Don’t look now, but Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy F. Cooper has designs on making her city another Miami Beach. There’s a bit of exaggeration in that statement, of course, but not much.
For starters, in the 10 years since she took office, the median age in Hallandale Beach city has declined from 70-plus to the mid-40s. That’s certainly a good sign for future growth.
Another shift in the sands has taken place — one far from the mayor’s region but with a very real local impact. International currencies aren’t stretching as far. Consider that in less than a decade, the Argentine and Venezuelan currencies have lost about half their values compared to the U.S. dollar. The Brazilian real has dropped, too.
This makes it more difficult for some foreign investors to spend in perenially popular Miami-Dade County, particularly when market prices are compared. The average price per square foot for a condo unit with an asking price of at least $1 million is almost twice as high in Miami-Dade ($1,187) than Broward ($661), according to the Southeast Florida MLXchange. As a result, some buyers are starting to look northward.
Another issue is new Treasury Department restrictions on all-cash condo purchases. Aimed at illegal money laundering operations, the rules currently apply in Florida only to Miami-Dade County and not Broward or Palm Beach counties. Plenty of legitimate investors are looking to move excess cash into real estate and, while they could withstand the scrutiny applied under the new rules, they simply do not want to deal with the hassles or delays.
As a result, while developers and foreign investors remain watchful of luxury residential properties in Miami-Dade County, they’re also willing to look at other, less expensive destinations — to Broward County, where residential, hotel and retail development has taken off. Especially condos.
None of this means Miami is likely to be left behind. After all, Hallandale Beach or even Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale don’t roll off the tongue as easily as Miami. It’s more of a case of a second investment opportunity in South Florida, and the translation in any language is “construction boom.”
The current South Florida construction cycle began in 2011. Since that time, developers have announced 95 new condo buildings with about 9,030 units in Broward, according to CraneSpotters.com, a popular preconstruction condo projects website. Nearly another dozen condo projects are in the planning and presale phase of development. That total pales to the 260 or so new condo buildings in Miami-Dade, but Broward stands as a stout No. 2 for such in South Florida. For comparison, there are 62 new buildings (approximately 4,300 units) nearing reality in Palm Beach County.
In Hallandale Beach, Mayor Cooper has called the events “very exciting” and a “total gentrification of our community.”
South Florida real estate veteran Jean Louis Delbeke describes them as a matter of circumstances. In Miami Beach, where he spends most of his time as a broker working with One Sotheby’s International, Delbeke says preconstruction activity is virtually nonexistent, so there isn’t much new inventory. In addition, “savvy buyers are holding out,” as the international real estate markets twists and turns.
According to the Miami Association of Realtors, the top countries of origin for consumers buying real estate in Broward County:
- Canada and Venezuela
- India and Russia
“The South Florida [market] cycle depends more on what’s happening in the world than in the country,” he says. “When I read the real estate reviews on the country, I see that everything is doing well: Inventory is good, it’s selling and prices are going up. But Miami is different. … Miami is following more of an international cycle. I don’t know what that cycle is yet.”
In truth, no one has a firm grasp of that crystal ball, and the market could turn south — figuratively — at any moment this year. As the most recent downturn suggests, nothing is a sure thing.
Glitz and Glamour
In the meantime, projects such as the Beachwalk in Hallandale Beach continue to emerge. The 32-story condominium/hotel tower opened last year on the Intracoastal Waterway with 300 residential units. The amenities deck on the 32nd floor includes private cabanas and an infinity-edge pool overlooking the ocean.
Similarly, the Hyde Resort and Residences, located on the border of Hallandale and Hollywood, is scheduled to open later this year, while the adjacent Hyde Beach House has been announced for development across the street. Also, in Fort Lauderdale, the 171-unit Auberge Beach Residences and Spa continues construction. All were developed by the Related Group, based in Miami.
Another example is the Oceanbleau tower in Hollywood, scheduled to open in early 2017 with 48 units starting at $1.6 million. The units include outdoor living spaces of more than 1,100 square feet, featuring both ocean and Intracoastal views combined; floor-to-ceiling glass throughout; 10-foot ceiling heights (penthouses with 12-foot ceiling heights); private elevators; and custom European kitchens with chef peninsulas. Each master suite features sleeping and lounging areas, and European-design marble master bathrooms feature separate spa tub and shower.
Michael Neumann, partner at BH3 Realty, the brokerage handling sales, says the Oceanbleau is “by far the most exciting project in South Florida.”
“Having sold multiple projects in Aventura and Hollywood throughout my career, and being a resident of Hollywood myself, this development is noticeably unique,” Neumann comments. “It’s in a prime location and offers unparalleled views, expansive floor plans and incredible value.”
Sounds a lot like Miami Beach, huh?
Photo Credit: Top image by Beachwalk Resort.