Hibiscus Island Popular with European Buyers

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

Hibiscus Island homes for sale

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.

Residential Home Sales Rising

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

Miami Beach homes for sale

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.

No Housing Bubble in Sight

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on July 21st, 2015

Miami real estate

Statistically speaking, housing is on a roll. Year-to-date home sales are up 6.3 % and prices in May were 7.9% higher than a year earlier. The trends are expected to stay positive and are likely to boost business dollar volume by as much as 15% in 2015. These statistics don’t even include new home construction, which is growing at a strong clip as well.

But this rosy picture does raise concerns about affordability. After all, wages are rising by only 2% annually and renters are getting squeezed, having to endure 4% rate hikes while home prices accelerate more quickly. In addition, mortgage rates have notched their highest level of the year, reaching about 4% in June, and should continue to rise well into next year.

Some armchair analysts have suggested that we’re entering a new housing market bubble. But hard facts suggest otherwise. Underlying conditions today are fundamentally different from the bubble of a decade ago. Back then, credit was easy to obtain and home sales were running at more than 8.5 million a year (existing and new homes combined). New home construction volume topped 2 million annually.

By comparison, credit today is extremely tight, which has led to an unusually high level of all-cash sales. Home sales are barely over 5 million and new home construction is barely scratching 1 million units. Meanwhile, for the past eight years, total mortgage balances have failed. The reasons show what’s changed from 10 years ago: home owners are paying their mortgages on time and few are seeking cash-out refinances.

It’s fair to ask, though, whether at some point affordability problems will choke off home buying. That’s possible. But there’s my thinking about what could neutralize those fears. After running various scenarios, I expect home prices to rise continuously as long as mortgage rates remain under 6%. Early in the summer, the average rate was 4%. It may rise to 5.5% by the end of next year. Should mortgage rates cross the 6% mark, maybe two years down the road, then either home prices will be flat or other forces will be evident. Going forward, keep in mind that robust job creation and meaningful increases in income levels will help propel home prices. For now, though, no bubble or impending crash is in sight.

By Lawrence Yun, NAR (National Association of Realtors) chief economist.

International Buyers and the South Florida Real Estate Boom

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on July 12th, 2015

Miami homes for sale

Over the past four years South Florida has seen record-breaking real estate sales. According to a report completed for the Miami Association of Realtors, Latin American buyers are leading the way in driving those real estate sales higher.

The Ultra-Rich Buyers

Ultra-rich buyers are snapping up luxury residences in Miami-Dade County and Broward County at a record pace. According to reports from 2014, 68% of these buyers are from Latin America. Rounding out these buyers are:

• Argentina – 12% of sales
• Brazil – 11% of sales
• Columbia – 8% of sales
• Canada – 7% of sales
• France – 5% of sales
• Mexico – 4% of sales

In addition to the foreign cash from these locations, China joined the list in Miami with 2% of the total sales, and this is the first time they have been on it. Considering that China is one of the strongest markets for new business, this can have major benefits for Miami home sales.

International Buyers Love Miami

In order to understand just how much international buyers are increasing Miami real estate sales, it’s important to understand just how much they are paying for their new luxury homes. Among these ultra-rich international buyers, 28% spent over $500,000, with 9% paying as much as $1 million or more. The average price per purchase comes in at just over $444,000, which is considerably more than the national average of only $245,000. Another important bit of information – 81% of these purchases were paid for in cash. These purchases have led to Florida leading the nation in international transactions, with a staggering 23% in 2014.

Why are so many foreign investors leaping to make purchases in Miami? Besides the gorgeous weather and beautiful surroundings, there are two other important reasons:

• Security of Assets – When these buyers invest their own fortunes in American properties and dollars, they protect themselves from the decreases in value that occur with the currency from their own countries.
• Luxuriousness – Another important factor for these increases is the extravagant luxuriousness of the homes that are available in South Florida. Developers understand that foreign buyers want the best of the best, and they are doing everything they can to provide it. By building residences that answer to the discerning tastes of the ultra-rich, they continue to drive massive sales.

Single-Family Homes in Miami

While the influx of foreign investors in Miami has driven the increases in luxury home prices, that has also had an effect on single-family homes as well. February numbers showed that the median price for a single-family home in Miami increased by 7.9% over the previous year, coming in at $245,000. Condos also saw an increase, with median prices jumping to $189,000, which is an 8.4% increase over the previous year. The increases in February marked 39 months of increases on single-family homes, and 44 months for condos.

While all of these increases are considerable benefits, major players in the Florida real estate market caution that it is important to remember that balance and discipline are still important to ensure that these increases continue, without causing major problems in the future.

In France, the Response to South Florida is a Resounding “Oui!”

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on June 29th, 2015

Miami condo for sale

Miami-Dade County has become a hotspot for foreign buyers from all over the world, but the France is sitting in the top spot when it comes to European countries whose citizens are taking a very close look at what South Florida real estate (see website here) has to offer.

While France has taken notice of South Florida, realtors and developers have noticed the interest as well, and they are certainly playing into it. So much so, that ONE Sotheby’s International and Century 21 both use Janet Choynowski’s website Real-Buzz.com to translate their listings into French so that potential buyers can search for homes in their native language.

French Search Patterns

Choynowski, who has researched the nationalities using her site, has also tracked their search their patterns. What she discovered about the French searchers was that they are generally males that are interested in sports. Additionally, most of them also began their searches by checking out a few properties in California. After that, the searchers ended up looking at properties in Florida. Another interesting thing about those Florida searches: there were also more page views on properties in the area, as well.

US Interest

It isn’t a secret that foreigners have an interest in the US. After all, there is plenty to offer. However, the main draw from the searches revolves around the weather and waterfront. Warm sunny climates and waterfront locations garner more interest, and of those, South Florida is the hands down winner in France and among other international potential homebuyers.

Another part of the interest is based on the types of outdoor amenities that are offered by the properties. Paramount Miami Worldcenter, which is a current project that is being brokered by OneWorld Properties, is a location that caters to those desires. This condo tower is a total of 60 stories, and it will include a number of outdoor amenities, including pools, a running area, a soccer field, and tennis courts in the ninth floor recreation deck. Additionally, the floor will also be home to 12 two-story Balinese-style villas that are situated among water features and pools. The final outdoor space attraction is the outdoor living rooms that replace the traditional balconies.

Foreign buyers have shown interest in the Worldcenter, and currently, 15% of the total reservations made since sales launched have been European natives.

Euro Value

Another major consideration for European buyers is the value of their own euro, which is decreasing. When these buyers invest in properties or second homes in areas like South Florida, they are able to preserve their fortunes, despite the lowering in value of their own currency. As the interest in South Florida continues, it is also easy to see that these investments are lucrative, as home sale prices continue to increase, as do the number of home sales that are all cash. Again, a vast majority of these are buyers that are coming from all over Europe, and this is not a trend that is showing any signs of decreasing in the coming year.

Luxury Homes Selling Big in Miami

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on April 9th, 2015

Florida real estate for sale

Over the course of 2013, 20% of the sold single family homes in Miami were priced over a million dollars, and this trend of high-priced luxury homes continued through 2014 and into 2015. The demand for luxury homes is still very strong, and there are a couple of reasons for this. For example, since the economy recovered and since the taxes and interest are still favorable for buyers, getting into a new luxury home is a good idea.

More Families Moving to Miami

One of the things that many real estate agents are seeing is an influx of buyers from other countries, such as Brazil and Mexico. While homes in the area have always been popular for people from these nations, the political and financial insecurities in those and other nations are making many with money want to come to Miami – view Miami waterfront homes for sale here.

Many real estate specialists are also seeing a difference in the types of homebuyers who are coming to buy these properties in Miami. Namely, there are many more families with children who are buying homes and moving to South Florida. Many business professionals are taking the plunge and moving to Miami as well, and they are bringing their families with them.

Many from NYC are looking into buying luxury property in Miami as well. Even though the prices for homes in Miami are getting to be higher than they’ve ever been, that’s not any sort of deterrent for those buyers, since the prices are still lower than or on par with those in New York City.

There are not only great homes, but the schools throughout many parts of the area have great reputations. Coral Gables and Key Biscayne, for example, have high quality schools.

Miami Offers More

Miami is quickly becoming a truly global city. They are growing quickly in a number of different areas, including sports and entertainment. There is a thriving culture in the city that’s appealing to many people, and is certainly one of the big draws. Additionally, architects are seeing all of the fantastic opportunities they have to bring their skills to the city and to create some truly unique and opulent homes. These world-renowned architects are creating homes that people really want, and the prices for some of the homes are reaching $3,000 per square foot.

It is currently a good market for both buyers and sellers. There are plenty of people who want to buy in the city, and those who want to sell can certainly find some motivated buyers. The demand increases and the prices will surely increase along with that demand. It’s a good idea for buyers who find a property that they like to act quickly and purchase it before it is gone.

Many areas in South Florida are doing well right now, but one of the best is Sunny Isles. It has a number of condos and towers that have a wide range of luxury homes perfect for many types of buyers. It is a great place to invest and a perfect time to invest.

Interesting Real Estate Stats for South Florida

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

South Florida real estate

Anyone who has even a slight interest in real estate knows that South Florida is one of the best places to buy and sell currently (website here. The prices for the homes on the market are getting higher, and there seems to be a never ending demand for properties in Miami. Things are really looking up in the area, and that’s great news for anyone who plans to buy or sell in the area. Some interesting new towers are going up, other properties are coming up for sale, and there’s always something new happening in the area. Let’s look at some of the interesting stats in the area.

Closer to Cuba

Even though we are a mere 90 miles from Cuba, for many years, there seemed to have been a near immeasurable distance between the two countries, even though many from Cuba make their home in Miami. However, over the past few months, things have been changing. The United States and Cuba have come closer together both economically and politically. This closeness could mean quite a few changes thanks to the eased travel restrictions. What does this mean? It could mean that the real estate development of Cuba is just around the corner. The next few years will certainly be interesting to see just what happens.

More Units in the Area

People have a thirst for more properties in South Florida. Thankfully, the developers are working hard to meet those needs at every turn. In fact, in 2015, there should be approximately 6,400 new condo units available in South Florida. Of these units, around 5,400 of them will be in Miami. Does this seem like a massively high number? While it might seem high at first, it’s right in line with the demand in the city. More and more people from around the country and around the world are looking for places to buy in Miami. They want everything that the city can offer, and they love the idea of luxury condos just steps from the beach.

Making Travel Easier

Another reason to love what’s happening in Florida right now is the fact that the state is working hard to make travel between areas easier. The All Aboard Florida plan for a passenger rail service is underway. Service doesn’t begin until late 2016, but it is interesting to see just how many more travelers this will bring to and from Orlando to Miami.

More Hotels

In addition to the travel system and the additional condos, there will be 17 new hotels just in the Miami area completed in 2015. This will provide the city with another 2,761 rooms this year alone. Even more hotels are planned for the future, ensuring that the city always has enough rooms for those who are visiting.

Miami is a very exciting area to call home now, and if you are just now thinking about getting property in the area, it’s an ideal time. You will have a wide range of options thanks to all of the choices in this growing and vibrant area.

Stars Buying and Selling in the Miami Area

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on February 23rd, 2015

Miami waterfront homes

Miami is a popular location for home buyers of all stripes, whether they are northerners who want to find a warm and fun getaway for the winter months or they are some of the biggest stars on the planet. Many of those celebs are buying and selling homes in the Miami region – View All Miami Waterfront homes for sale here.

Celebrity Real Estate Deals in South Florida

Singer Shakira who owns a home at 3140 North Bay Road is currently in the market to sell her home. Although the home does not have a current listing, brokers in the area are aware that it is actually for sale, and the current going price, according to those in the know, is $15 million.

Rumor has it that David Beckham is looking at properties in the area as well. As many people know, he wants to start a MLS team in Miami, and it’s natural that he would be looking for a place to call home for him and his family. Latest reports say that he’s been looking at a Key Biscayne home going for $13.9 million. The 755 South Mashta Drive home is on a private, gated road, and it offers 13,898 square feet of space. It’s also right along the ocean.

Oscar winning actor Matt Damon listed his home, at 6020 North Bay Road last year. The list price for the home was $19 million. It features ten bathrooms and seven bedrooms and is currently under contract.

Producer and actress Poonam Khubani recently bought two units in the new Miami Beach EDITION. The hotel offers 26 unique residences, and she’s now the proud owner of two of these luxury units. Khubani is also vice president of the company Telebrands, known for their As Seen on TV products. Her husband A.J. is the president of the company.

Why Do Celebrities Love Miami?

These latest movements in the real estate market in the Miami region highlight just a small number of the celebrities who have homes in the area and those who are looking for properties to buy. Miami has been a very popular location with celebrities for a number of years now, and there are quite a few good reasons for this. Miami is a fun place, a good place to spend a few months or an entire lifetime. Celebrities enjoy the area for most of the same reasons that everyone else loves Miami and the South Florida area.

One of the reasons they are looking to purchase in the area is that they are able to get quite a bit more for their money when compared with places like New York or Los Angeles. It’s a beautiful location and the beach is never far away. The city is home to many hot clubs and restaurants, and celebrities are finding that many of their friends and peers have homes there already. They like being around other celebrities, and they often find that they can live in a bit more anonymity than they can in other areas.

Recession Fades in the United States, Miami Real Estate Improves

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

Miami real estate for sale

Several years ago, when the United States was in the grips of the Great Recession, things were looking rather bleak for a large number of people at every economic level. People were losing jobs and finding it difficult to get more work. The financial bubble the country lived in burst and the economy, the stock market, and the real estate market fell quickly and deeply. They fell to a level that made it seem almost impossible to recover fully. It was a very frightening time for a number of people in the country. They lost homes, marriages, and their livelihood. It was the biggest financial fall the nation had suffered in many decades.

Now, years later, things are really turning around in a good way. Most of the experts agree that the United States is seeing a large surge when it comes to recovering. The Federal Reserve even certified that the economy is stable. President Obama points to a drop in the deficit as well as a massive boom in the energy output of the United States. These things are helping the country get stable footing in the world economy. More people are going to work, businesses are growing, and things are looking good for every sector of the country.

The unemployment rate in October of 2014 was 5.8%. This is the lowest it’s actually been since July of 2008. The forecast for growth in the U.S. economy is 3.1% in 2015. This is far higher than the expected growth in other countries around the world, and that should be very exciting for people in the U.S. It means that things really are turning around for the better. They even closed down the stimulus program, feeling it is no longer necessary as a means to beef up the economy.

Another area that’s been providing some relief to the wallets of people across the country is gas. The price of gas is lower than it has been in years, and saving at the pump means more savings in the bank, or more money to put back into other areas of the economy.

Miami Real Estate Market Improves

One of the areas hit the hardest was the real estate market. People could no longer afford their home, and they were losing property and going bankrupt. It was difficult to sell properties at all, and the number of homes that were on the market vastly surpassed the number of buyers. This drove the price of homes down, but even then, it was difficult for most people to even contemplate buying a property at that time. However, the improved economy means that more people today have the means and the savings to buy a nice home. It’s easier for them to get loans, and they and the banks are smarter this time around. They will not get into loans that could turn around and bite them in a couple of years. Miami real estate market is doing phenomenal, especially the luxury segment. The prices have gone up over 20% during 2014 and there is no slowdown anywhere on the horizon. It is predicted to rise even more in 2015.

Thinking of Building a Home in Miami Beach? Think Again

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on December 29th, 2014

Miami Beach homes for sale

Picture the city of Miami Beach and South Beach. Chances are good that condo properties loom large in that mental image. There’s a good reason for that. They’re immensely popular throughout Miami-Dade County. However, that doesn’t mean that single-family homes have fallen out of favor or aren’t in demand. Many would-be homeowners would prefer to have their own home designed and built on their own land, rather than buy into a condo property. The problem is that few people can actually manage that. Why is this the case?

Little Land

One of the problems here is that the Miami Beach area is highly developed. That means in order for something new to be built, something else usually has to be torn down. In the absence of empty lots and buildings that need demolishing, would-be homeowners are finding it harder and harder to locate a parcel of land that suits their needs. (View All Miami Beach Homes For Sale Here)

There’s also the zoning problem – what little available land there is may not be zoned for residential use. Most of it has already been zoned for commercial use (including the building of condos). Why? There are two primary reasons. First, the demand is there. Second, the area makes more in tax revenue from land that’s been zoned commercial rather than residential.

Homebuilders

While the impact of the land conundrum has been felt by homebuyers, it’s homebuilders that have been hardest hit. The Atlantic Ocean bounds builders on the east, and the Urban Development Boundary prevents expansion to the west. Builders have nowhere to go, and that means smaller builders have actually gone out of business. Very few builders remain operating in the area that aren’t big businesses. Even large construction companies are finding the going tough, though.

Down the Road

Currently, the Miami-Dade area has a three-month supply of existing homes on the market, but the problem comes from the lack of replacement lots. Once those vacant homes are sold, there are fewer and fewer empty lots available to build on to replace them. Lot shortages have already had an impact on the industry, and that effect will only become stronger in the coming months. Experts predict that things will get worse before they get better.

One way that builders are coping with the shortages is to change their development and building habits. In the past, massive, sweeping neighborhoods were constructed. Those are largely gone now, though. Builders are instead focusing on the smaller 20-acre lots, or even 10-acre lots, and developing them as best they can.

The Condo Market

In direct contrast to the single-family home construction segment, condo construction is thriving. Sunny Isles Beach alone had 15 multimillion dollar developments (View all preconstruction projects in Sunny Isles Beach) in the last 10 years, and the greater Miami area has seen countless more. Condos are viable because they require a much smaller initial footprint, and can be home to hundreds, even thousands of families. A single 20-acre site might accommodate 900 units.

It remains to be seen just how long it will take the single-family housing industry to recover, but in the meantime, the condo industry continues to thrive.