Buying a home in South Florida is easier now than in recent years — sort of. To aide you in your search, we updated our interactive tool that enables you to search for ZIP Codes where median home values match your budget, then easily review school ratings and safety statistics.
Still, the data doesn’t match the on-the-ground reality in every case, and that means attractive pockets can get lost. We’ve highlighted seven lesser-known neighborhoods in our "How to Buy a Home" guide that appeal to different types of buyers. Here is one of them:
The appeal of Sunset, a pocket neighborhood of South Miami, for new home buyers is the ability to “still buy a $400,000 house as a fixer-upper and be surrounded by nice, expensive homes,” says Realtor MaryLou Jalil of First Service Realty. With many lots measuring more than 7,000 square feet, large front and backyards are lushly landscaped with canopies of mangoes, palms and avocado groves.
For Armando Morales, 53, a teacher, and his wife Diana, 52, an accountant, their Sunset home’s 10,800-square-foot yard with its three-bedroom, two-bath house appraised at $340,000 was a major draw. They closed on the purchase in July 2016 after selling their previous home in Doral.
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“When we were newlyweds, we couldn’t afford this area,” Armando says. “It reminds me of old Americana, what the suburbs used to be. We’re a couple of blocks from the park. You can hear the kids playing football and baseball. They’ve got fireworks displays… And I just fell in love with the oak tree in our front yard.”
Other pluses: excellent schools, a central location and proximity to Sunset Place and downtown South Miami. “Sunset’s accessibility to U.S. 1, the Palmetto and the Turnpike puts it close to downtown and within easy to access Coral Gables and Coconut Grove,” says Realtor Patricia Winston, who’s with Coldwell Banker.
Many of the renovated and modernized ranch homes and cottages were built in the 1950s and ’60s. The neighborhood is peppered with gated communities, sleek, new minimalist homes and spacious two-story Mediterranean Revival homes built in the past 20 years.
According to Jalil’s comparative market analysis, about 80 homes in Sunset are now on the market, ranging in price from $340,000 for a 1,994 square-foot fixer-upper to $2.1 million for a newer home inside a gated community on nearly 11,000 square feet of land.
“Usually you don’t have this much variance in one neighborhood,” says Realtor Mike DeRosa with the Cinthia Ane’ Team. “But home values are holding steadily, which means the market is strong. You don’t see a lot of volatility. Everyone wants to be here, so lower-priced homes don’t stay on the market for long.”
Location: Just west of South Miami Hospital, north and south of Southwest 72nd Street (also known as Sunset Drive)
ZIP code: 33173
Best for: Families, couples that work in Coral Gables, South Miami or in proximity to the Palmetto Expressway.
Median value: $360,000
Market increase: 9.9 percent
School ratings: Excellent