SoFla real estate experts analyze the current downturn: panel

Anthony Graziano, Mike Pappas and Sergio Pino
Anthony Graziano, Mike Pappas and Sergio Pino

While Miami’s residential market has hit the downside of the cycle, fears of a potential crash are largely unfounded, according to real estate professionals who spoke at Keyes Company’s 2017 South Florida New Development Showcase.

Citing a robust demand for homes under $500,000 and a sharp decline in foreclosed and distressed properties, Keyes CEO Mike Pappas told the 600 attendees the South Florida market will experience moderate gains in the next couple of years.

“It’s not boom and it’s not sizzle,” Pappas said. “But we are bullish. Our March and April written business was the strongest we have ever seen. There are a lot of deals you will see closing.”

Anthony Graziano, chairman of Integra Realty Resources who joined Pappas onstage, said the biggest problem facing brokers is convincing sellers to readjust their prices in a buyer’s market. “We cannot expect Miami to go back to 2013 and 2014 when Brazil was flush with petroleum dollars and Venezuela was not in the middle of civil unrest,” Graziano said, referring to the record-setting boom years of the most recent cycle. “Fundamentally, Broward and Palm Beach counties will continue to grow, but in Miami-Dade, we have to be careful. It is not going to crash, but Miami will do well if it breaks even.”

Daniel Guerra

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During a panel discussion, Daniel Guerra, vice president of development sales for Fortune International Realty, said while global economic conditions have made it harder for South Americans to buy real estate in the South Florida market, a slow uptick in Asian buyers shows the region remains an attractive place for real estate investors. “We are seeing Asian buyers in Brickell and Coral Gables,” Guerra said. “And the largest Asian population in Miami-Dade resides in Doral. They love single-family homes and townhouses.”

The panel also included Sergio Pino, president of Century Homebuilders Group; John Reza Parsiani, vice president of development for Aria on the Bay; and Angelica Behm, vice-president of sales and marketing for Metropica Development.

Reza Parsiani added that the success of last month’s annual global summit of the Asian Real Estate Association of America in the Four Seasons Hotel Miami on Brickell Avenue also shows that interest from Far East buyers continues to rise. “We set a record for the largest gathering of Asian real estate professionals in one city,” he said. “That shows you the kind of attention we are getting.”

Reza Parsiani also said any comparisons to the boom years of the cycle are unfair. “We have seen tremendous velocity and movement that is not normal in any market,” he said. “In 2015, I did 17 transactions a day. That is extraordinary. Now, we are just normalizing.”

“There is definitely an adjustment going on,” added Pino. “But I really feel good about the future of South Florida.”