The Real Deal Miami

The Real Deal South Florida’s most popular stories of 2016

South Florida's slowing residential market led the year's most read stories
By Katherine Kallergis | December 27, 2016 09:45AM

Clockwise from left: Argentinian journalist Jorge Lanata (Credit: Getty); the Sagamore Hotel; Aerial of Miami (Credit: Getty), Airbnb founders Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia; Brickell City Centre shops and Stephen Owens

Market analysis dominated the most popular web stories on The Real Deal South Florida in 2016, as readers inhaled intel about the state of South Florida’s housing markets, plus comprehensive stories on Airbnb’s impact on Miami, sea level rise and more.

Check them out here:

Jorge Lanata in Mexico City (Credit: Getty)

1. Argentinian journalist buys at Asia in Brickell Key for $2.55M | February 

Jorge Lanata, an Argentinian journalist, and his wife, Sara Elizabeth Stewart Brown paid $2.55 million for the three-bedroom, three-bathroom unit at Asia, located at 900 Brickell Key Boulevard.

Lanata, who founded two Argentinian newspapers, has also directed documentaries, worked in radio and is writing a new book, according to published reports. His real estate agent said the journalist was looking for privacy and luxury.

After news of the condo sale reached Argentina, Lanata came out to Argentinian media to clarify that he purchased the unit with a mortgage, and not “bad money.” [more]

Pitbull on-stage the night before Brickell City Centre’s opening

2. Shops at Brickell City Centre set to open in November – here are all the tenants | May  

Brickell City Centre, Swire Properties’ massive, mixed-use project in Brickell, opened this year. The development has office, residential and hotel components, but the retail portion is what drew readers in.

The 500,000-square-foot outdoor mall opened in November, with Swire and its retail co-developers Whitman Family Development and Simon Property Group slowly releasing signed tenants. This list shows the majority of tenants, but also the much-anticipated opening date. [more]

Miami Beach

An aerial view of Miami Beach

3. Miami’s housing market is stuttering: Elliman reports | January 

At the start of the year, reports showed what would dominate residential coverage in 2016: Miami’s luxury market was starting to experience a big slowdown in sales activity, starting in the final quarter of 2015.

“The market has transitioned out of this sort of frenzied situation from the last couple years to something that’s not as robust,” Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel and author of the Elliman reports, told TR at the time. [more]

Flooding in Miami Beach in 2013

4. Miami Beach property values may fall as sea levels rise: experts | April 

Sea level rise and ways to combat it also took centerstage this year: as the tides rise, property values will fall, experts said.

Nearly two dozen university heads and climate change experts spoke at a Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce event in April on the effects of sea level rise in South Florida. But South Florida isn’t ready, land use and environmental attorney Wayne Pathman said.

By 2100, the oceans are projected to increase by seven feet. At that level, The Keys, along with large chunks of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, will be inundated with sea water at high tide, destroying fresh water reserves, compromising underground sewage lines and septic tanks, and creating a host of other problems.

By 2060, the oceans are projected to rise by two feet. At that level, “the western half of Miami Beach is under water.”

However, at least some of the negative impacts of sea level rise can be mitigated if the business community takes a leadership role now, Pathman argued. “Many places around the world have [already] started adapting,” he said. [more]

5. Miami’s housing market hits the brakes: Elliman reports | April 

By the end of the first quarter, price cuts started to hit markets like Miami Beach. Elliman reports released in April showed both mainland Miami and its barrier island Miami Beach were continuing to cool off as sales and price growth slow.

In the mainland, which covers neighborhoods east of I-95, 3,583 condos and single-family homes were sold in the first quarter, a reduction of 17.5 percent from the 4,344 closings made during the same period a year ago.

The Miami Beach section of the report, which covers everything from Sunny Isles Beach to Fisher Island, shows an even larger dip. Sales reached 810 properties, down 21 percent year-over-year. And for the third quarter in a row, prices on the beach for both condos and single-family homes have dropped.

And while the aggregate sales numbers could be blamed on the condo market in previous months, it was no longer the case. Both condos and single-family home sales were down significantly in the mainland and the beach during the first quarter. [more]

A VisualHouse rendering of the downtown Miami skyline in 2030 (Aerial photography credit: SkyPan International)

6. Miami poised for big growth over next five years: report | April

Readers were eager to consume good news, as evidenced by a report from Realtor.com that said Miami is expected to see the fourth-most growth in the number of households of any city in the U.S. over the next five years. The website cited the number of new construction starts for homes in Miami-Dade this year (13,000), the creation of new jobs (44,000), household growth by 2021 (14.9 percent) and new mega projects like Brickell City Centre, Miami Worldcenter and All Aboard Florida’s MiamiCentral station. [more]

The Sagamore Hotel

7. The tragic end of Sagamore Hotel owner Martin Taplin’s life | March

TRD was closely following the pending sale of the Sagamore Hotel and its former owner, Martin Taplin. Taplin died in March at age 77 after he fell from the 25th floor of his stepmother’s penthouse in Bal Harbour. The events leading to his death revealed by sources who worked with Taplin for several years but declined to be named, combined with information from Bal Harbour’s police chief, unveil a sad saga leading up to his death at age 77.

Sinking under a mound of debt, Taplin’s oceanfront Sagamore Hotel in South Beach was facing a balloon payment of $31.5 million plus $14 million in interest due on April 11, and if unpaid, would be under threat of foreclosure by LNR Properties, sources said. The South Beach hotel, which was quietly being marketed for sale for about $60 million, eventually sold to the InSite Group for $63 million.

Sources say he drove straight to the apartment after signing the deal to sell the Sagamore Hotel. He asked his stepmother for a glass of water, and while she was turned away, disappeared off the balcony ledge.

Taplin headed Martin W. Taplin & Associates, and was known for his love of art, an affinity he shared with his wife Cricket Taplin. [more]

Downtown Miami (Credit Azeez Bakare Studios). Inset: Airbnb founders Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia

8. How is Miami dealing with Airbnb’s growth? | May

Airbnb was a hot topic of conversation in South Florida this year. The short-term rental giant named Miami as one of its top five markets.

Like in other cities across the country, Airbnb has faced critics and supporters. Oversight, including taxation and regulation, varies by city, county and property type. While Airbnb collects and remits bed taxes statewide (6 percent) and as well as in 31 Florida counties, those don’t yet include Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach counties. This year, it collected more than $20 million in taxes in Florida. The company has said that it’s working closer to collecting local taxes in Miami-Dade. [more]

9. Miami’s housing market hits the reset button: Elliman reports | July

Luxury sales had taken a serious hit by July, according to the second quarter Elliman reports.

On the coastal mainland, prices for both condos and houses in the luxe sector — defined as the upper 10 percent of all sales — fell significantly. The median sales price for a luxury condo plummeted 16.7 percent to $1 million per unit. Single-family home prices in the upper echelon also dropped 4.9 percent to $1.25 million.

Sales were also down on both fronts. Luxury condos saw 231 sales, down 13 percent year-over-year, while single-family homes saw 211 sales, down 10 percent. [more]

10. Miami’s resi market isn’t busting, but tough times are ahead: Integra Realty Resources | June

“You need not pack your bags and run for the hills.”

Anthony Graziano, senior managing director of research firm Integra Realty Resources, gave a candid summary of Miami’s residential market at the start of the summer. The main takeaways? Sales are down, listing inventory is up and sellers are still reaching for “aspirational” prices, which in turn is putting pressure on the market. For agents on the ground, all that means listings are likely to stay on the market for longer.

Condo sales in particular were hurting because of a new wave of resales, though Graziano was quick to point out that trends for existing inventory don’t necessary translate for new development, and that newly built product typically outperforms what’s already on the market.

One key factor that does translate over is competition. Of the new condo buildings opening amid Miami’s recent building boom, Graziano said 20 percent to 40 percent are going right back up for sale, while an additional 20 to 40 percent are on the market for rentals.

Not only will pre-construction condos have to contend for buyers amid all this existing product, but unit owners who turn to renting will go up against the roughly 4,500 rental apartments now under construction in the downtown area. “The bankers are getting really nervous,” he said, referencing developers’ difficulty seeking financing for their projects. “It’s going to be very hard to get a project out of the ground.” [more]