The Real Deal Miami

Site scarcity limits home building in South Florida

Metrostudy says housing starts are about 25 percent of the level in the early 2000s

February 20, 2016 02:30PM

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Metrostudy says South Florida housing starts in 2015 were down in Miami-Dade County.

Metrostudy says housing starts in 2015 were down in Miami-Dade County.

South Florida home builders broke ground for almost 6,000 single-family residences and townhomes last year, research firm Metrostudy reported.

That represents about 25 percent of the annual housing starts in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties during the housing boom of the 2000-2005 period.

Metrostudy also reported that the main reason for the decline in new-home production is a shortage of land.

“I don’t believe demand is 25 percent of what it was during the boom,” Jon Rapaport, division president of WCI Communities Inc., told the Sun-Sentinel. “There are just not that many opportunities to build new homes.”

Metrostudy said single-family housing starts in Miami-Dade County fell to 2,375 last year, down 15 percent from 2014.

In Palm Beach County, builders started 2,187 homes last year, 3 percent more than in 2014 and 7 percent more than in 2013.

The real estate research firm also reported that single-family housing starts totaled 1,361 in Broward County last year, a 15 percent increase from 2014 and a 19 percent increase from 2013.

David Cobb, division president of Metrostudy, told the Sun-Sentinel that the increases in Broward housing starts in recent years is attributable to the “Parkland Effect.”

Parkland, a city in the northwestern pocket of Broward, is known for its high-quality schools, and it has some of the last lots in the county for large-scale home construction.

Builders including WCI, Toll Brothers, Lennar, Standard Pacific Homes and K. Hovnanian will construct hundreds of homes in Parkland in the next few years. [Sun-Sentinel] — Mike Seemuth