Business

August 28, 2014

Inaugural Miami New Construction Show begins Friday

A first-ever trade show tapping into Miami’s new condominium construction boom gathers many who thrive on the growth.

As a growing number of construction cranes stretch skyward in Miami, the first-ever trade show for new condominium construction kicks off Friday at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The Miami New Construction Show, running through Sunday, aims to be a sort of supermarket of new condo development for prospective buyers and their agents and a networking venue for the many sectors of Miami business that are riding the wave of growth.

Among 86 exhibitors spanning 110 booths are developers showcasing 47 condo construction projects in South Florida.

Also taking space at the show are an array of professions and businesses related to the condo building boom. They include immigration lawyers, tax advisors, property managers, title companies, architects, interior designers and mortgage lenders.

Anita Funtek, the show’s chief executive officer, said the idea for the event came to her because the process of learning about the numerous condo construction projects under way in Miami can be labor-intensive.

“We are showcasing everything here in one place. You can see most of the projects. You can meet people, you can socialize,” said Funtek, who was a real estate broker in Hungary before moving to Miami three years ago.

The show also includes panel discussions focusing on subjects related to the boom. Topics include the role of social media in real estate; the factors fueling Miami’s pre-construction boom; crowdfunding in real estate and Miami’s place among global cities.

The show comes as the condo construction boom that started in 2011 has hit high gear, fueled by a buyer-deposit financing model in which unit purchasers typically put up 50 percent of the price during the construction process.

That model provides low-cost financing for developers and shifts more risk to the unit buyers. Developers say it deters the sort of speculative buyers who during the last boom made small down payments in the hope of quickly flipping units, but walked away from contracts when prices turned down. Banks typically still play a role in providing construction loans, but at a lower loan-to-cost ratio than in the past.

During the current condo boom, the vast majority of sales have been to foreign buyers. Some are looking to move capital into the United States, while others simply want a second home.

According to Peter Zalewski, founder of Cranespotters.com, a Miami-based firm that tracks the pre-construction market, seven Miami-Dade towers east of Interstate 95 have been completed so far this year. An additional 54 towers are under construction; 59 more projects are planned but haven’t begun development; and 53 others still require various approvals.

Zalewski, who is on the board of the new construction show and writes a column on the condo market for the Miami Herald’s weekly Business Monday section, is among those scheduled to speak at the show.

South Florida condominium prices have rebounded sharply over the past three years after nosediving during the historic real estate crash. In recent months, however, competition from the construction boom has created headwinds for existing-condo sales, and price gains have slowed.

If You Go

Miami New Construction Show

When: August 29-31

Where: Miami Beach Convention Center, Hall D, 1901 Convention Center Drive.

Tickets: $35 for one day.

Website: http://miaminewconstructionshow.com/

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