Broward becomes its own destination: TRD panel

SoFla's middle child is rivaling Miami as a residential hotspot

Apr.April 23, 2015 06:12 PM

Broward County has grown to rival its bigger brother Miami-Dade as a destination for living, investing and developing, according to panelists at The Real Deal’s Broward Real Estate Forum & Showcase.

The county was stagnating a decade ago, said panelist Brad Deckelbaum, with Miami stealing the limelight of South Florida’s booming real estate market.

Now, Broward, and especially Fort Lauderdale, are experiencing a renaissance as developers and home buyers migrate north of Miami.

Deckelbaum said the county attracts what he called the “creative class:” technology companies and young individuals looking for a home.

“It’s not that a building boom is happening in Fort Lauderdale,” said Deckelbaum, who owns Premier Properties Riva Fort Lauderdale. “It’s Fort Lauderdale changing into an entirely different place to live.”

Panelist Mike Hammon said developers are interested in Broward because land is cheaper and more available than in Miami-Dade. Hammon, senior vice president of the Related Group, said the company has done mostly single-family projects in the county – but that will likely change.

“I do think you’re going to see a surge of people wanting condominiums in Broward County,” Hammon said.

Adding onto that, panelist Scott Leventhal said there’s no more room to grow in South Florida except for Broward. With infrastructure improvements to I-95 and the region’s airports, the path is paved for home buyers and developers.

“Housing is going to continue to follow the infrastructure,” said Leventhal, co-founder of the Trillist Companies. “The natural evolution is for people from Miami to make their way north, and Broward is an ideal destination.”

The cost of living in Broward County is a third of Miami, said panelist Carolyn Block Ellert, co-founder of the Premier Sales Group.

Compared to Miami’s prohibitive costs for waterfront and high-end properties, Broward’s bevy of luxury developments are an attractive option.

“Fort Lauderdale used to be the jeans and sneakers town,” said Ellert. “I think the upscale buyer is emerging because of what opportunities are available for purchase.”

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