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FORT LAUDERDALE: “THE VENICE OF AMERICA”

TWO MAJOR POSITIVES THAT ARE BOOSTING THE
LAS OLAS CONDO MARKET

By John D'Angelo

First, is tourism – we have already hit an all time high of 22.9 million Florida visitors annually in the 3rd quarter of 2013. In 2012 a total of 12 million tourists brought $9.8 billion in revenue to Broward County. This directly impacts the real estate sector and the spin-off is seen in the rise of Fort Lauderdale condominium sales.

International visitors are a major driver in the South Florida real estate market. Increased international flights to South Florida has fueled tourism and the arrival of tourists with real estate on their radar seeking second homes and investment opportunities. Fort Lauderdale draws a sophisticated and affluent visitor attracted to the carefree lifestyle of the “Venice of America” and its luxury real estate market. The U.S. dollar is inexpensive in comparison to the currencies of other countries. That in turn, offers an increase in value to the buyer. While we have read about the financial struggles of Europe, Fort Lauderdale’s international visitors are coming from Russia as well as from the two strongest European economies, Germany and England. Most significant though is the real estate investor from North America (U.S. and Canada) and Latin America.

The season has begun and tourists are now arriving in Fort Lauderdale. In no other place is that more obvious than on Las Olas, where restaurants, shops and surrounding streets are inundated with visitors. This is always welcomed by business, translating to more exposure and therefore more demand for high-rise condos with easy access to downtown.

The second major event is the drop in inventory since the beginning of the mortgage crisis. We all know about the foreclosure and short sales that prevailed until just about a year ago. As those properties sold off, there was a slow rise in demand for housing, accelerating the price recovery in the Florida market.

There is now a steady decline in inventory of luxury high-rise condo units in the Las Olas area. As the snowbirds begin their migration south and start to consider a second home, they may find that sellers are commanding and receiving reasonable asking prices reflective of the current market.

The National Association of Realtors reports, “the low number of homes for sale is pushing home prices up to double-digit gains year-over-year.” According to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, “Low inventory is holding back sales while at the same time pushing up home prices in most of the country.”

In the Las Olas area there is little inventory. This has driven purchase prices up creating a positive uptick for investment returns. The new downtown condominium construction that is expected over the next several years will relieve the pressure on inventory.

The sales statistics demonstrate today’s positive market trends and provide a convincing reason for optimism in the Fort Lauderdale real estate market. There has been a considerable rise in sales, we have seen a run up in prices and the numbers overall demonstrate that the market has stabilized.

 

FORT LAUDERDALE READIES FOR BUILDING BOOM

Click here to view CBS Video Link

By Ted Scouten, CBSlocal.com

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Those who may want to live the ‘luxury condo’ lifestyle in Ft. Lauderdale will quickly learn that it may not be as easy to actually own one in the downtown area.

Paul Greenberg owns one of the most popular bars on Las Olas, American Social. He and his wife rent a condo nearby and said that they’re ready to make one their own.

“I’d love to be able to buy a condo,” said Greenberg. “It’s just me and my wife. We’d like a three bedroom condo and grow from there.”

Recently, the D’Angelo Realty Group showed Greenberg a few condos located downtown, but he was in for a real surprise.

“All the units have been purchased,” said John D’Angelo, the broker and owner of D’Angelo Realty Group. “There’s low inventory.”

In all of downtown Ft. Lauderdale, there are only about 40 high-rise condos for sale and they’re pretty pricey.

“In 350 Las Olas Place, there’s approximately 165 units and there are two units currently on the market,” said D’Angelo. “At the Water Garden, there are 315 units with six units for sale.”

The good news is there’s a building boom in downtown.

Click Here for the full list of projects.

Five new buildings are under construction right now and four of them are residential. Another six have already been approved and are ready to break ground and five more are under review waiting for city approval.

In all, 4,000 residential units are in the pipeline.

Click Here for the projects’ map.

“We’re starting to see that live, work, play mentality sort of come to fruition in downtown Ft. Lauderdale,” said Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler.

He is thrilled with the idea that thousands of people will be doing just that in the downtown area.

However, there’s a catch. Not one unit will be for sale. All of the new buildings are rentals.

Seiler said he’s okay with that.

“A lot of people had their credit messed up by this recent downturn, so now they can come back and rent. A couple of years of stability while renting, then they’ll be in the market to buy again,” said Seiler.

For Greenberg, that won’t help him find a place to buy but it sure will do wonders for his already booming business.

“If there are 4,000 new rental units, that can be 10,000 to 12,000 people in town and it’s great for obviously all businesses on Las Olas,” said Greenberg.

Greenberg has just a month and a half left on his current rental. If he does not find something to buy soon he said he’ll rent for another year.

Source: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2013/05/24/ft-lauderdale-readies-for-condo-boom/

 

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