What Did the Miami Real Estate Survey Show?

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on August 5th, 2016

Miami Beach real estate

Bendixen & Amandi International along with the Miami Herald conducted a survey of 100 real estate professionals in the Miami area to learned quite a bit about the real estate market in Miami-Dade and the outlook the professionals have for the city. The results are quite telling, and they are quite promising. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most important information gleaned from the survey.

What Miami Neighborhood Is the Hottest?

This was naturally one of the most important questions for many who looked at the results of the survey, and the answer wasn’t really much of a surprise. Far and away, Miami Beach was the hottest area of the city, and also the most overvalued. Consider the sheer number of different neighborhoods in the Miami Beach area. There are islands, single family homes and estates, brand new and preconstruction towers – (View list of pre-construction properties in Miami), and older remodeled towers. All of these areas in Miami Beach are popular and the homes in those locations tend to sell out quickly.

They agree that those who are retiring, as well as the empty nest couples, might want to move to Miami Beach. This is especially true if you are looking for a condominium.

Little Havana Could Surprise You

Another one of the things learned from the survey is the fact that Little Havana is undervalued. However, this could change soon. The community is close to the hottest urban areas, as well as public transportation and plenty of things to do for residents. Many of the real estate professionals feel it is ripe for gentrification, and it could be where developments and real estate pros start to push next.

More Lessons Learned from the Survey

In addition, the survey has helped to shine a light on some other important facts about the area’s real estate market. For starters, the inventory is higher than it has been, and many of the real estate pros consider the current market to have a “high inventory”. What does this mean? It means that right now is actually a good time to buy, but it is not a great time to sell.

Even though the inventory is high, the majority of the available properties are higher than the $200,000 range. They feel that it would be nice if there were some more homes that were in this range and lower, as it means more people could buy. Right now, the trend is toward renting rather than buying for many who simply don’t have the budget.

Coral Gables is doing quite well, which is to be expected for one of the top communities in Miami Beach. Those who are looking for single-family homes in the Miami Beach area will certainly want to check out what Coral Gables has to offer.

These are some of the most important pieces of information from the report. It’s an interesting survey that can help not only real estate agents who are working in the area, but those who want to buy as well.

Super Rich? Miami Is the 12th Top City for You

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on May 31st, 2016

1000 Museum Miami Zaha Hadid

For those of us who live in or around Miami, it comes as no surprise that there is a lot of money here. Sure, there’s been a bit of a slowdown recently to our famous condo market, but that hasn’t done much to stop the ultra-wealthy from making Miami their home (or at least one of them). According to Knight Frank, though, our beautiful city is actually the 12th best place for the super rich to live.

Dropping Out of the Top 10

Knight Frank made these comments to the Real Deal last month. Although it’s definitely good news—wealthy people bring lots of money—there’s a bit of bad mixed in with it too.

As it turns out, Miami was actually ranked number six last year. This year, we fell out of the top 10 by a fair amount. Still, it’s not like we’re not in good company. Tokyo is right ahead of us. Furthermore, 12th place makes us second place for cities in the United States. New York City took the cake there.

Still, are you curious what caused us to slip?

A Dent in Foreign Currencies

Unfortunately, it’s mostly out of our control. Frank claims that weakening Latin American currencies are actually to blame.

On top of that, it doesn’t help that the U.S. dollar has been getting stronger. While it’s definitely good for the economy as a whole, a lot of foreign currencies simply don’t have the buying power they once did, meaning investors from other countries will look for other opportunities.

Frank even said that he regarded this drop in the rankings as nothing more than a “blip.”

For his part, he recommended keeping an eye on Coconut Grove and Miami Beach as the top neighborhoods in Miami for future investment opportunities.

The Top 10

As we mentioned above, we lost to Tokyo, which came in at number 11. The rest of the top 10 looks like this:

1. London
2. New York City
3. Singapore
4. Hong Kong
5. Dubai
6. Shanghai
7. Paris
8. Sydney
9. Beijing
10. Geneva

Making the List in 2017

Hopefully, Frank is right and Miami bounces back next year. Again, wealthy people represent money and opportunity for the rest of us.

That being said, there’s some reason to remain cautious with your optimism. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network began requiring that title insurance companies essentially verify the identity of anyone who wishes to purchase property in Miami.

Why is this a big deal? Well, there are suspicions that much of the money that helped the condo market explode in the last few years is coming from foreign shell companies that operate as illegal tax havens.

While it’s good to ensure these investors aren’t breaking the law, cutting them off could hurt Miami’s economy.

At the end of the day, Miami is still an amazing place to live and people are going to continue trying to find a home in Miami to enjoy this incredible city. Still, here’s hoping our economy picks up again and we start making some progress on that list for next year.

Bay Harbor Islands Going Under Massive Redevelopment

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on May 24th, 2016

Miami real estate for sale

Bay Harbor Islands – (view website) sits between North Miami to the west and Bal Harbor and Surfside to the east and was once the best place you could visit to see mid-century Miami Modern style architecture—often called MiMo—in the entire country. Recently, though, it’s become clear change is coming.

Some of Miami’s Best Architects

In many ways, Bay Harbor Islands can be seen as a gallery for many of Miami’s best architects. Head to Bay Harbor’s East Island and you’ll find a number of low-slung apartments and condos that were designed by legends like:

• Henry Hohauser
• Morris Lapidus
• Charles McKirahan

They took the art deco style that was so widespread in Miami during the 1930s and pulled it into the MiMo designs that cropped up during the middle of the 20th century.

The famous Bay Harbor Continental, a co-op building in a curvy wedge shape that is anchored by a cylindrical outdoor staircase, was created by McKirahan in 1948. It also features multi-colored glass that dots certain portions of the exterior.

McKirahan is also to thank for the Bay Harbor Club, the two-story V-shaped building located right on the water with great beanpole columns going from the ground all the way to the ceiling. Fans of the TV series Dexter would most likely recognize it as the main character’s home.

Times Are Changing

Although much of this history is worth maintaining, there’s a reason the National Trust for Historic Preservation named East Island to their annual list of their “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” back in 2014.

Many examples of MiMo architecture have already been demolished, though plenty more are awaiting their date with the wrecking ball.

What will this secluded portion of Miami become in its next life?

If current trends are anything to go by, it’s going to transition into boutique living. The area is truly a hidden gem. It offers a great location to anyone who wants to get around the city or hit downtown. Of course, if you want to visit the beach, you’re almost always within walking distance. This means plenty of waterfront views too.

Furthermore, the area benefits from an excellent school district. There are also Bal Harbour Shops nearby to enjoy too.

Its greatest feature, though, may simply be a sense of community. Whereas other areas throughout the city are expansive, Bay Harbor Island’s odd positioning gives it a small town feeling, despite all the big city amenities that are within driving distance.

Although most people who can afford these new developments will definitely have enough money for an automobile, public transportation in Bay Harbor Islands is very accommodating.

There is a free shuttle that runs between 9am and 5pm, Monday through Friday. It makes stops in North Miami, Surfside and other popular locations. There are also public bus routes people can jump on too.

While Bay Harbor Islands definitely had a good run, it’s clear that the time for change has arrived. Hopefully, much of the amazing architecture the area is known for will remain and new examples of Miami’s top talent can find a home as well.

Check out homes for sale in Bay Harbour Islands HERE – www.sunnyislesmiamirealestate.com/Bal-Harbour/Bay-Harbor-Island/ and call our office to set up showing – (305) 336-0457.

Was the WSJ Right in Predicting a Condo Bust in Miami?

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on May 15th, 2016

Miami real estate for sale

Back in March, Anthony M. Graziano, MAI, CRE was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. As he is the Senior Managing Director of IRR Miami, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the article was about real estate in South Florida. However, what surprised many was the headline that accompanied the actual piece: “Another Condo Bust Looms in Miami.”

Graziano Responds

Well, as it turns out, no one was more surprised by the headline than Mr. Graziano himself. In his own OpEd, Graziano responded, saying he was “shocked” at how “sensationalized” the headline was.

Until the reporter issues a reply, we’ll never know exactly what they were thinking. As Graziano points out in his OpEd, this definitely isn’t the first time there’s been some kind of disconnect between what a source said or meant and what the reporter put into their piece. Still, in this case, it would seem the latter wildly missed the mark.

It’s also worth noting here that reporters don’t always choose their own headlines, so an editor could actually be the one to blame.

So What’s the Truth?

As any realtor in Miami will tell you, the condo market has definitely slowed considerably. In fact, many projects have been shelved and stopped at various points in their development.
That’s hardly the same thing as predicting a bust in the condo market, though. If you look at the past 12 to 18 months of the market here, you’ll definitely see it slowing down, but there aren’t any sudden drops or any signs that one is just about to happen.

Plenty of Good News

Keep in mind, too, that this slowdown may actually be a good example of developers and investors reacting to the market instead of recklessly pressing forward. That’s how an actual bust could happen.

Instead, shelving certain projects may have had the intended effect of correcting the market’s over-enthusiasm for more condos.

Consider, for example, that 85% of condos currently under construction in the Greater Downtown area of Miami are slated to be finished in 2016 and are already sold.

Furthermore, 7,200 units that are under construction will be delivered over the course of the next three years. In 2006, before an actual bust really did occur, that number was 18,500. Click HERE to view Pre-construction condos in Miami

Over 80% of the condo sales that went through over the past three years were purchased entirely with cash. This speaks to the foreign interest that exists in buying condos here. However, this also means that there won’t be any foreclosures resulting in empty condos long after they’ve been taken off the market.

For his part, Graziano doesn’t see a bust waiting on the horizon. He did, however, advise people to exercise caution and carry out due diligence where new deals are concerned. This is good advice to take no matter what the market is doing.

Until more buyers enter the market, you can probably expect the slowdown to continue throughout Miami, but that’s hardly the same thing as ushering in the crash of an entire industry.

Home Prices in Miami-Dade Grow Yet Again

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

Miami homes for sale

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.

LeBron James’ Mansion Sells for $13.4 Million

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

Miami sold home James le Bron

LeBron James may not be too happy with the sale of his home as it was under $1.6 million from the last ask. The owners of Mayfair in the Grove, Timo and Nathalia Kipp, purchased the home to use as their new primary residence. They closed in August, 2015. They have purchased the property for $13.4 million.

LeBron James, the NBA superstar, originally placed the house on the market asking $17 million for it. This was in October 2014 and after one year of no real interest, James lowered the price. The Kipps had been eyeing the 12,178 square foot property for a while, but thought the price was too high.

The $13.4 Million Home

The property located at 3590 Crystal View Court in Coconut Grove boasts a 4,500 square foot guest area with a lounge and game room, an infinity pool, an outdoor kitchen, private theater, office, and wine cellar, according to The Real Deal. Most impressive is the addition of a concrete dock with space for two 60-foot yachts.

The home has 6 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms and private master rooftop sun deck. Glass doors open to covered terraces. The private estate offered state-of-the-art security and security quarters, according to Realtor.com. The home was built in 2010 and includes a three-car garage. The guesthouse features one bath, one bedroom, and a living room. Interior features from the main house include an elevator, walk-in closets, pantry, and a bar, not to mention the beautiful view of the bay.

James leBron sold his mansion in Coconut Grove; however, he is enjoying an even larger one built in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. This new home boasts 6 bedrooms, 8 full baths, and 6 half baths. The kitchen offers stainless steel appliances and wood paneling, pulled together by a circular island and bar stools.

Forbes describes James’ new home as “basically a castle plopped in the middle of Ohio.” This “castle” also houses a basketball court and small garden maze on its seven acres. The property is expansive.

James also built a “man cave” into his home considered larger than some actual sports bars. Forbes reports that at Thanksgiving last year, James invited his entire NBA team to hang out with him in this room. It is decorated in warm and vibrant hues of oranges and reds and features a pool table and bar.

Even the master bathroom in James’ new home speaks volumes in regards to luxury. Similar to the bathrooms at 3590 Crystal View Court in Coconut Grove, the tub is extra deep and decadent.
No matter which home LeBron James decided to live in, his choice is high-quality. This high-quality in real estate must be what caught the eye of Timo and Nathalia Kipp. Now that they are the new owners of the home in Coconut Grove, the question will be what new additions this couple will make to this already expansive property.

Miami Home Sales Break Records over the Summer

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

Miami homes for sale

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

Miami Beach property for sale

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.

Home Prices Rise and Foreclosures Drop

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on October 19th, 2015

Miami real estate for sale

Miami has been doing very well in the world of real estate over the past several years. When the market started to recover, the prices in Miami – a very popular home buying destination – rose very quickly. People wanted to snatch up properties as quickly as they could, knowing that the market was gaining strength and that they were making a great investment. Today, the prices in Miami are still on an upward trend, albeit a bit slower than it has been in over the course of the past few years.

The Price Increase Slows Slightly

In the metropolitan area of Miami, there was an overall 8% increase in prices over the past year. However, it is important to note that there was only a 0.8% growth between April and May. Still, this continues a good trend, despite some slight dips in the market in recent months. In fact, it’s actually normal. Think about the growth that the area saw over the past three years. Since the end of the downturn, the increase in prices, not to mention interest in the area, has been phenomenal, as usually happens during a market turnaround. For three years, the prices rose steadily, and now they are hitting the point where they will stabilize, and that’s certainly not a bad thing for buyers who are interested in the area.

The interest in Miami is not slowing at all, and new buildings are still being constructed, not to mention there are still a number of units readily available. The fact that the prices are stabilizing could actually mean even better news for the developers as well as area owners who are trying to sell. They should be able to find more potential homebuyers who are able to afford the properties.

Foreclosures Drop in Miami

There is some more good news coming out of Miami as well. A report from CorelLogic shows that the rate of foreclosure in Miami and other areas of Dade County are down again. This year, the number of foreclosures in the area represented only 3.68 percent of the foreclosures across the entire country. Last year at the same time, the rate of foreclosure was over 6.5%. In fact, over other parts of Florida the number of foreclosures is down as well, by around 2.43%. Even the number of delinquent accounts is down. In fact, it is down by around 4.11%. (See all Miami foreclosure condos for sale)

Why are the rates going down? It’s likely several factors coming into play. First, there are more stringent requirements when buying a property today than there were several years ago when foreclosures were unfortunately common. This means that the people who are getting into the homes today are actually able to afford the properties, reducing the risk of foreclosure. In addition, the overall economy is better than it was a few years ago, which means people are making more money and are far less likely to become delinquent on their mortgage. (See all Miami foreclosure homes for sale)

The stronger market and the stabilizing prices continue to be great news for Florida real estate, particularly in the Miami area.

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.