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What the Experts are Saying

The real estate market in South Florida continues to boom, despite a tough economy. While other regions have seen declines, the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area is still going strong. It not only has maintained its powerful appeal to buyers worldwide but has also seen significant appreciation in value over the years. A consortium of South Florida real estate experts was recently held in Miami. Below are some of the comments that emerged during that seminar on the status of South Florida real estate:

Steve Zeitz of Zeitz Properties, Inc. “Perennial talk of a glut has failed to materialize after years of record building, mainly because the development of luxury units as compared to the overall condo market appears to still fall short of demand. There is also a wide array of choices, which developers say adds further attraction to Miami’s high-end market. Potential buyers can choose from properties in Miami Beach, Coconut Grove, Coral Cables, Key Biscayne or on Brickell Avenue.”

“The U.S. economic slowdown is not affecting the Miami real estate market. Money leaving the stock market has to go somewhere. Miami’s economy doesn’t depend on anybody to prosper. The biggest challenge, as always, is in developing the right product for the area.”

“Another factor driving the popularity of South Florida’s super-luxury condo market is value. $2 million will fetch much larger units in Miami than in cities such as New York or Boston.”

Marvin B. Rosenblatt, Realtor “Faced with a depressed stock market and historically low rates on CDs, money-market funds and other income-producing securities, investors of all types have flocked to Florida real estate, pushing up sales prices.”

“Florida’s residential sector has weathered the post-Sept. 11 storm surprisingly well. Low mortgage rates, a dearth of appealing investment alternatives and a continued inflow of funds and people from Latin American and the Caribbean have all contributed to a healthy residential market.”

“International buyers are also active in the luxury market, buying waterfront condominiums and single-family homes in South Florida. Many Latins, in particular, are transferring at least some of their investment funds to Florida. There is a potential for overbuilding the luxury condo market, but that hasn’t occurred yet. One reason is that the availability of land to build waterfront condos has decreased markedly in the past 10 years, and that tends to hold down the supply.”

“South Florida is considered one of the nation’s hot housing constructions markets, according to the Harvard University Center for Joint Housing Studies.”

Leslie Evans of Leslie Robert Evans & Associates, attorney Evans tracks trends in the real estate industry. His figures show that an average condo bought in Palm Beach County in January 1, 2000, for, say, $2 million and sold 2.53 years later would have increased in value by $527,200. That compares with a loss for the same period of time of $489,200 in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a loss of $1,324,800 in the Nasdaq.

Mark Pordes of Turnberry & Associates: “In the Sunny Isles area, there has been a big influx of Germans. We’re also seeing a huge amount of money from Russia. They are coming in as users. I would say that 20 percent are coming to live and 80 percent are coming for vacation. Between the German market and the Russian market, there’s been a major European influx in that area.