Business Monday

80 new condo towers under construction in South Florida east of I-95

Peter Zalewski
Peter Zalewski

Three years after a crane was assembled to build the first new condo tower in South Florida after the 2007 real estate crash, at least 80 towers are now under construction east of Interstate 95 in the tricounty region of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

The nearly seven dozen new condo projects currently under construction in South Florida are in addition to the 20 towers that have already been developed since this current real estate cycle began in 2011.

The combination of newly completed towers and projects currently under construction represents about one-third of the more than 300 new towers announced to date for South Florida, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com.

For disclosure, my consulting firm operates the website.

The remaining 200 condo towers announced for South Florida are in some form of the planning and marketing phase.

More than 80 towers are currently seeking the necessary local governmental approval to build. An additional 122 towers have been approved and are working to generate enough presale contracts with hefty deposits of up to 50 percent of the purchase price to warrant the launching of construction.

It is important to note when counting the cranes dotting the coastline that dozens of additional cranes have also been assembled in South Florida to build new apartment towers specifically targeting tenants in the tricounty region where rental rates are at record highs.

To better understand the importance of the construction cranes to the current South Florida real estate cycle, consider that developers have only completed about 1,200 units to date and are currently building an additional 11,150 units east of I-95.

Condo towers in these two categories — completed and under construction — represent nearly 31 percent of the 40,000 new units proposed for South Florida during this real estate cycle.

The remaining 27,600 new condo units announced for South Florida are in the pipeline with 13,200 units — about 33 percent of the overall new condo total — seeking approval to build.

Many of the other 14,400 units — about 36 percent of the total announced condos — already have approval in place and are in the midst trying to secure enough presale buyers to justify going vertical with construction.

To date, this South Florida condo construction boom is primarily a Miami-Dade phenomenon.

Some 63 towers with more than 9,500 units are under construction, and an additional nine towers with nearly 1,000 units have been completed since 2011 in Miami-Dade.

Developers have an additional 54 towers with 7,400 units for which they are seeking approval. Some 73 towers with nearly 10,600 units have already obtained clearance to begin development.

The construction activity falls off dramatically north of Miami-Dade County.

Broward County is the next most active new condo market with 15 towers with nearly 1,500 units under construction and one tower with fewer than 50 units that has already been completed.

For Broward, 13 towers with nearly 4,800 units are seeking approval to build. An additional 30 towers with nearly 1,500 units have already obtained that permission.

In Palm Beach County, developers are constructing two towers with more than 165 units. An additional 10 buildings with 160 units have been completed since 2011.

Developers in Palm Beach County have 15 towers with nearly 1,050 units for which approvals are being sought. An additional 19 towers with more than 2,300 units have already secured the go-ahead to build in Palm Beach County.

It is evident that South Florida is in the midst of another condo construction boom. What is less clear is whether foreign buyers will continue to be able to purchase preconstruction condo units in South Florida at the same velocity in the upcoming months given a combination of rising local real estate prices, a strengthening U.S. dollar and an overall slowdown in the global economy.

The unanswered question is whether domestic buyers — who have generally sat out this preconstruction condo boom — will suddenly be able to increase their purchasing activity to the level necessary for developers to proceed with the proposed new towers.

Peter Zalewski is a principal with the Miami real estate consultancy Condo Vultures. Zalewski, a licensed Florida real estate professional since 1995 and founder of CVR Realty and Condo Vultures Realty LLC, advises developers, lenders and institutional investors. Zalewski also runs the preconstruction condo project website CraneSpotters.com in conjunction with the Miami Association Of Realtors.

Status overview of announced condo towers east of I-95

1. South Florida

Status

Towers

Floors

Units

Share Of South

Florida Units

Total

304

5,828

39,898

100%

Proposed (unapproved)

82

1,504

13,206

33.1%

Planned (approved)

122

2,289

14,354

36%

Under construction

80

1,767

11,148

27.9%

Completed (since 2011)

20

268

1,190

3%

2. Broward

Total

59

500

7,752

19.4%

Proposed (unapproved)

13

25

4,767

11.9%

Planned (approved)

30

288

1,470

3.7%

Under construction

15

163

1,466

3.7%

Completed (since 2011)

1

24

49

0.1%

3. Miami-Dade

Total

199

4,749

28,475

71.4%

Proposed (unapproved)

54

1,295

7,400

18.5%

Planned (approved)

73

1,688

10,578

26.5%

Under construction

63

1,560

9,516

23.9%

Completed (since 2011)

9

206

981

2.5%

4. Palm Beach

Total

46

579

3,671

9.2%

Proposed (unapproved)

15

184

1,039

2.6%

Planned (approved)

19

313

2,306

5.8%

Under construction

2

44

166

0.4%

Completed (since 2011)

10

38

160

0.4%

Source: CraneSpotters.com (as of Dec. 17)

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