Luxury condo activity doubled in Miami Beach and the surrounding barrier islands in the first three months of 2018 compared to last year—a better-than-expected start to the year in South Florida, according to data released Thursday from Douglas Elliman and appraisal firm Miller Samuel.
Contracts signed for luxury Miami Beach condos—defined as the top 10% of the market—rose 92% in the first quarter. In mainland Miami, total contracts for luxury condos at the end of March were up 22% over last year—a sign that even South Florida’s weakest point is seeing some revival.
“Things are better than originally expected,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel and author of the reports.
South Florida’s luxury condo market, particularly in Miami Beach, has suffered from overdevelopment in the past two years such that developers began canceling and postponing new projects.
The newest data suggests things are perking up, though the luxury sector is still moving at least three times slower than the overall market, according to the data.
“The market at the high end is improving in some sense but its still moving slowly. The mainstream market is moving three times faster,” Mr. Miller said.
Meanwhile, median single-family home prices rose to record levels for the ninth consecutive quarter in mainland Miami. The median price of a luxury single-family home there jumped 18% since last year to $1.415 million.
In Palm Beach—home to President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club—activity continued its upswing from last year.
House sales have jumped 50% from a year ago, while condo and townhouse sales have increased 27%, according to Douglas Elliman. In general, inventory couldn’t keep up with the rate of sales on the island.
Palm Beach saw a sales bump specifically in the very high-end Estates neighborhood, according to a report on Palm Beach by Corcoran, also released Thursday.
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Sales in the ritzy area jumped 150% since last year, with the average home there selling for $8.134 million, Corcoran said.
Brokers in the region are seeing an influx of buyers from high-tax states like New York, Connecticut and California as a result of an overhaul to the federal tax code in December, said Bill Yahn, Corcoran’s regional senior vice president of South Florida. He noted a particular increase in bankers and financiers from the New York City suburbs.
“The recent change in the tax law has had a big influence on people’s thoughts about South Florida,” Mr. Yahn said.
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