Latin American homebuyers heading north to Hollywood, Hallandale Beach

Feb.February 24, 2012 11:15 AM

At one time, the border between Miami-Dade and Broward counties was nearly impenetrable.

While residential buyers, particularly from abroad, flocked to Miami Beach, Bal Harbour and Sunny Isles, they would hesitate to cross over the line into Broward County’s Hollywood and Hallandale Beach.

Now, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach are becoming a major target for foreign buyers, particularly South Americans, as developments further south fill up and prices rise.

“It used to be that, once you got up to Sunny Isles Beach, it was hard to take South Americans north into Broward County,” said Craig Studnicky, a principal at Related ISG. “That has clearly changed.”

Sunny Isles has boomed in the last two years, to such a degree that four new projects are planned, including developer Gil Dezer’s Porsche Design Tower and the new project, Mansions at Acqualina.

The demand in Sunny Isles is great enough that the Porsche tower, which won’t begin construction until 2013, has already found 15 buyers.

Price are skyrocketing in Sunny Isles, like at the planned Regalia condo tower, which will start at more than $1,000 per square foot.

According to, Sunny Isles Beach’s Home Value Index rose 8 percent in December compared to the same period in 2011.

That’s leaving foreign buyers with few options in Miami-Dade County — and attractive values just a bit further north.

According to a Condo Vultures report earlier this month, there were an average of 140 condo resales in the Hollywood/Hallandale Beach market per month in 2011, an increase of nearly 20 units per month in 2010.

“Investors, whether domestic or foreign, are chasing the deals,” said Peter Zalewski, founder of brokerage and consultancy Condo Vultures “I’m not sure that Latin American buyers would dream of buying in Broward, but they’re increasingly being forced to because many of them are too late.”

But Studnicky said that, while prices are attractive in Broward County, there has been a shift in thinking about the southern part of the county. Today, Latin Americans in particular are starting to see Hollywood-Hallandale Beach-Sunny Isles as one, monolithic region.

“South Americans are seeing [the area] as somewhat homogenous — there’s not much of a difference,” he said. “It’s still a sandy beach, it’s still the same water temperature.”

Studnicky, whose Related ISG firm is marketing Related’s new Apogee Beach project in Hallandale Beach, said the development had already placed 42 of 49 units under contract, and 38 of them went to South American purchasers since hitting the market at the end of 2011.

“What we’re noticing is a change in the demographic of the buyer of luxury condominiums on the beach in Hollywood,” Studnicky said. “It’s no longer Canadians and Americans, or retirees on pensions. It’s now a younger, very affluent South American.”

Related is now planning another project on Hallandale Beach Boulevard: Beachwalk, a project that should launch sales in the spring, he said.

But with prices as high as $1,500 per square foot in some new Sunny Isles developments, price will still be a major pull.

“It’s a matter of Latin American buyers chasing a deal, and the deals right now are not in Miami-Dade County,” Zalewski said.

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