The Real Deal New York

Editor’s note: South Florida, a real estate enigma

By Stuart Elliott | May 01, 2013 07:00AM

Stuart Elliott

South Florida is a real estate enigma: How can an area hit as hard by the housing crisis come back so strong, so fast? But it has, and brokers and developers aren’t wasting their time overthinking the comeback. They’re making deals and putting up skyscrapers.

That’s not to say, though, that they’ve forgotten the bad times of the last few years or that they didn’t learn invaluable lessons from the financial fallout.

Not at all. Their feet are planted firmly on the ground.

Douglas Elliman’s Vanessa Grout, for example, is enthusiastic about sales — to a point, acknowledging that a slump will come, “we just don’t know when.”

And Jorge Perez of the Related Group, South Florida’s busiest development firm, is more than up front about the hard lesson he learned from the downturn: Don’t overextend.

So, why does it matter that not everybody is starry-eyed?

It matters because there will be “a next time.” It’s inevitable. But it might not have to be as long or as hard if there are a few in the bunch doing a gut check. And there are a few — and a powerful and influential few — in South Florida.