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Need a deal on a home? Tamarac is no longer for snowbirds and retirees

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Priced out of Paradise: City in Transition

Miami-Dade is the most expensive metro in the U.S. for renters and one of the costliest for home buyers. This series explains why that’s so and what it means for the region and its residents. Our interactive tool helps renters and buyers match their budgets to affordable neighborhoods. Future stories will explore solutions to South Florida’s housing crisis.

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If you’re a Miamian looking for a great deal on a home in South Florida, keep driving.

Past Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Past that new guitar-shaped hotel.

At Commercial Boulevard, hang a left, and keep going until you’ve reached what calls itself “The city for your life”: Tamarac.

While longtime South Floridians may associate the hamlet with snowbirds and grannies, Tamarac is now a thriving city of more than 66,000. “It’s very up and coming,” says Elvin Villalobos, a Realtor with RE/MAX’s office in Tamarac.

Villalobos has data to back him up. The city’s population has climbed more than 9 percent this decade, about as fast as the rest of Broward County, according to Census data. Last year, the median home price in Tamarac went up 5 percent to $199,945.

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Tamarac, and its many subdivisions, now attracts interest from bargain-hunting locals and Wall Street deal-makers alike. Jose A. Iglesias jiglesias@elnuevoherald.com

“It’s still affordable for what it offers,” said David Mohabair, director of the RE/MAX office out of which Villalobos works. “[There is] an A+ [school], and the city is still more affordable [than neighboring ones].” He observes Tamarac’s millage rate has been decreasing, and water prices in neighboring towns like Sunrise are climbing.

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So $350,000 can get you a lot. That includes brand new homes; unlike last decade’s pop in the real estate market, fresh subdivisions in Tamarac are being built — and occupied. The median waiting period for a home has increased slightly year-on-year but is still at about three months.

An example: A home built in 2016 in the Central Parc subdivision recently listed for $349,000 gets you a 4-bedroom, 3-bath, 1,900-square-foot unit with a granite counter-topped kitchen with an island; stainless-steel appliances; a large master bedroom with a walk-in closet, plus a yard and two-car garage.

For $15,000 more, one unnamed buyer recently landed 3,000 square feet worth of wood-paneled flooring; a 2-car garage; and access to two nearby clubhouses.

A little less still gets you attractive property. An older 3-bedroom, 2-bath was fetching $249,000.

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This 3-bedroom, 2-bath unit in Tamarac was recently priced at $240,000. Jose A. Iglesias jiglesias@elnuevoherald.com

Villalobos said Tamarac has been the beneficiary of American Express opening a regional headquarters in nearby Sunrise, as well as middle-class blacks and Hispanics from farther south looking for more reasonable real estate prices.

And more jobs are coming: Giant private equity fund BlackRock recently announced it was backing the construction of a modern industrial park designed to house tenants like “e-commerce companies, pharmaceutical companies, or potentially an aviation parts manufacturer.”

TAMARAC

Population: 64,262

Median household income: $45,474

Median age: 47.4

Main intersection: North University Drive and West McNab Road

Drive time to downtown Fort Lauderdale: 31 minutes

Drive time to downtown Miami: 48 minutes

Average School Grade: B

Personal Crime Index: 70

Property Crime Index: 86

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