Sea level rise? No worries. Sluggish sales in the luxury market? Not a problem. Strict requirements for construction loans and traditional bank financing? There are other ways to buy a condo.
High-end real estate development has slowed to a crawl in Miami-Dade, with most builders taking a breath while the market absorbs a bounty of condos priced at $1 million and up. Only two new major luxury condos broke ground in 2018: Estates at Acqualina in Sunny Isles Beach, with 245 residences ranging from $4.2 million to $35 million, and One Park Grove, the third and final tower of the ritzy Coconut Grove development, priced from $2.7 million to $6.3 million.
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But three ambitious developers from outside the U.S. are betting on Miami’s enduring appeal with plans for ambitious condos priced in the mega-millions. The trio are proof that out-of-town investors continue to see a big future — and an even bigger payday — in Miami-Dade’s luxury market, despite sluggish sales and climate change concerns.
“The rest of the world sees the U.S. as the safest place to move their capital,” said Ron Shuffield, president and CEO of EWM Realty International, a brokerage firm. “The international developer is thinking about where they want to have their assets two or three years down the road. They feel there’s no better use of their capital right now than to build high-quality properties in markets where it will continue to appreciate, even though it’s not the best time to have a $5 million condo for sale.”
The monthly number of Miami-Dade condos listed on the Southeast Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service (MLS) during 2018 priced $1 million and up reflects the highest levels in history, according to EWM Realty International. On Sept. 30, 2018, there were 2,874 active sale listings — an 11 percent increase over the same period last year.
The glut is even more evident for condos priced at $5 million and up. According to EWM, the MLS listed 348 units in that price range as of Aug. 31, 2018. That’s a total of 58 months of inventory — well above a “healthy” inventory of 12 to 18 months.
But despite the surplus, three new luxury projects in Miami-Dade are moving forward, each launched by foreign-based developers who are financing the projects from their own resources:
▪ 57 Ocean, an 18-story, 81-unit luxury tower at 5775 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, is the third condo project in Miami-Dade from the Brazilian firm Multiplan Real Estate Asset Management;
▪ Okan Tower Miami, a mammoth 70-story condo/hotel/retail building at 555 North Miami Avenue in the downtown area, will reach a height of 890 feet. It is the first project in the U.S. for the Turkish firm Okan Development Group;
▪ Monaco Yacht Club, at 6800 Indian Creek in Miami Beach, will offer 39 fully-finished waterfront units on 11 floors. The developer is Optimum Development USA, the Miami branch of the Luxembourg-based Optimum Asset Management.
The three projects join other luxury developments that have already broken ground or entered the pre-sale phase. Those include the Aston Martin Residences in downtown Miami, from Argentine supermarket magnate German Coto; the Missoni Baia tower in Edgewater and the Una Residences in Brickell, both from OKO Group; and the Eighty Seven Park tower in Miami Beach, a joint venture between the prolific South Florida developer Terra and the Italy-based Bizzi & Partners.
The developers behind the three new projects believe their product is unique enough to stand out from the pack — and they have the resources and staying power to weather the ebb and flow of the market.