genting and Dezer sites. If they both had a casino, theyd both be successful.

Whatever happens, Dezer has options.

We originally bought [the land] to build condos, he says. We could build five condo buildings.

That idea would have seemed ridiculous in 2009, but now its more plausible.

Defortuna has sold out the 256-unit Jade Beach condo building in Sunny Isles Beach and has just three apartments left (for about $700 per square foot) at its 252-unit Jade Ocean sister property.

In terms of quality inventory, oceanfront, he says, you can make a strong argument that you need to start building now.

Originally published by ANDY WANG.

(c) 2011 The New York Post. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

Foreign Buyers Driving South Florida’s Real Estate Market

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on July 2nd, 2011

Miami Real Estate

The Miami Association of Realtors just reported that the current inventory of pending home sales has increased nearly 15% from one year ago. While several attributing factors have been noted for the rise in activity, one prominent change has been the increase in foreign buyer interest in the area.

Total Contract Activity- May 2011

The total volume of pending sale listings increased in the month of May nearly 29% over the previous year. Increased pending sales are a strong indicator of future sales, as pending sales generally close within 1-2 months of initial contract signing. While Miami single-family homes are currently driving this increase, Miami condo sales have been holding their own.

Miami real estate experts

point to the dramatic increase in international buyers over the previous year for such promising gains. South Florida’s real estate market remains one of the strongest in the country. In addition to the Florida marketplace, foreign buyers are driving activity in California, Texas and Arizona.

International Buyer Activity

According to the National Association of Realtors, the surge of foreign money into the U.S. real estate market surged by $16 billion in 2011, representing a 24% increase over 2010. The U.S. continues to retain the strongest international real estate interest among buyers. While the U.S. has always seen strong foreign interest, the increased inventory and lowered prices have caused an increase in purchasing activity. Foreign buyers are also taking advantage of favorable exchange rates, allowing them to take advantage of even greater property savings. With reduced pricing and favorable monetary conversions, foreign buyers are getting nearly double the discount on their purchases.

In addition to permanent international residents purchasing properties, many executives working within the U.S. on a temporary basis have been opting to purchase properties over renting, traditionally done in the past, due to the current pricing making the option more affordable.

Another contributing factor to foreign investment in U.S. real estate is the influx of international students seeking a college education. Many foreign families are purchasing properties for their children during their attendance.

Miami Condo Sales Up 46 Percent

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on June 26th, 2011

Miami real estate

Miami Condos For Sale

Miami real estate

as well as sales of existing condos in the Miami metropolitan area rose 46 percent in May, 2011 compared to the same period in 2010, according to data from the Miami Association of Realtors. There were a total of 1,420 condo sales last month, up from 972 in May 2010. Miami single family home sales also showed an increase, jumping 20 percent to a total of 875 sales last month.

Most of Miami condos

are purchased by International buyers who continued to dominate the Miami real estate market, with 60 percent of closed residential resales last month transacted by foreign buyers, who also bought a staggering 90 percent of new construction sales. “The current performance of the Miami market is exceeding expectations,” said Jack Levine, Chairman of the Board of the Miami Association of Realtors.

In fact, the volume of Miami home sales rose, continuing a record-setting pace. However prices are still on the decline, although there are signs of stabilization. This logic-defying housing market phenomenon continued to embrace interesting trend lines in May of 2011 — Miami condo sales soared, slashing down the inventory even further, but overall prices fell once again. Furthermore, local sales are increasing while the national market slumps, but local prices are falling faster than the national average.

Here is a full story from Miami Herald – or you can read it below:

The region’s real estate narrative is also at odds with traditional market economics. The coexistence of shrinking supply, rising demand and falling prices has left analysts with a number of questions: How long can this frenzied sales pace —fueled by Latin American and cash investors’ appetite for discounted real estate — continue? With inventory shrinking rapidly, when will the strong sales activity translate into price stability and appreciation, as market economics dictate? How large is the “shadow inventory,” and how will those unlisted bank-owned homes affect the recovery?

In Miami-Dade, there were 875 sales of existing single-family homes and 1,420 condo sales, increases of 20 percent and 46 percent from last May, respectively. Compared to April, home sales were up 5.4 percent and condo sales were up 1.1 percent.

In Broward County, 1,142 single-family sales and 1,537 condo sales represented increases of 6 percent and 14 percent over last May, respectively.

In the first five months of the year, more than 23,000 homes and condos have traded hands in South Florida, one of the strongest five-month runs on record. Nationally, 2011 has been a poor year for sales, with double-digit declines nearly each month.

South Florida’s rapid sales pace has helped reduce the region’s housing inventory, which has gone from severely bloated to suddenly lean over the last couple of years.

There are now 31,659 homes and condos for sale in Miami area, down from 61,755 in May 2009.

The crucial “months-of-inventory” figure has slimmed to 7.2 months in Miami-Dade and 5.5 months in Broward, both down to a fraction of their peaks. Economists say that six months of housing inventory is indicative of a healthy market.

So why hasn’t the shrinking supply of homes led to price stabilization?

“We have a whole bunch of pent-up supply,” said William Hardin, professor of real estate and finance at Florida International University . “There’s a squeeze play going on because no one is going to sell a house in today’s market unless they have to.”

The majority of homes that are selling are under distressed circumstances —either a Miami foreclosure sale, or a short sale that doesn’t cover the cost of the mortgage. Those properties — popular among cash investors and foreign buyers — sell at deep discounts, dragging down overall prices in the market.

In the single-family market, May 2011 median prices fell 8 percent to $180,200 in Miami-Dade. Broward suffered a particularly large decrease, with single-family prices falling 17 percent to $188,500.

There are some signs that prices may be beginning to stabilize, specifically in the condo market, where sales have been the most rapid.

In Miami-Dade, median condo prices slipped just 1 percent, to $124,300. In Broward County’s condo market, there was a 9 percent year-over-year increase, with median prices reaching $80,400.

Year-to-date, median prices are up across the market: Miami-Dade condos (36.2 percent), Miami-Dade single-family homes (19.4 percent), Broward condos (16.5 percent) and Broward single-family homes (14.2 percent). While prices are up since January, the year-over-year figures provide a more reliable barometer of values, since they compare the same time periods in the region’s seasonally driven market. It’s too soon to say if sustained appreciation is here to stay, although industry insiders are pitching that message.

But even as South Florida’s market looks to rebound from its worst bust in history, a number of troubling issues threaten to drag out the recovery.

However, two of the factors that normally support a healthy housing industry — a strong job market and significant home equity — are painfully absent in South Florida. In Miami-Dade County, unemployment sits at record high 13.4 percent. Nearly half of all South Florida homeowners with mortgages owe more on their homes than the current value, one of the highest underwater rates in the country.

Stricter lending standards have made it difficult for many potential buyers to obtain a mortgage. In May 2011, 60 percent of home sales were completed without a mortgage as all-cash investors.