UPDATED, Nov. 12, 12:05 p.m.: During a lively discussion at The Real Deal’s seventh annual South Florida Real Estate Showcase and Forum on Wednesday, a panel of top brokers sparred over how they land deals in the red hot, luxury residential market.
Near the end of the discussion on the residential market on Wednesday, panelist Oren Alexander with Douglas Elliman boasted about handling the sale of a Coconut Grove home for $65 million, as an example of purchases in neighborhoods outside of Miami Beach.
Dina Goldentayer, a fellow agent at Douglas Elliman, also on the panel, quickly disputed the figure, claiming it actually sold for millions less.
“You don’t have to pump up your numbers,” Goldentayer said. “Everyone knows you are doing well.”
Indeed, over the summer, Alexander represented the buyer of a spec mansion in Coconut Grove in which the deed shows traded for $50 million. However, sources told TRD it sold for an additional $15 million to include the cost of completing the home.
Goldentayer’s retort capped a spicy debate among brokers competing for multimillion-dollar listings, at a time high net worth domestic buyers are gobbling up every available waterfront single-family home on the market. Alexander and Goldentayer were joined by Julian Johnston of The Corcoran Group, Dora Puig of Luxe Living Realty and Jeff Miller with One Sotheby’s International Realty on the panel moderated by TRD’s Katherine Kallergis at Mana Wynwood in Miami.
Johnston said buyers from states like New York and California who flocked to South Florida during the pandemic have led to a nearly bone-dry market for luxury houses. “We are fighting for listings,” he said. “I’ve had 20 brokers come up to me [today] asking, ‘Do you have anything?’”
With few waterfront properties available, demand is jacking up prices for landlocked homes, Johnston added. “We are selling contemporary homes that are not on the water for $5 million, $6 million,” he said. “There is just no inventory. No one could have predicted what happened from last October to this October.”
Puig concurred, noting that she handled the listing for a non-waterfront house near the Miami Beach Golf Club that sold for $5.5 million. Before the pandemic, “[dry] lot buildings, you couldn’t give those away,” Puig said. “Those are now selling beautifully as well.”
She said boutique condominiums offering large units such as Palazzo Della Luna on Fisher Island, where she is the listing broker, are also attracting buyers. “We’ve had an incredible run on Fisher Island,” Puig said. “We sold 75 percent of Palazzo Della Luna and expect to sell out by the end of the year.”
Under normal circumstances, it would have probably taken three years to sell out the building, Puig said.
The diminished inventory has caused buyers to reach out to more than one brokerage to find homes, the agents said. “They are definitely shopping around,” Johnston said. Not taking it personally goes a long way to landing deals, he added.
Alexander said he boosts his business by introducing buyers to the president of a hospital, and giving them access to social circles.
But Goldentayer said she is not interested in helping buyers beyond finding them a home to purchase. “I don’t think that kindness is that important right now,” she said. “[Buyers] are not kind. It has become about who has the house and who can get it for them.”
With the recent U.S. travel ban now lifted, the competition will only get more intense as Canadian, South American and European buyers return to the Miami market, the brokers said. The lack of single-family homes will force many to consider buying condos in high-rise towers in the pipeline such as the Waldorf Astoria Miami in downtown Miami, they added.
“Certainly a lot of Brazilians [will buy],” Miller said. “They are very excited to come back to South Florida. We certainly have a big runway. I was just at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. If the attendance was any indication of what this season will be like, everyone get ready. It is going to be busy.”