Where Miami real estate will heat up next: panel

Miami skyline (Credit: Creative Commons)
Miami skyline (Credit: Creative Commons)

A panel of real estate professionals said the next hot spots for Miami-area real estate development include not only beachfront communities but also urban locations in or near downtown Miami.

“The area that I am the most excited about in the future is Wynwood and the [Miami] Design District,” said Louis Birdman, principal of Birdman Real Estate Development, one of five panelists who spoke Thursday at a packed luncheon event presented by the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Miami Association of Realtors.

Citing the dwindling amount of beachfront property to develop, Birdman said inland development will become more prevalent: “As developers, we have to look at what we can do to pull people away from the beach.”

“The hottest market by far is the downtown [Miami] area,” said panelist Harvey Hernandez, founder, chairman and CEO of Newgard Development Group, citing a broad transition there “to a truly mixed-use lifestyle.”

Mixed-use development in the Brickell Avenue corridor is making the area just south of downtown Miami “like its own chic little city,” said Chris Leavitt, director of luxury sales, Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

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Another member of the panel, Eloy Carmenate, executive director of sales at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, said he expects development in the future to heat up in Surfside and the North Beach area of Miami Beach: “I think it’s the next big area.”

Several panelists acknowledged that the decline in the dollar value of many foreign currencies has made Miami real estate more expensive for potential buyers from Venezuela, Brazil and other countries.

But they also said currency weakness abroad is part of broader problems in many foreign countries, which keeps flight capital airborne and headed for the United States.

“The instability in these markets is driving people to the United States,” said Jay P. Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Florida LLC.

Hernandez agreed: “The perception is the U.S. is the safest place to be.”

“The smart money always goes to safety, stability and security,” Birdman said. Real estate prices in New York have “gotten very top heavy … Miami clearly is the best value.”

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