Little deals highlight big potential in Little Havana

Investors are flipping properties for big profits

Jun.June 02, 2016 05:15 PM

Under-the-radar sales in Miami neighborhoods like Little Havana and the Miami River underscore the potential for commercial activity just outside the bustling Greater Downtown Miami market.

Little Havana in particular has become a magnet for multifamily investment, broker Patricia Rotsztain told The Real Deal. Rotsztain brokered the sale of two buildings for about $80,000 per apartment in May, and said that asking prices rose by about 30 percent from the time of contract to closing. 

“Now, it’s very hard to find a building for sale at less than $120,000 per door,” Rotsztain, of Rotsztain & Sulichin, said.

The three-story, 24-unit building at 1528 Northwest Third Street sold for $1.92 million in mid May, up from $1.68 million in 2014. The buyer, a Brooklyn-based LLC, plans to renovate the 1923-building and bring the rents up to market rate, Rotsztain said. Pre-renovation, a two-bedroom unit may go for about $700 a month, she said.

In Miami, the median rent in May for a two-bedroom was $2,550, according to listing service Zumper. In Little Havana, a two-bedroom apartment rents for a median of $1,795 to $1,850, Zumper said.

The second building, at 501 Northeast Sixth Court, sold to a Latin American buyer for $2.3 million, Rotsztain said. That deal has yet to clear records, but the new owner has similar plans for the three-story, 29-unit building. Property records show it last sold in 2014 for $1.6 million. The apartments were built in 1925.

Developers and investors are banking on Little Havana’s success. Last year, a neighborhood supermarket in East Little Havana sold for $1.06 million. That property is zoned T6-8-O, and is near Ball & Chain, Azucar Ice Cream and Domino Park. It sold for about $100 per square foot, based on land value.

Just last week, a small strip mall at 1860 West Flagler Street sold for $1.9 million, according to Waterfront Investment Real Estate. Just 13 months prior, the property traded hands for $960,000, netting the seller $850,000.

For residents, Little Havana offers cheaper rents than nearby areas like downtown Miami and Brickell.

New York-based Burke Leighton paid nearly $11 million for a newly completed apartment building at 1430 Southwest First Street in February.

“This location is very striking,” company adviser Morris Matalon told TRD at the time. “We decided to go to Little Havana because of its proximity to Brickell.”

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