Luxe sales still soaring

Apr.April 01, 2015 07:00 AM
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101 El Bravo Way was completed in 2011 and never lived in.

South Florida’s luxury residential market experienced a buying frenzy — again — over the last year, with billions of dollars trading hands for homes and condos.

Buyers closed on thousands of posh properties, and the region’s top realtors say there’s no lack of demand for South Florida’s priciest listings.

Nelson Gonzalez, a senior vice president with Esslinger Wooten Maxwell Realtors, said sales of luxury residences in Miami-Dade County continue to surge. He added that domestic buyers were increasingly replacing the powerhouse investors from South America and Europe.

Total sales of luxury residences reached $11.1 billion in the tri-county area during the 12-month period ending in February, a 1.2 percent increase over the previous year, according to data from Condo.com. The site defines the luxury range as properties selling for $700,000 and above.

Miami-Dade County saw $4.9 billion in  luxe condo and single-family home sales, followed closely by Palm Beach County with $4.1 billion. Both nearly doubled Broward County’s $2.1 billion.

“At the very high end of the market, I’m seeing a frenzy,” Gonzalez said. “The problem is there’s not enough inventory at the top. Land sales are increasing tremendously. People want to build their own homes.”

EWM President Ron Shuffield said that prices for single-family residences are likely to stay high because of lack of inventory, but the recent surge of luxury condominium projects in South Florida could even out prices overall significantly.

“Right now there’s a good balance in the market for supply and demand,” Shuffield said.

In Miami-Dade County, Gonzalez closed on $149 million in high-end sales between March 2014 and February 2015, according to Condo.com. He also handled the first and third most expensive sales in the county — a $30 million home and another for $28 million, both in ritzy Indian Creek.

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Coldwell Banker realtor Jill Eber totaled $154 million in luxury sales for her listings. Eber, together with Jill Hertzberg, form the Jills, a residential real estate powerhouse that moved a hefty portion of pricey real estate deals over the past year — just under $500 million.

In Palm Beach County, Pascal Liguori of Premier Real Estate said the limited supply of luxury homes has forced prices back up to pre-downturn levels. Demand is also driven by the lack of a state income tax, the agent said. He noted that the tax savings for a well-paid executive from New York, for example, could pay for a multi-million dollar home in just a few years.

Liguori handled the listings for $108 million in luxury home sales over the past year. He works with his brother Joseph Liguori, a Premier broker who had the county’s most expensive sale — a $17 million mansion that had languished on the market for 1,945 days before a buyer finally closed.

Palm Beach County also saw the most expensive sale in the tri-county area: An 11,514-square-foot beachfront mansion that sold for $42.9 million. Paulette Koch of Corcoran Group Real Estate had the listing.

“The [Palm Beach] market continues to be very strong in the ultra high end,” Joseph Liguori said. “The reality is that there’s not a lot of new construction.”


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