Record number of prime property sales completed in South Florida last year
The luxury property market in South Florida, popular with buyers from around the United States, is recovering with a record number of sales at the top end completed in 2018, new research has found.
There was a record 45 sales above US$10 million last year across Miami-Dade County with buyers from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey a key source of demand, according to the new South Florida Insight report from international property firm Knight Frank.
It points out that with no income tax, no inheritance or estate tax and no sales tax as well as favourable corporate tax rates, the latest sales data looks to support the view that South Florida is firmly back in the spotlight.
The price of prime property in the area has fallen by over 45% in peak to trough terms during the financial crisis but have since strengthen and now stand 55% above their low of 2011
Overall in 2018 prime property prices increased by 3.3% although growth across Miami-Dade County was mixed. Areas such as Coconut Grove continue to register price growth whilst more peripheral markets have seen prices soften.
According to the report, the key indicator that changed in 2018 was the time on the market which started to creep up. ‘Sellers adopted optimistic asking prices in 2018 but this only prolonged the time taken to sell, leading some buyers to make lower offers thinking the property was struggling to find a buyer,’ said Stacey Watson, head of Knight Frank’s US desk.
‘The appeal of owning a US dollar asset, South Florida’s easy accessibility, the state’s comparatively low property costs and its buoyant tourism industry have underpinned investor and second home interest,’ she explained.
She also pointed out that South Florida is home to the largest concentration of international banks in the US and given its extensive business and commercial reach into Latin America, Miami has earnt the name of Wall Street of the South and the financial services sector in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach now employs 635,000.
‘US and European retirees have long favoured South Florida’s temperate winters whilst its proximity and safe haven status has attracted Latin American buyers seeking to shelter capital from turbulent markets back home,’ Watson explained.
The report point out that Miami is the only major city in the US bordered by two national parks, Everglades National Park on the West, and Biscayne National Park on the East, and South Florida’s investment in its infrastructure and world class facilities has played a crucial role in broadening its appeal to a wider demographic.
Miami hosts the world-renowned Art Basel each December and is home to exemplary sports facilities, including nine championship golf courses. Such amenities along with the upgrading of the region’s two main airports, MIA and Fort Lauderdale and new funding for flood defences have helped reboot market sentiment, the report also says.
The high speed Brightline train, soon to be rebranded Virgin Trains USA, has put Miami within a 30 minute train ride of Fort Lauderdale and an hour of West Palm Beach, expanding the city’s commuter belt significantly. A new line to Orlando is expected by 2020.