Miami condo price reductions in sales just 1.1% from list

Miami has seen a recent boom in not only condominium construction and sales but also resales.

While many buildings are stillin the pre-construction or construction stages, there is always a demand forunits in existing buildings, observers say. Of the 50 most expensive, pricesrange from $13.9 million for a 6,120-square-foot unit on Fisher Island to $55million for a penthouse at Faena at 3315 Collins Ave. on Miami Beach. Thefive-bedroom, five-bath unit features 8,273 square feet of living space.

Though sellers of single-familyhomes priced at more than $1.5 million have had to drop their prices an averageof 3.8%, condo prices were reduced by only 1.1%, according to the MultipleListing Service.

“The top of the market isstable,” said Alicia Cervera, managing partner and principal of Cervera RealEstate. “It’s not a raging market – which everybody prefers – but it’s not infreefall, either.”

There’s no shortage of buyers,but different factors motivate them to buy, she said. “The reality is, you’reselling to a very small pond, maybe 5% of the population. People at this levelhave the cash; it just depends on when they want to pull the trigger.”

Cervera Real Estate advertisesboth locally and in targeted luxury publications. “The big shift is that youdon’t market geographically, but to other demographic factors: where they go,what luxury items they consume. What appeals to them? Is it the boat show, isit Art Basel, is it the Miami 500 races? We advertise in our own backyard, too,because we know wealthy people from around the world come here.”

In Miami, luxury condo buyerswant to be on the water, near upscale restaurants and luxury shopping, Ms.Cervera said. Edgewater, where Cervera Real Estate is marketing Elysee Miamiand Biscayne Beach, is near the Design District, as is Aria on the Bay; AstonMartin Residences is downtown, close to Zuma and DB Moderne restaurants, sheadded.

Other properties the grouprepresents are The Grove at Grand Bay and The Markers in Coconut Grove and TheBond and Smart Brickell in Brickell.

Demand for the buildings isdriven by high occupancy overall (97%) and “rents going through the roof,” Ms.Cervera said. “It takes two or three years for a building to deliver, so it’sgood that we have all of these units coming on the market. Otherwise, it wouldhave stifled the city.”

It’s also fortunate that thebuildings are proceeding at different schedules, to accommodate those who wantto move in right away, as well as those who can wait, she added.

“It’s good to have some thatare close to finishing; Aria on the Bay will be finished in January. We sold itout, and people want to move in. Biscayne Beach is finished. Life changesquickly, and it’s hard to know where you’ll be in four years.”

A major change in this buildingboom is that more people will occupy their units, even if on a part-time basis,she said. “Someone has to call it home, even if it’s one week or one month ayear, so it’s not idle. In Miami, that hasn’t been an issue. In fact, we havebuildings being occupied very quickly.”

“It’s the definition ofluxury,” said Chad Carroll of Douglas Elliman, describing the $39 millionpenthouse on which the company has an exclusive listing in the Regalia in SunnyIsles Beach. With nearly 17,000 square feet, it is the second most expensivecondominium unit for sale in Miami-Dade County.

The two-story penthouse atRegalia comprises 10,700 square feet (at $3,600 per square foot) with a7,000-square-foot rooftop terrace and private pool reached by glass elevator,dual master bedrooms, a great room, movie theater, game and family rooms,private spa, wine cellar and guest room with its own living space.

Finishes include Nikzad wood and Blanco Sevilla stone flooring, Kreon designer lighting, custom speakers andmillwork, Falma Italian closets, and programmable controls for lighting,shades, temperature and music. “No expense was spared,” Mr. Carroll said.

Designed by Arquitectonica’s Bernardo Fort-Brescia, the building itself offers only 39 units, he said, with unit prices starting from $8 million. They have 360-degree wrap-around terraces that offer unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean, Golden Beach, theIntracoastal Waterway and the skylines of Miami, Miami Beach and FortLauderdale.

Another listing in the Regalia is a six-bedroom, six-bath “beach house” comprising 10,515 square feet, with a private pool, sauna, steam room and spa. It is listed for $29 million, he said.

“We have had interest from hedge fund managers, European families, Brazilians. It’s a very diverse group,”Mr. Carroll said. “The ultra-wealthy just love the building because it makes them feel at home. We’ve been very active.”