The Real Deal Miami

Doral emerging as residential bright spot

Commercial market is driving home sales in the Miami-Dade city
By Alexander Britell | December 23, 2010 04:40PM

Lately it’s been known for large-scale warehouse and commercial leases, but it’s these kinds of deals that are making Doral one of South Florida’s thriving residential markets.

According to Zillow.com’s Home Value Index, the north-central Miami-Dade County city — with an average home value of $200,000 — has actually seen a price increase of 5.3 percent, as of the end of the third quarter. That’s compared to Miami-Dade County as a whole, which has seen a 13 percent drop to an average home value of $150,000.

“If there is a bright spot in South Florida real estate on the residential side, Doral is probably one of the brightest stars,” said Peter Zalewski, founder of Condo Vultures. “It’s a town that was built basically because the economy was already in place, rather than having the town and building the economy.”

Doral’s economy is buoyed by logistics firms — that is, firms that handle the management of the flow of goods. These firms occupy much of the commercial space in the market. It’s this strong economy, Zalewski said, that is driving a residential market that is outpacing the rest of South Florida.

According to the December report from Miami-Dade County’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade, it’s the wholesale trade market — which needs logistics companies to make sure goods get where they need to go — that is seeing the strongest job growth in the county, at a 4.7 percent increase year over year.

With more residents choosing to live where they work, Doral’s condo and single-family home markets are both outpacing the average in South Florida.

“It’s becoming so-called “smart growth here,” said Doral broker Manny Bouza, who is also on the Board of Governors of the Miami Association of Realtors. “That’s how the commercial market is impacting the residential — more people are commuting here, but more people are working and living here.”

According to Muliple Listing Service data, in the last six months, agents sold an average of 55 condos in Doral, and there are currently 470 for sale. Sixteen single-family homes sold, leaving an inventory of 142. Those numbers mean that on the condo side, Doral is moving 23 percent faster than the rest of South Florida, and 7 percent faster in single-family home sales than the rest of the region.

“Doral is an interesting place because it has a very strong economy,” Zalewski said. “It also has a tremendous Latin crowd. We’re not talking about any kind of strong price increase, in the foreseeable future, but it’s certainly ahead of the curve.”

This Latin element, led by buyers from Venezuela, is also helping to drive the market.

“Buyers in Doral are mostly Venezuelan right now,” Bouza said. “With all the problems people have in Venezuela, they are coming here, bringing money and purchasing property in Doral.”