Business Monday

Winter buying season loses clout with South Florida condo resellers

Peter Zalewski
Peter Zalewski

The winter buying season when visitors from cold climates in the Northern Hemisphere descend upon sunny South Florida to thaw out and shop for second homes may not carry the purchasing clout that some may have thought.

An analysis of data from the Southeast Florida MLXchange suggests the most active time statistically to resell an existing South Florida condo or townhouse located east of Interstate 95 in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties is actually in the spring and summer time of the year.

For at least the sixth year running, more than half of all condo and townhouse resales to occur near the coast in South Florida have transacted between the months of April and September, which constitute the second and third quarters of the year.

The preliminary data show that 2014 was no different with nearly 54 percent of all condo and townhouse resales transacting in the second and third quarters of last year. The final Realtor statistics for 2014 are scheduled to be released before the end of this month.

Prior to 2014, South Florida condo and townhouse transactions in the spring and summer of the year accounted for more than 54 percent of the activity in 2013, about 53 percent in years 2012 and 2011 and 52 percent in 2010 and 2009, according to the data.

On a county-by-county basis between 2009 and 2014, buyers in Miami-Dade County acquired between 51 percent and 55 percent of the total units to transact in any given year during the spring and summer.

In Broward, condo and townhouse resale deals in the second and third quarters represented between 51 percent and 54 percent of the units that traded during that six-year period.

For Palm Beach County, condo and townhouse resales in the spring and summer months represented from 53 percent to 55 percent of the transactions between 2009 and 2014, according to the data.

It is impossible to know for sure but the time at which South Florida condo and townhouse resales are trading suggests two types of buyers.

One group is most likely comprised of locals hoping to move during the long summer school break. The other is made up of international visitors from the Southern Hemisphere who are fleeing their winters by coming to South Florida.

This year’s buying activity in the spring and summer will be particularly noteworthy seeing how the U.S. dollar is strengthening against various foreign currencies, commodity prices — a mainstay of many South American economies — are falling, and the world economy is facing increased growth challenges. Added to this, the South Florida condo and townhouse market is in the midst of another condo boom with prices on the rise and supply growing.

In 2015, an estimated 6,400 new condo units — many of which have reportedly been sold to foreign buyers — are scheduled to be completed east of Interstate 95 in the tricounty South Florida region, according to the Miami Herald. An additional 11,700 new South Florida condo units are scheduled to be finished in 2016 and 2017.

Some industry watchers have raised concerns that the combination of factors could prompt some foreign buyers from the Southern Hemisphere — who bought up many of South Florida’s distressed and unsold new units during the last cycle — to pull back on their condo and townhouse acquisitions in South Florida.

The unanswered question going forward is whether the trend will continue in the years ahead when the spring and summer seasons are the most active time for condo and townhouse resales in South Florida.

Peter Zalewski is a principal with the Miami real estate consultancy Condo Vultures. He is a licensed real estate professional and founder of CVR Realty and Condo Vultures Realty LLC. He also runs the preconstruction condo project website CraneSpotters.com with the Miami Association Of Realtors.

Tracking coastal condo, townhouse resale activity

This reflects the quarterly resales of units located east of I-95

Year / Quarter

South Florida

Miami-Dade

Broward

Palm Beach

Units

Share

Units

Share

Units

Share

Units

Share

2014

22,082

100%

10,667

100%

5,827

100%

5,588

100%

Q1

5,179

23.5%

2,539

23.8%

1,362

23.4%

1,278

22.9%

Q2

6,481

29.3%

3,042

28.5%

1,714

29.4%

1,725

30.9%

Q3

5,370

24.3%

2,629

24.6%

1,436

24.6%

1,305

23.4%

Q4

5,052

22.9%

2,457

23.0%

1,315

22.6%

1,280

22.9%

2013

23,424

100%

11,790

100%

6,047

100%

5,587

100%

Q1

5,349

22.8%

2,594

22.0%

1,395

23.1%

1,360

24.3%

Q2

6,750

28.8%

3,353

28.4%

1,726

28.5%

1,671

29.9%

Q3

5,963

25.5%

3,158

26.8%

1,522

25.2%

1,283

23.0%

Q4

5,362

22.9%

2,685

22.8%

1,404

23.2%

1,273

22.8%

2012

22,054

100%

11,018

100%

5,643

100%

5,393

100%

Q1

4,863

22.1%

2,379

21.6%

1,238

21.9%

1,246

23.1%

Q2

6,298

28.6%

3,022

27.4%

1,635

29.0%

1,641

30.4%

Q3

5,320

24.1%

2,753

25.0%

1,313

23.3%

1,254

23.3%

Q4

5,573

25.3%

2,864

26.0%

1,457

25.8%

1,252

23.2%

2011

22,745

100%

11,223

100%

6,137

100%

5,385

100%

Q1

5,835

25.7%

2,829

25.2%

1,620

26.4%

1,386

25.7%

Q2

6,594

29.0%

3,138

28.0%

1,821

29.7%

1,635

30.4%

Q3

5,456

24.0%

2,715

24.2%

1,416

23.1%

1,325

24.6%

Q4

4,860

21.4%

2,541

22.6%

1,280

20.9%

1,039

19.3%

2010

18,911

100%

9,099

100%

5,620

100%

4,192

100%

Q1

4,206

22.2%

1,892

20.8%

1,394

24.8%

920

21.9%

Q2

5,268

27.9%

2,397

26.3%

1,617

28.8%

1,254

29.9%

Q3

4,565

24.1%

2,345

25.8%

1,259

22.4%

961

22.9%

Q4

4,872

25.8%

2,465

27.1%

1,350

24.0%

1,057

25.2%

2009

14,964

100%

7,196

100%

4,459

100%

3,309

100%

Q1

2,843

19.0%

1,461

20.3%

769

17.2%

613

18.5%

Q2

3,849

25.7%

1,859

25.8%

1,059

23.7%

931

28.1%

Q3

3,877

25.9%

1,829

25.4%

1,230

27.6%

818

24.7%

Q4

4,395

29.4%

2,047

28.4%

1,401

31.4%

947

28.6%

SOURCE: CRANESPOTTERS.COM compiled this data from the Southeast Florida MLXchange on Jan.13.

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