What’s driving Bal Harbour’s surge?

The value of homes in Bal Harbour rose more than any municipality in Miami-Dade County in the last year, according to data from Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia. Garcia’s data showed that the total values of homes in the area rose 35 percent in the last calendar year.

What’s driving the growth? It’s largely the new St. Regis Bal Harbour development, which officially opened in January and has seen almost $630 million in sales to date, highlighted by the $24.6 million purchase of a combination of five units at the property by a foreign buyer, first reported by The Real Deal last month.

“The St. Regis has really brought up property values,” said Linda Gustafson of One Sotheby’s International Realty, who deals extensively in Bal Harbour’s condo market. “Now that it’s finished, that its restaurants are open, right across from the Bal Harbour shops, it’s brought up property values substantially.”

Closings having been averaging between $1,200 and $1,500 per square foot at the property.

New York-based Jacky Teplitzky, who recently expanded her brokerage to Miami, compared the impact to that of the Time Warner Center in New York’s Columbus Circle neighborhood. “After Time Warner was built, all the values in the circle went up tremendously,” she said. “Now it’s almost like a separate neighborhood. So I look at Bal Harbour the same way.”

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But while the St. Regis is the face of Bal Harbour’s boom, it’s not alone. The last year has seen several high-profile deals across the real estate sector in Bal Harbour, which is located just above Surfside on Miami Beach’s barrier island.

In June, the Bal Harbour Club sold for $225 million to Argentina-based Consultatio, which is currently developing the new Oceana condominium project in Key Biscayne.

“It just caught on fire,” said Ryan Shear, managing director at development firm Property Markets Group. “Those were deals that were just sitting on the market, and people said they were crazy.”

Property Markets Group is developing the 95 on the Ocean condominium complex in Bal Harbour. The firm purchased the land in 2011. “Back then, everything was on the cusp,” he said. “Then it really turned on a dime.”

Shear said Bal Harbour’s improvement had come from two factors.

“One is the lack of supply — obviously there’s only so much oceanfront in South Florida,” he said. “And the other factor has been the South American buyers — these aren’t New Yorkers or Americans — in all these buildings.”