South Florida Condo Sales Take Turn for the Better

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor According to a 2010 U.S. Census report concerning population growth and how it influenced the housing market over the past decade, South Florida’s population has shown only modest growth during the past year, leaving behind a [...]

According to a 2010 U.S. Census report concerning population growth and how it influenced the housing market over the past decade, South Florida’s population has shown only modest growth during the past year, leaving behind a trail of nearly a quarter million empty homes. These latest figures stand in stark contrast to the beginning of the past decade which was defined by South Florida’s notable housing boom.

The slower rate of population growth greatly impacted the housing market which grew by more than 200,000 housing units from 2000 to 2010. Many were condos that were built or bought by speculators.

The condo boom resulted in a complete renovation of the downtown Miami skyline, with more than 23,000 units built between 2000 and 2010. However, the area has struggled to emerge from the adverse effects of the economic downturn and is suffering the effects of the slow population growth. But, Miami’s luck could be changing. At the beginning of 2011 sales figures reveal a renewed interest in condos.

In January alone, Miami-Dade reported 1, 262 sales of previously owned condos, up 134 percent from the year before. Miami’s Mint at Riverfront, Marquis Residences and Icon Brickell-some of the top new condo buildings-are currently posting more than a couple dozen monthly sales on average, according to Condo-Vultures consultancy. Mint alone has posted more than 100 sales—all from the last three months—many of which involved pre-construction contract holders. The average price, according to county recorders, was about $326 per square foot.

In commercial real estate news, the Las Olas City Centre has started attracting buyers. The 23-story tower, former home to the Rothstein law firm was put on the market after the law-firm’s 2009 bankruptcy.

Although the tenant was soon to be replaced by Guarantee Insurance and the building is currently 90 percent occupied, the majority owner, Shorenstein Properties, has decided to sell the 408, 079-sq.ft. building; Holliday Fenoglio Fowler will be in charge of the sale.

It is expected to play a big part in the awakening of the South Florida commercial real estate market, alongside other major assets such as the Miami Tower and the CityPlace Office Tower.