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Feeling Good

01.07.21

As we ease out of lockdown, Florida is ahead of the game in enticing overseas property buyers back to its sun-kissed shores.

In a nation in which homeownership is synonymous with the American dream, counting the potential ways in which Biden’s Presidency could shake up the US housing market makes for an engaging bout of crystal ball gazing. Yet while change is inevitable as the new government beds in the capacity to successfully attract inward investment, especially to the perennially popular Sunshine State of Florida, doesn’t appear to be a cause for concern. The market has seen a rise in sale prices for 112 consecutive months, and with lower mortgage interest rates and the Covid-19 pandemic spurring on buyers, it’s not unduly surprising the purchase now trend has exploded.

A recent report from the Florida Realtors Research Department found the average price for single-family homes reached $315,900 in February 2021 – an increase of 16.6% from the same month last year.

Meanwhile, average property prices for condominiums and townhouses in the state were $233,240 – also up 16.6% from 2020.

Demand from overseas has also grown despite travel disruptions over the last year, with one in five international buyers snapping up property in Florida, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Along with its low taxes, exceptional weather and thriving economy, the Sunshine State is expected to see an influx of buyers – local and foreign – due to its wide selection of homes.

Florida Keys

One the USA’s most captivating stretches of coastline stretching from Key Largo at its northern point to Key West near its southern tip; more than 100 miles of oceanfront sit between Florida Keys’ saltwater wilderness of Everglades National Park and the Florida Straits. The area has long been popular with wealthy northern buyers. Today, inventory is approximately 42% lower than it was at this time last year. And even in Key West, where new construction is non- existent and prices are higher than average, homes that have sat on the market for hundreds of days are being snapped up.

Island communities such as Big Pine Key and Marathon attract wealthy holiday home buyers with an appetite for water sports including snorkelling and scuba diving. The archipelago’s other draw is its relaxed atmosphere with a small town feel to many of the communities.

While Key Largo and Key West have the highest profile in the Keys, some of the biggest home sales have taken place in Islamorada, an island community about a third of the way down the Keys. Here, stylish three bed detached homes with first come dockage can be picked up for $950,000.

Fort Lauderdale

Located 23 miles north of Miami on Florida’s Gold Coast criss-crossed by canals, creeks and rivers and boasting over 300 miles of navigable waterways, Fort Lauderdale’s renaissance unofficially began a little over a decade ago with the revitalisation of Las Olas Boulevard, the city’s hub of hip. This former quaint district of small shops has exploded into a lively downtown village, with upscale restaurants, designer boutiques and urban chic property taking hold.

The city has traditionally attracted sunbirds seeking relief from dipping temperatures elsewhere in the US and Canada; its moniker “Venice of America” also attracting foreign investors seeking a chic waterfront bolthole.

According to Sheryl Hodor of luxury agents Hodor and Hotchkiss, the market has changed greatly from this time last year mixed use projects combining high rises, luxury townhouses and commercial space are the most prominent real estate trend, driven by a conscientious city government keen to ensure efficient use and sympathetic restoration of existing downtown residences.

Those looking for over the top estates will find them at Fort Lauderdale’s Rio Vista and Harbor Beach, where multimillion dollar properties, many with mega yachts, attract the high-end buyer. In contrast, historic neighbourhoods like Victoria Park, with tree canopied streets, have mostly 1950s renovated homes priced from $500,000.

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