Foreign nationals whose slashed currencies barely stand against the dollar find more bang for their buck in Broward County, which is stepping out of Miami’s shadow.
He moderated a panel last Thursday in Dania Beach for a real estate event sponsored by The Real Deal.
“They’re coming here in swarms,” said Peter Zalewski, founder of Cranespotters.com, an online portal that tracks South Florida’s new condominium construction market.
Patrick Campbell, vice president at the Related Group, categorized Broward as a local market compared to Miami‘s transient population. Up to 90 percent of sales at the development company’s Auberge Beach Residences in Fort Lauderdale have been local.
“When we first launched Auberge a year and a half ago, we really didn’t know what to expect,” Campbell said. But he soon found out “there’s pent-up demand for luxury” in Broward.
Zalewski said 10 new buildings east of Interstate 95 have been completed this cycle, delivering 450 units. Another 2,000 units are under construction, and 14 additional towers holding 1,400 units are planned. But the bulk of the market — 59 percent of new construction activity — is still in the proposal stage. Another 32 residential projects are seeking approval.
“That means we’re in the early stages in this particular market,” Zalewski said.
Resale inventory is selling at an average of $236 per square foot in Broward compared to $380 in Miami. Asking prices in Miami hit as high as $575 per square foot compared to Broward‘s $328.
Related is also developing the 272-unit Icon Las Olas on Las Olas Blvd. When asked whether it’ll be labeled a condo or rental project, Campbell said the market will dictate that decision.
Harvey Hernandez, president and CEO of Newgard Development Group, described the Broward market as “seasonal” and full “of real buyers” who pay more attention to the product, location and purchase terms. Newgard is developing a 129-unit, 12-story tower at 401 Bayshore Drive near Fort Lauderdale beach. The Gale Boutique Hotel & Residences will provide a la carte hotel services for unit owners.
“As these gentlemen come in and build these beautiful projects for empty-nesters, I service the millennials that left them,” said Jaime Sturgis, a sales director with Metro 1 based in Fort Lauderdale.
The commercial broker is focusing on emerging neighborhoods like Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village, where All Aboard Florida will have a station. More than 40 projects have been proposed or are under construction in the urban area, Sturgis said, likening the up-and-coming neighborhood to Miami’s Wynwood.
Broward County Mayor Marty Kiar boasted about the region’s healthy unemployment rate, which beats the national average at 4.4 percent. He said Broward‘s real estate industry has tourism to thank — 15.4 million people visited last year.
“Forget about Miami,” Kiar said, telling the crowd to fly into Fort Lauderdale’s airport instead. “Come to Broward.”
On a more serious note, the mayor pointed to the importance of maintaining the county’s beaches, which fuels a large chunk of the region’s economic engine. The county is working on its first major beach renourishment project in over a decade, which will begin dumping loads of sand along its coastline this year.