Florida's New Condo Boom|TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

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Has a new Florida condo boom started? That might be the case in South Florida where the inventory of condominiums is at its lowest levels in years, and prices are way up.

TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The entire state of Florida is showing big increases in sales and prices with double-digit increases in most of the state.

Florida's New Condo Boom

Has a new Florida condo boom started? That might be the case in South Florida where the inventory of condominiums is at its lowest levels in years, and prices are way up. The median price of a condominium in the Miami (Dade County) area increased 24.1 percent from January, 2012 to January, 2013. Condo prices in the Fort Lauderdale (Broward County) area jumped 26.5 percent for the same period. Local real estate agents report that some listings are generating dozens of offers and bidding wars. According to the Miami Herald, the housing market in much of South Florida is almost back to the peak boom years of 2005 and 2006.

The entire state of Florida is showing big increases in sales and prices with double-digit increases in most of the state. According to ZipRealty, a national real estate data service, the largest increases in U.S. home prices from the third quarter of 2011 to 2012 were in Phoenix, Arizona; Miami and Palm Beach, Florida. Home prices across the entire state are up 11 percent.

TopTenRealEstateDeals.com is a Florida based website that has been tracking the Sunshine State condo market since the market began to collapse in 2007. According to Robert Walsh, the website's project manager, "The inventory of boom era condo bargains in South Florida is virtually gone and rapidly disappearing in much of the rest of the state. Ocean view units that condo developers slashed up to 60 percent in 2009 and 2010 are now frequently back to their original prices, and sometimes even higher."

The Sonata is a 64-unit condo building on the Atlantic Ocean in Pompano Beach that originally sold out in pre-construction in 2005. However by the time the project was finished in 2008, most of the early buyers had walked away. Original prices of $1 million and higher were slashed by 50 percent to attract buyers. Although it took a few years, the Sonata finally sold out in 2012, but at drastically reduced price levels in the $500,000 - $650,000 range. Two of these Sonata condos recently went back on the market as resales and sold in just a few days for $1 million and $1.2 million.

Even the ultra expensive condominium projects are doing well. Ocean House, in the ritzy Miami Beach South of Fifth neighborhood, went to foreclosure in 2009, but re-launched sales last year with an average price of $5.3 million per unit. Over 80 percent of the units have already sold. Apogee Beach, in Hollywood, Florida, is one of the very few new developments to be built since the crash. It started construction in 2012 with 49 units priced in the $1 to $2 million range and is already sold out.

International buyers are driving much of the recent demand. Some new developments are spending most of their ad money outside the United States. Barefoot Beach Villas, also in Pompano Beach, were advertised almost exclusively in the Canadian market, where home prices stayed strong throughout the U. S. crash. It also sold out in just a few months – mostly to Canadian buyers. Several Miami area projects have sold out before construction even started, mainly as a result of South American promotions and buyers.

According to Walsh, there are still a few condo bust projects in Florida with good inventory, and developers or banks that are anxious to liquidate their remaining inventory and move on. Similar to the Sonata, these are mostly buildings that were completed in 2007 to 2009 just as the market was collapsing. The remaining condo bargains are mostly in Florida's Central, West Coast and Panhandle areas, priced at discounts up to 60 percent from when the developments were initially launched.

While there are several new condo projects underway in the Miami area, Walsh says that nervous builders in most of the state are afraid to jump back in the water with vivid memories of developer and contractor bankruptcies just a few years ago. Most new construction will not be completed for at least a few years when prices will likely be much higher as more baby boomers move into retirement, wealthy South Americans look for a safe haven for their money, and Canadians and Europeans gobble up the cheaper U.S. real estate.

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