Site scarcity limits home building in South Florida

Metrostudy says housing starts are about 25 percent of the level in the early 2000s

Feb.February 20, 2016 02:30 PM

Metrostudy says housing starts in 2015 were down in Miami-Dade County.

South Florida home builders broke ground for almost 6,000 single-family residences and townhomes last year, research firm Metrostudy reported.

That represents about 25 percent of the annual housing starts in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties during the housing boom of the 2000-2005 period.

Metrostudy also reported that the main reason for the decline in new-home production is a shortage of land.

“I don’t believe demand is 25 percent of what it was during the boom,” Jon Rapaport, division president of WCI Communities Inc., told the Sun-Sentinel. “There are just not that many opportunities to build new homes.”

Metrostudy said single-family housing starts in Miami-Dade County fell to 2,375 last year, down 15 percent from 2014.

In Palm Beach County, builders started 2,187 homes last year, 3 percent more than in 2014 and 7 percent more than in 2013.

The real estate research firm also reported that single-family housing starts totaled 1,361 in Broward County last year, a 15 percent increase from 2014 and a 19 percent increase from 2013.

David Cobb, division president of Metrostudy, told the Sun-Sentinel that the increases in Broward housing starts in recent years is attributable to the “Parkland Effect.”

Parkland, a city in the northwestern pocket of Broward, is known for its high-quality schools, and it has some of the last lots in the county for large-scale home construction.

Builders including WCI, Toll Brothers, Lennar, Standard Pacific Homes and K. Hovnanian will construct hundreds of homes in Parkland in the next few years. [Sun-Sentinel] — Mike Seemuth

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