December saw Impressive Home Price Growth for Miami & South Florida Real Estate

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on January 28th, 2016

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While the residential real estate market in South Florida is experiencing a slight battle with the global economic crisis, this has not put a damper on housing prices in the region. These prices are steadily appreciating and there is no end in sight for this upward trend.

The prices for Miami and South Florida homes grew by 8.1 percent year over year in November. This data was gathered from a report published by S&P/Case Shiller.

In Palm Beach County, the median price for pre-existing single-family homes hit $305,000, which was an 11 percent increase from the previous year, even more than the average of 8.1 percent. However, there were several other areas that saw this kind of growth, as well. Broward County had a median home price that was also $305,000, which represents a seven percent increase from the prior year. This was the first time that either of these county’s crossed the threshold of $300,000 since over the summer.

Faster Growth in SoFla

This means that the tri-county area saw a faster pace of price growth than almost all of the remainder of the United States. In fact, the only areas that were ahead of South Florida were Dallas, Texas at 9.4 percent, Seattle, Washington at 9.7 percent, Denver, Colorado at 10.9 percent, San Francisco at 11 percent and Portland, Oregon at 11.1 percent.

It is not the entire economy that is suffering. In fact, the consumer portion, which includes automobile sales and housing, was actually quite strong in the previous year. In fact, this improved economy has provided homebuyers with the confidence necessary to actually enter into the market; however, there are some who have been less than overjoyed with the options available, specifically in the range of $150,000 to $400,000 homes. Thanks to strong sales in the past few years, a large number of listings have been depleted all throughout the region. The current owners are still unable or unwilling to test the market, with some not understanding what they could actually get for their home currently.

Economic Struggles in Miami

However, other parts of the economy are not doing quite as well. For example, businesses in the energy and oil sectors have begun to suffer from the significant drop in oil costs over the past 18 months. The strong buying power of the U.S. dollar is also resulting in slower exports. Unfortunately, the housing market is not big enough to help and offset these weak areas.

In December, the national housing market also saw a number of similar gains. In fact, prices increased by 5.3 percent year over year, which accelerated quite a bit from the 5.1 percent jump seen in October.

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Home Prices in Miami-Dade Grow Yet Again

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on December 14th, 2015

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The average home price in Miami-Dade County grew yet again in August, 2015, albeit at a slower pace compared last year’s growth. CoreLogic – a business and real estate analysis firm – reported that residential prices grew 7.4% in August compared to the same time last year. This number includes distressed properties. That statistic represents a slight decline from the previous month, during which home prices went up by 7.9% year-over-year.

In real numbers, the rise looks like this – the median selling price for single-family homes was $250,000 in August of 2014, and rose to $260,500 in August 2015. Condos enjoyed an even more drastic increase in median selling price, from $182,000 in 2014 to $204,000 in 2015.

In addition to price growth, sellers have been getting closer to their asking price than in 2014. The average selling price compared to list price was 96.1%, which represents a .7% increase year-over-year from 2014.

Even Slow Growth Is Good

As mortgage rates go up and single-family home inventory increases, the report predicts that the growth rate will continue its slowing trend. Experts, however, emphasize that this leveling off isn’t necessarily a negative thing.

2013 and 2014 brought with them a real estate boom that caused double-digit prices increases, which is generally regarded as unsustainable over the long-term. Part of the reason for that boom was high activity on the part of foreign investors; due to the strengthening of the U.S. dollar, their buying power has been subdued. The gradually slowing growth simply represents a shift from an extremely frenetic real estate market pace to a brisk, healthy pace.

Across Florida, home prices went up by 8.1% during August, when compared year-over-year. According to CoreLogic’s report, the national growth rate was slightly lower at 6.9%.

Only a few other areas across the nation showed stronger housing price appreciation than Miami:
• San Francisco – 10.7%
• Denver – 10.7%
• Dallas – 8.9%
• Portland, OR – 9.4%
• Seattle – 7.6%

According to CoreLogic CEO and president Anand Nallathambi, prices in these metropolitan areas “remain very strong reflecting higher demand and constrained supplies.” Adding to this, Nallathambi pointed out, “Continued gains in employment, wage growth and historically low mortgage rates are bolstering home sales and home price gains. In addition, an increasing number of major metropolitan areas are experiencing ever-more severe shortfalls in affordable housing due to supply constraints and higher rental costs. These factors will likely support continued home price appreciation in 2016 and possibly beyond.”

Sales Growth Slows Down

On the sales rate side of things growth has also slowed, partially due to an influx of new condo developments (see all Miami pre-contruction condos here) which refreshes inventory, giving buyers more choices. According to the Miami Association of Realtors, an organization boasting 38,000 members, residential sales in Miami-Dade County rose nearly 3% in August, from 2409 the year before to 2479. There was a minor 1% decrease in single-family home sales year-over-year when compared to August 2014, going from 1157 to 1145. Condo sales increased for that same month year-over-year, from 1252 to 1334.

Despite the slight decline in rate of growth, the fact remains that the Miami real estate market continues to enjoy steady growth, which is a healthy indicator for an area undergoing much construction and reshaping.

How Miami’s Economy Has Become Dependent on Brazil

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on December 6th, 2015

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There are more than 44,000 Brazilians living in Miami, not including tourists. Brazilian buying power has increased over the last several years, giving a boost to Miami’s economy. Real estate plays a pivotal role as 11% of all international deals are with Brazilians. They are also known to spend more on average per property according to NAR research.

Miami-Brazil Connection

South Florida by the Numbers is a column that reports real estate statistics in Miami (see Miami real estate website here). This column reported on the “Miami-Brazil Connection” and its future in light of Brazil’s economic downturn.

Here are a few of those statistics:

• Brazil is ranked number one for searching for real estate online in South Florida. In the last 18 months, Brazil has topped the list for all but three months. Brazilians spend the most on South Florida properties, averaging $495,000, compared to other international buyers.

• Brazil’s currency is dropping in the exchange rate. According to the Miami Harold, investors may begin to look elsewhere for properties that are less expensive. Brazil’s currency, the real, has dropped by 30% since last year. The Dow Jones is estimating that Brazil’s gross domestic product will decrease by 1.01% in 2015.

• There is an amazing amount of millionaires coming out of Brazil each week. Twenty-two new millionaires each week and many are finding homes and opportunities in Miami. It was only five years ago that Miami was in the real estate crisis and Brazil’s economy was beginning to grow. In 2015, Brazilians account for most of the cash purchases made in real estate in Miami.

• Giraffas Brazilian Grill has ten franchises in Florida with a goal to bring 150 stores across the nation by 2020. This fast growing company is helping to boost the economy in Miami. Giraffas has given Re/Max Advance Realty the exclusive power to handle lease negotiations, site selections, and market studies, among other tasks crucial to opening franchises during a dramatic growth period.

• The New York-based company, HFZ Capital Group, purchased the Shore Club for $175.3 million. Plans to reopen the hotel and residences are underway. The opening is set for the end of 2017 under the new name Fasano Hotel and Residences. This will be the first hotel opened in the United States by this brand as they currently own and operate four hotels and fifteen restaurants.

Brazil’s Economic Future

Brazil’s economic upturn helped to rebuild Miami after the real estate crisis. However, experts worry that Brazil’s upcoming economic troubles may fall over onto Miami like a domino effect. As President Dilma Rouseff faces impeachment and the economy falls into a recession, the unemployment rate skyrockets in Brazil.

The Miami Harold reports that in the first nine months of 2015, as many as 657,761 people lost their jobs. Even worse, it is forecasted that 1.5 million more Brazilians will lose their jobs in the remainder of 2015.

Miami Home Sales Break Records over the Summer

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on November 24th, 2015

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This past June was a record breaker for home sales in Miami. 1,390 single-family homes were sold. This was a record-breaking month as the highest month totaled 1,310 in June 2005. The month of July 2015 closed almost as many with 1,354 homes sold.

This is exciting news in the market as the prices for these homes have continued to rise year-over-year. Currently the price for a single-family home in Miami is up 8.6% and up 2.6% for condos. A single-family home that may have sold before for $255,950 is now $278,000. Condos that sold for $190,000 will now sell for $195,000.

Miami condos this summer also saw an increase in sales growing 4.8% year-over-year. 1,471 condos sold in July compared to last year’s number of 1,403.

This rise in home sales is thought to be from the city’s improving job market and low mortgage rates. Christopher Zoller, the 2015 Residential President of Miami Association of Realtors, refers to Miami as being “a global city with the second largest financial hub in the country.”

Mortgage Loans

The interest rate is down for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. In July 2014, the rate was 4.13%. In July 2015, it had dropped to 4.05%.

The Miami Association of Realtors had this to say about mortgage loans in Miami in a recent report, “Despite the rise in sales, access to mortgage loans for existing condominium buyers remains limited. The lack of Federal Housing Administration loans for a large number of existing Miami condominium buildings is preventing further market strengthening.”

“Of the 8,523 condominium buildings in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, only 29 are approved for FHA loans, according to statistics released earlier this year from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and FHA.” The statement goes on to report that only 0.0034% of local condos are approved for FHA loans. The U.S. average is 30%.

More Affordable Condos

Although the prices have seen increase year-over-year when compared to condominiums in global cities, Miami’s condos are quite affordable. A Miami condo which sells for $149,900 is comparable to condos in London ($960,840), Hong Kong ($776,280), and New York ($1.6 million).

The homes tend to sell near asking price. The Miami Association of Realtors reports that the average amount of days on market is only 41, compared to 43 in July 2014. The original list price received was 95.6%. As for condominiums, the days on market remained at 59, the same as July 2014 and the average list price received was 93.8%.

Cash Buyers

Cash purchases accounted for 48.2% of total home sales in July 2015. The national average is 23% in comparison. Miami’s number of high cash purchases is due to the fact the city attracts international buyers that tend to purchase properties in cash, according to the report.

The outlook for the housing market continues to be bright as increases in home sales continue despite the lack of FHA and price increases.

Phil Collins Buys Jennifer Lopez’s Home in Miami Beach

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on October 28th, 2015

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To say that Miami Beach is popular with celebrities would be a massive understatement. Songs have been written about Miami, celebrities are always enjoying the entertainment and nightlife, spending time on the beaches, and thinking about buying a home in the area. Even though they might live in Hollywood or as far away as England, having a property in Miami Beach is more than just a status symbol. It’s a place to call home when visiting one of the most vibrant cities on the planet.

Phil Collins Buys Miami Beach Home

Miami Beach homes for sale

You know Phil Collins from his work with Genesis, as well as his solo work. He’s one of the most famous and successful singer/songwriter musicians in the world with hits ranging from “Invisible Touch”, “Land of Confusion”, “Another Day in Paradise”, and “Groovy Kind of Love”. He also happens to love the United States almost as much as his homeland of England. That has led him to buy a fantastic property located in Miami Beach that once belonged to another famous face – Jennifer Lopez.

Collins bought the mansion on North Bay Road, and he paid a hefty $33 million for the property. He bought the property from Mark Gainor, a healthcare executive, who bought it from Lopez in 2005. At that time, the Gainors paid $13.9 million for the mansion. Collins closed on the sale in early June.

What Does the Property Offer?

The mansion is extremely large for starters. It is 12,153 square feet and offers seven bedrooms. In addition, it has eight full bathrooms and three half bathrooms. It also features a Jacuzzi and a pool. The home has some lovely modern features thanks to updates, even though it was built in 1929. One of the best features of the property is that it offers 200 feet of waterfront right on Biscayne Bay.

Another nice feature is that it is on enough land to provide some privacy for Collins. One of the problems with many homes bought by celebrities is that they don’t actually have enough privacy. They are willing to pay more for that added sense of security and privacy.

It’s a mansion for sure, and it takes someone with the status and money of Phil Collins to get into a property like this. The location, along with the property features, helps to make it well worth the price tag. It also shows just how strong the market is in Miami right now. When there are homes in South Florida that are routinely selling for more than tens of millions, it shows that people see just how much potential the area has. Many buyers from other countries, like Collins, love Miami and know that the property has the potential to go even higher.

In the future, you can expect to see even more celebrities purchasing homes in Miami Beach and the surrounding area. The city is only getting more popular, and that means the rich and famous will be spending more time here.

Second Quarter Sees Growth of Home Sales in Miami

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on October 3rd, 2015

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There is no question that Miami is one of the hottest cities when it comes to real estate, and it has been doing quite well every since the economy and the real estate market started to recover. They city and surrounding area has seen a nice increase in the number of sales, as well as the price of homes, in the second quarter of 2015 when compared with the previous year.

Miami Is Still the Place to Buy

During the second quarter (April, May, and June) of 2015, there were 3,913 homes sold in Miami. This number marks an increase of 7.2% over the same months in 2014. During that time, the median home price happened to go up as well. It rose 10.6% from $245,000 to $271,000. Normally, when the prices go up by more than 10%, you don’t see the number of sales go up as well. People tend to slow down and consider other areas. Of course, Miami doesn’t have that trouble at all.

People want to live in Miami, even if they might be paying more than they would have a year ago. The vibrant city, the proximity of the beach, and the fact that the real estate value has such a potential to keep rising is encouraging more and more people to buy in Miami. Some of the buyers are from the United States, but there are a number of foreign buyers as well. Canada and China are just two countries that have a lot of residents looking at Miami property.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the number of homes offered between last year and this year has remained about the same. Even though there is approximately the same number of homes on the market, the sales have picked up, and that means that buyers are going to be competing for properties. Naturally, this has the potential to push the prices higher, as it becomes a seller’s market.

Both buyers and sellers are confident in the market, and that is really helping to push the sales to the next level. Considering the fact that mortgage rates today are actually very low, and that the price of the homes, even though they’ve been rising, are still affordable for many buyers, and it is easy to see why the sales have been growing this year.

While the single-family homes have been doing very well, the sale of condominiums has slowed down slightly. According to reports, even though the sales prices for condos increased, the number of sales dipped by about 1.8%. New listings for condos dropped as well, but that certainly doesn’t mean condos are necessarily struggling.

The Miami condominium market is faring decently when compared with many other areas, and with the increased interest in Miami, it is possible that the sales will pick up between now and the end of the year. With all that Miami has to offer, it is no wonder the desire to live in the city is continuing to rise.

Hibiscus Island Popular with European Buyers

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on October 1st, 2015

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Beautiful Hibiscus Island has been a very popular location for luxury Miami waterfront homes for years, and that popularity is now crossing the pond. European buyers have been purchasing high-end multimillion dollar properties that are right on the water recently. Even though the value of the Euro is not as high as it once was, this has not really stopped the popularity of the Miami area. Buyers from Europe are still very interested in Miami homes, and they want nothing less than the best. That’s just what they are finding on Hibiscus Island.

Why Hibiscus Island?

Well, there is a lot to love about the island. Many of the lots are very large. One home that sold recently was a 5,643-square foot house that sits on a lot that’s 13,781 square feet. Another property offers a 4,251-square foot home on 15,750 square feet of land on the waterfront. Many of these homes are large and have massive properties. Those who are looking for larger properties that can offer a greater element of privacy tend to like this option.

They also love the fact that they have an ideal location. Those who live on the island are only a short distance from both Miami Beach and downtown Miami. It really is a perfect location. Since it’s on an island, it tends to be very safe. Getting around the area can be fast and simple, and the residents love the convenience. Whether they want to find entertainment in the downtown area or spend some time relaxing on the beach, it’s all very easy.

One of the interesting things about the properties on Hibiscus Island is the fact that the Europeans who are buying are not using them as investment properties that they will rent out. While it’s possible to charge a substantial amount for rentals on the island – some can fetch more than $40,000 a month – the buyers are looking for places that they can actually call home. They buy the property and become the end user. Some may want to make changes to the property and to develop it further with the goal of creating a true dream property.

More Buyers Are Looking at the Island

The Island has seen several large sales over the past couple of months, and as soon as property goes up for sale, you can be sure that it will have plenty of eyes on it. While the Europeans are some of the most prominent buyers, there are actually buyers from plenty of other locations that are falling in love with Hibiscus Island. The homes tend to be on the higher end of the pricing scale, but given their size, the land, and the amount of things that the buyers can do to upgrade the properties, which might not be possible with condominiums, makes the price well worth it. This is certainly one of the areas that you will want to watch if you are interested in the movement of real estate in the Miami area.

South Florida Home Price Growth Is Slowing

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on August 20th, 2015

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While the homes in South Florida have seen nearly continual increases over recent years, a new analysis by RealtyTrac shows that those rises are starting to slow. The analysis showed that while home prices increases grew by 20 percent year over year in 2013, they dropped to only 10% in February of this year.

While Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale also saw the same drop to only a 10% increase, this is actually reflected on a national level as well, with other major cities seeing the same rates of slowing appreciation. Overall, however, some experts feel that this decline is not necessarily a bad thing.

Potential Issues with Continued Increases

Ob Jacobi, who is the president of Windermere Real Estate in Seattle explained that “if homes were to continue appreciating in the double digits for too long, we could run into the same boom/boost market of years past”. Considering that the wages have not kept up with the increases in home prices, this may be a very true statement in Miami. The report also indicates that future expectations for home prices is that they will rise only single digits, rather than the double digits that realtors and investors have come to expect in the area.

Other Statistics

The report also provided other notable statistics as well. While average home prices have seen a decrease, those that have a $1 million price tag or higher have actually increased in the percentage of sales by 4.25%, which is higher than the previous year’s 3.46%.

The report also showed a few interesting changes in median home prices and foreclosed properties. As of February, the US median home price was $183,000, which is an increase of 14% over the previous year. Foreclosed property prices also increased by 17%, leading to an average price of $127,000. This jump shows that the previous savings seen on foreclosed properties after the 2013 mass distressed buying is waning, which will also help slow appreciation levels down to single digits as home buying returns to a more even market.

New Highs in Other Cities

While Miami and a majority of other major metropolitan areas saw decreases in home prices, there are others that fared much better. Denver, Colorado, San Jose, California and Austin, Texas all saw historic median home price increases over the last year.

Increase Drivers in Miami

The reason that there is not much concern over the 50% decrease in Miami is simple. The boom in Miami luxury condos and residences, many of which were purchased with foreign cash, is one of the main reasons the home prices were increasing so dramatically. As these multi-million dollar homes were moving in and being sold, it was driving the prices of single-family homes up, as well. This was since many middle-class residents started moving further inland.

Even with these on-going changes, there is little doubt that the Miami real estate market is still growing strong, and as far as luxury homes go, doesn’t show any sign of slowing in the near future.

Foreign Real Estate Investors in the US

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on August 13th, 2015

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The top five foreign retail investors in United States real estate have invested over $17 billion as of the first quarter in 2015, but the numbers show that Singapore is overall leader.

First Quarter Investments

Real estate in the US has become a major investment for foreign countries, with Manhattan proving to be the most popular choice. The current NGKF Capital Markets report shows the breakdown of the more than $17 billion, and the results are surprising:

• Germany – $1.4 billion
• Australia – $1.7 billion
• China – $2.5 billion
• Canada – $3.6 billion
• Singapore – $8.1 billion

Singapore’s massive investment is staggering on its own, but considering they did not make it to the top five list at all in 2014, these rankings become even more impressive. At the current investment pace, and with Singapore’s stunning investment increase, 2015 could prove to be a record year for foreign real estate investment.

Manhattan Foreign Investment

Even though Singapore has seen a drastic increase in their US real estate investments, they don’t come close to any of the other major players when it comes to investing in Manhattan. A majority of the top five, as well as several other countries, spend their money in Manhattan, which made up 31.6 percent of the overall foreign investment capital. Over the past 12 months, investments in the city are as follows:

• Malaysia – 2.4%
• Germany – 3.3%
• Qatar – 3.7%
• Japan – 5.3%
• Brazil – 5.8%
• Norway – 12.3%
• Canada – 25.6%
• China – 26.6%

China and Canada are the foremost investors in Manhattan, and they have made a number of lucrative investments in premier skyscrapers in the city. January saw the Ivanhoe Cambridge investment firm spending $2.2 billion on the 3 Bryant Park office building in a deal with Blackstone. During the month of February, the Chinese Anbang Insurance Group closed a deal on the iconic Waldorf Astoria for $1.95 billion, making it the largest single Manhattan property investment for China.

Record New York Investment Levels Expected

According to the Preqin research firm, sovereign wealth funds have already shown a major increase in investments in the past year, with a staggering $6.31 billion growth. New York’s, and most importantly, Manhattan’s, popularity as an investment destination for sovereign wealth funds has already climbed to over $2 billion within the past 12 months. Those figures are expected to continue rising.

New York’s popularity as an investment destination is based on two things: its stability overall, and its ability to soak up massive sums of money quickly. Recent purchases in the Big Apple, such as the Norway-based Norges Bank Investment Management investing $1.74 billion in office buildings and the $337 million investment by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority on the Ian Schrager New York Edition Hotel, are impressive. These investments, along with others that are currently in negotiations, show that there is plenty of potential for a major increase in the amount of money that could be heading into New York in the coming year from foreign investments.

Residential Home Sales Rising

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on August 8th, 2015

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A new report released by the Miami Association of Realtors shows that homes sales are continuing to rise in Miami. The largest increase was in Miami single-family homes, which saw a year over year increase of 14.2% over February of last year. Condos are also still on the rise, with an increase of 1.4%.

These increases brought the total home sales in Miami in February up to 2,174, which is an improvement over last February’s sales of 2,036. So what’s behind these increases? Many realtors believe it’s a combination of buyer demand and seller confidence. (Click Here to view recent home sales in Miami)

As confidence and buyer demand continue to grow, they are creating listings that are more active, as well as driving sale prices higher in the process.

Cash Sales

Cash sales are another major part of Miami’s real estate market. While there was a decrease year over year compared to last February, the sales did increase from January to February. With all-cash sales last February making up 62.5% of all closed sales, and this February’s numbers being at 58.8%, there was a noticeable drop. However, month to month increases from January to February were 57.2% and 58.8% respectively.

While the Miami Association of Realtors believes the year decrease is due to the lack of loans from the Federal Housing Administration, Miami is still doing well. In fact, Miami all-cash home sales are over double the national average, which is a good indication that Miami is the place that buyers go when they want luxurious homes.

Other Real Estate Numbers for Miami

Considering how Miami compares to the national averages, there are also other benefits in the real estate market. The number of short sales from February of 2014 to February of 2015 saw a decline, with 35% of the total residential sales in South Florida being distressed sales. Last year, those sales were at 36%.

At this time, active listings are also up by nine percent over the year, with almost a nine-month supply of available condos, and over a five month supply of single family residential homes available. On average, the real estate market in an area is considered balanced when there is a six to nine month supply of available homes. While single family homes aren’t quite there, these numbers are expected to continue increasing based on the comparison of numbers from February 2014.

The current level of homes and condos, as well as the increased sales in Miami, have made them one of the most active in the entire United States. The demand for homes is both from local domestic buyers and overseas buyers. The number of foreign buyers continues to increase in the area, and a majority of these represent the all-cash sales as well. These buyers are coming to Miami and South Florida for investment and second homes.

While it will remain to be seen if Miami maintains year over year increases in home sales, the growing popularity with foreign buyers looking for luxury homes is still on the rise, and this provides major benefits to the SoFla economy.