Florida was hit hard by the real estate crisis, but there are signs that the market is starting to improve, thanks in part to foreign investors. Sales are up 58 percent in Miami-Dade County compared to totals from March 2010. Condominium sales were up 84 percent in March. April 2011 may very well be remembered as the period when real estate sales started to truly improve.
Many of the new investors for higher-end properties are coming from investors outside the United States: Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Romania, and France. This shows that foreign investors still believe real estate may be a better investment for their money than having the money sit in banks, and that buyers are starting to regain confidence in the real estate market.
“We see the prices going up and we see people being assured it’s okay to buy now,” says Ralph De Martino, Residential President of the realtor association. “Most of the foreclosures, when they come on the market, they’re sold in a matter of days.”
Is this the start of better days to come? It may be too early to tell at this point, but even the illusion that things are getting better may actually help give South Florida’s real estate market the jump start it needs.
Many of the estimated 27,000 condo units built between 2003 and 2007 in South Florida saw a massive property value drop by as much as 40 percent. Foreclosures were rampant, and development came to a halt. Now, The Related Group, a major developer, is planning to build a new 35-story condo tower in Brickell Key, an island community in Miami. Some are predicting this new development will be the precursor to many more.