Conventional real estate wisdom used to go something like this: Just after Thanksgiving, buyers, investors and renters, including New York snowbirds, would flock to Miami. By summer, the city would become uncharacteristically quiet, not to pick up again until late the following November. Well, those days are long gone! Over the past few years, and particularly since 2011, Miami, which has the second largest Jewish population outside of New York, has become known as a vibrant year-round destination and one of the world’s most sought-after cities to live, work and play in.
One major factor for this shift is the overall stability of Miami’s real estate market, which continues to show an increase in non-distressed sales and a decrease in inventory. In fact, as of September 2012, there were only 6,873 condominiums available for sale and 1,022 selling for a million dollars or more. Inventory was even tighter in the single family category, with 4,570 homes on the market and less than a thousand901 to be precisebeing sold for a million-plus. Overall, there was a 28.2% decrease in listings over the same time period in 2011.
Distressed sales are on the decline and homes that are on the market are moving fast. Listings remained active for an average of 68 days, which is the second fastest rate in more than six years. Prices also rose, according to the survey. The median sales price spiked 20.9% over the same quarter a year earlier and the average sales price and price per square foot followed that same pattern, jumping 17.7% and 14.2% respectively. Cash was king, accounting for 76.3% of all condominium purchases.
Another factor in Miami’s momentum was increased consumer confidence which hit a five-year peakthe highest it’s been since the 2007-2009 recession. This was due in large part to a more optimistic outlook on the nation’s economic health.
However, numbers are only one part of the story. Yes, inventory is down, sales prices are spiking and consumer confidence is building, but what else is driving the movement in the Miami real estate market? Competitively-priced luxury real estate and the devaluation of the dollar have led to an infusion of interest from opportunity-minded buyers from France, Brazil, Argentina, Russia and beyond. There is also the “fright capital” phenomenon, the new coin phrase which refers to Europeans and South Americans many of them cash buyerswho are concerned about their own economy and decide to invest in luxury properties in the US to keep their money safe.
Whether they hail from Western or Eastern Europe, or from South America, these foreign buyers view Miami as their “US home base” for business and finance and the perfect place for a first, second or even third home. South Americans have made the traditional off season in the Sunshine state a busy time of year. For instance, Brazilians who are accustomed to the heat of Rio have no qualms about heading to Miami in July or August, formerly a slow time in Miaminot anymore!
US-based buyers are seeing real deals to be made in Miami real estate and are snapping up properties, both as investments and for their own housing needs. New Yorkers are among those domestic buyers. It helps that there are incredibly affordable and plentiful flights between the two cities. Plus, the trip from New York to Miami is not much longer than a jaunt between Manhattan and the Hamptons.
Those spacious Miami homes, with their multiple bedrooms and airy dining rooms, also happen to be ideal for hosting high holy holidays and family celebrations.
Aventura, Miami Beach, Bal Harbour and Sunny Isles are neighborhoods that are in high demand, each for reasons as unique as the area itself. Aventura remains a desirable, family-oriented location where prices are still within reach, bigger homes are up for grabs, shopping is convenient and synagogues are within walking distance. Miami Beach is perfect for those who crave community. There are locals who were born and raised there and it combines the charm of streets such as Lincoln Road and the incomparable energy of South of Fifth, known as Miami’s own Riviera. Bal Harbour got a boost from the success of the eagerly anticipated St. Regis condo-hotel and will continue to be a draw in the years to come. As for Sunny Isles, it’s an ideal beach location in-between Aventura and Miami Beach with an appealing in-between price point. Bullish buyers eager to get in on the action are once again considering pre-construction, so we’re starting to see a number of new developments rising in each of these neighborhoods, and throughout Miami, to answer the need.
Adding to Miami’s year-round appeal is the city’s strong sense of culture and community. Among its attractions are: Biscayne Bay’s impressive new Prez Art Museum Miami, slated to open in Fall 2013; the Adrienne Arsht Center for performing arts in Downtown; and, each December, Art Basel Miami Beach, the elite art show that has become a cultural and social phenomenon. Miami is also host to a number of other noteworthy events that keep US residents, overseas buyers and tourists coming back for more.
World class retail stores, including the new 10,000 square foot Louis Vuitton boutique in the Design District illustrate the shift in consciousness as retailers realize that Miami has a 12 month a year following.
Miami, now more than ever, is becoming one of the hottest destinations in the world and, per The Wall Street Journal, a “new global city.” Miami is attracting many who are not just visiting, but are putting down roots within the community. Along with its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife, the city now has world-class cultural offerings, excellent kosher restaurants and exceptional shopping choicesbasically, this beautiful city has something for everyone, whether that person is single, married or retired. The state of Miami? In one wordexcellent!
Jacky Teplitzky is an associate broker at Douglas Elliman in Florida and a managing director at Prudential Douglas Elliman in New York. She is also the leader of the Jacky Teplitzky team, which has sold *one billion dollars* worth of Manhattan and South Florida properties and has handled multiple transactions at several of Miami’s top luxury developments. Born in Chile and raised in Israel, where she served as a sergeant in the Israeli army, Teplitzky is fluent in English, Spanish and Hebrew