Nicola Schon, Italian restaurateur with residences in Monte Carlo, Milan and New York, wanted the perfect place in Miami, with spacious, ocean view and luxuries like a spa and room service and concierge.
So I bought a $ 1.8 million apartment in the Epic building in downtown Miami, and persuaded 19 Italian friends to also buy in the same building.
"Half of the building's tenants are Italian'' joked Schon, owner of the Quattro and Sosta Restaurant in Miami Beach." We had to put an Italian flag on the roof!''
International buyers are attacking tackles the real estate market in South Florida, acquiring properties at bargain prices. The Epic skyscrapers, Schon paid almost 25 percent less than the price of preconstruction few years ago.
If you add to that the low interest rates and the tax credit for buying homes, selling homes and apartments in the South Florida shot during the first quarter of 2014, according to the quarterly report released Tuesday by Florida Realtors. The figures for April will be released May 24.
In Miami-Dade, selling apartments soared 46 percent in the first quarter to 1,920 units, compared with the same period last year. The average price fell 9 percent to $ 136.100, according to data from Florida Realtors.
The numbers reflect a housing market where prices have generally bottomed out, said analyst David Dabby, president of Dabby Group Advisors in Coral Gables.
"It is a continuation of the trend that began a year ago. Prices have dropped 50 percent compared to the peak of 2010 and that has increased sales significantly'' Dabby said." The trend is expected to be extended because, as 55 percent of sales are [short and foreclosures], the more homes will sell faster sell emerging market due to foreclosures.''
In fact, real estate agents say that buyers who had decided not to sign contracts and living in a rented house have realized that it is time to buy.
Another reason for the increase in sales is the federal tax incentive. Buyers had until April 30 to sign a contract to purchase a primary residence and until June 30 to close the transaction and fulfill the requirements for a federal credit of up to $ 8,000 for purchasing their first home and to $ 6,500 for those who purchase an additional housing.
In April 907 apartments were sold in Miami-Dade, compared to 872 in April 2013; in Broward, the figure was 1,330, compared with 1,003 in the same period last year, according to figures from EWM Realtors, which compiles the information.
Veronica Cervera, president of Cervera Real Estate, based in Miami, specializing in apartments in Brickell, Downtown Miami, Miami Beach and Key Biscayne, said he has seen an increase in the number of foreigners who buy properties, many of them from Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Greece and even China. Many acquire property as a holiday.
International customers will never tell you that prices at these levels in Miami again, Cervera, who sold his unit Schon said.
"The market has bottomed out, it is clear,'' he said." We are now in the process of negotiating more transactions in the last two weeks of the last period, in some of the buildings'' year.
In South Florida there are less than 40,000 apartments and terraced houses (townhouses) of use, the fewest on the market in the past 18 months, according to a new report CondoVultures.com.
Home sales for use in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach is down 23 percent compared to May 2009, when there were 52,000 units on the market, the report said.
. "Inventory is down and Dade down is much faster than in Broward,'' said Peter Zalewski, the firm assists real estate Condo Vultures" Miami forward march: reached the maximum first dimension, play background first and now shows signs of stabilization; other markets go back.''
In the first quarter of this year, sales of single family homes in Miami-Dade dropped 12 percent, to 1,530, amid a 6 percent decline in the median price, to $ 191.200, according to figures from Florida Realtors.
In Broward, condo sales rose 45 percent in the first quarter to 2,739, while the average price was down 15 percent, to $ 71.900. Home sales rose 7 percent to 1,756, while the average price fell 6 percent, to $ 196.700, the figures suggest.
Jeff Watts and his wife Najat, who had lived in Fort Lauderdale and rented earlier in Aventura, just buy a $ 360,000 townhouse in the Rio Vista neighborhood in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
"When we take the accounts to buy the house instead of renting, financially it was better to buy because we had the money for a down payment,'' said Jeff Watts, 34, who works in the banking sector.
Fortunately we are in a market that benefits buyers in terms of negotiating prices and the number of homes for sale, he said.
Liz Caldwell, real estate agent with EWM Realtor who worked Watts said the housing was sold between $ 550,000 and $ 600,000 during the market peak in 2010. Caldwell expects property values recover over time.
"It's probably the worst in terms of value, has already passed,'' Caldwell, who specializes in properties from Weston to Fort Lauderdale said.
"It will be seen in some low value at the more expensive end of the market, but for the average family in which both adults work and want to buy a home between $ 600,000 to $ 700,000, these values have stabilized.''