What does the crystal ball show for South Florida residential real estate?

Dec.December 28, 2010 01:40 PM
alternate textFrom left: Mike Pappas, Beth Butler, Franck Dossa, Nelson Gonzalez and Peter Zalewski

South Florida’s residential market had a turbulent 2010: from robo-signing to extravagant bulk buys to an influx of buyers from Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro. With prices still low but activity increasing,
The Real Deal talked to some of the experts of South Florida’s residential market to see what they think is in store for the area in 2011. Here is what they had to say:

Mike Pappas, CEO, the Keyes Company
In 2010 we saw the bottom of an ‘unstimulated’ market. With inventories dropping, low interest rates and prices stable, 2011 will show positive signs of growth.

Beth Butler, president, One Sotheby’s
I think the outlook for 2011 is one of cautious optimism. The recovery is coming slowly, but it is there. I think mortgage funding will be more readily available as the year goes on and the market will rebound with more velocity once that occurs.
Franck Dossa, principal broker, Condhotel Real Estate
The local real estate market in Miami will continue to strengthen, thanks to Europeans flocking to Miami Beach condominiums and Latin Americans absorbing the inventory in Downtown and Brickell. The bottleneck in the judicial system will ensure that the foreclosures will trickle down to the market and not flood it. It will be a great year for buyers, although with a lot of competition. The sellers will have to sacrifice if they really want to sell. The market will regain its confidence, at least in the prime areas. The suburbs will continue to suffer during the year, mainly because they don’t attract the foreign investors, and the banks are not willing to start lending again.
Nelson Gonzalez, senior vice president, Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell
I believe the single-family waterfront homes will continue to sell well in 2011 and there will be a shortage of new, high-end homes over $10M in Miami Beach by the end of 2011 which will then drive prices higher. As for the condo market, I predict that the high-end and low-end will continue selling in 2011.  In [reference] to prices, the prices will jump slightly and would jump more if the banks started lending more. 
Peter Zalewski, founder, Condo Vultures
We anticipate that short sales will be the focus of most residential buyers in 2011 as banks finally begin to accelerate the process. Bulk buyers seeking new construction packages in South Florida will be forced to buy smaller blocks at higher prices or move outside of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. For bulk buyers deciding to stay in South Florida, the focus will be on failed condo conversions in the suburbs west of Interstate 95.

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