What top Miami brokers predict for 2015

From left: Chris Leavitt, Tony Cho, Daniel de la Vega, Matt Cheezem, Andres Asion and Zach Winkler
From left: Chris Leavitt, Tony Cho, Daniel de la Vega, Matt Cheezem, Andres Asion and Zach Winkler

Buyers and investors remained bullish on the South Florida real estate market in 2014, especially in the hospitality, retail and office sectors. But while demand will remain strong  in the residential market, price appreciation will slow significantly, brokers said. The Real Deal spoke to top brokers about what they see happening in the South Florida real estate market in 2015.

Chris Leavitt, luxury real estate broker for Douglas Elliman and star of “Million Dollar Listing Miami”

“Buyers looking for more moderately priced homes will see more opportunities in 2015. With fewer homes underwater, the strength of the market will inspire baby boomers to finally sell. Millennials who have postponed homeownership will take advantage of the new inventory in 2015 as they start families and seek more stability. By the end of 2015, millennial buyers will represent the largest group of homebuyers, taking over from Generation X. Demand will continue to rise in 2015 as prices appreciate. There have now been 11 consecutive quarters of price growth for condominiums and single-family homes in Miami. Even though there is a greater supply of properties compared to a year earlier, demand is still strong and prices and sales are more moderate, which is resulting in a more balanced real estate market.”

Tony Cho, CEO and founder of Metro 1 Properties and M1 Development

“I think Miami is going to continue to attract investors and capital. A strong dollar, low gas prices and low interest rates bode well for the South Florida real estate market. Wynwood is poised to have a big development boom at the end of the year because of changes in zoning. Allapattah, the Biscayne Boulevard corridor north of 36th Street, Buena Vista, Little River and Miami Shores are the emerging neighborhoods that will go through some revitalization and renaissance. I don’t see price appreciation as brisk as the last couple of years, but I do see sustained growth and stabilization on the horizon.”

Daniel de la Vega, president of ONE Sotheby’s International Realty

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“I believe the market will continue to rally in South Florida. You won’t see the price appreciation you saw in the last couple of years, but there will be appreciation and buyers will continue to come from all over the world. There is a lot more competition in the market. The number of buyers in South Florida in 2015 will not go down, but the amount of inventory online will give people a lot more options. I believe only the best products that get built by solid developers are the ones that will continue to sell.”

Matt Cheezem, senior vice president at Cresa South Florida

“It will be surprising if the number of new-to-market tenants for office space in Miami-Dade surpasses this year. If I was a betting man, I would say no. The deals made in the first quarter and early part of the second quarter will determine if the office market remains hot. If it doesn’t and it slows down, I see it flatlining and falling off in the middle or latter part of next year. While we are not seeing 20 percent vacancies, in some cases it is in the high teens. There are some buildings with significant vacancies. Until those fill up, it will be hard to push the market far enough where there are no pockets of volatility or weakness in it. Broward is another animal, especially downtown Fort Lauderdale. Over the past 18 months, it has been the office market with the most growth and absorption. Fort Lauderdale had the largest decreases in vacancies and increases in rental rates than anywhere else in South Florida. Next year will be the litmus test that determines if the Fort Lauderdale office market can support a new building.”

Andres Asion, vice-president of sales at Fortune International Realty

“Projects sold three years ago will start to close in 2015. It will be interesting to see how those deals play a role in new sales. I don’t think we will have the pace of sales we had in the past year when we were selling 50, 60 units a month per project. I think it will be half of that because you have a lot more projects. Buyers have more options to choose from now.”

Zach Winkler, senior associate at CBRE Florida

“You will see continued interest in the urban core from retailers. The Brickell market will remain in very tight demand, mostly for food and beverage providers. The Brickell City Centre project will create more buzz and create much needed traditional retail such as fashion luxury and shopping in an area where it is very much needed. I’m a big believer in Miami Beach. Lincoln Road has seen record prices and that will continue to go up. Sunset Harbour will continue to do very well. The Alton Road corridor will become a better retail strip and some areas of Washington Avenue will benefit from more local boutique tenants that will bring retail for the greater masses. Overall, South Florida will continue to draw significant interest from national and international retailers. Ted Baker signed a deal for a store on Lincoln Road, for example. You will also see a blurring of the dividing lines between the neighborhoods of Wynwood, Midtown and the Design District. Retail development is going to create a happy medium between the mass consumers and ultra luxury shoppers so that retailers get the best of both worlds.”