Market Stat Monday: The Plaza on Brickell
Happy Monday! We’re back! After a two week hiatus for Memorial Day and the opening of Brickell Heights, we are resuming #MarketStatMonday with one of Related Group’s top projects from the last building cycle (2004-2008), The Plaza on Brickell. Typically, when I run a market statistics report for a project with more than one tower, I would separate them into two reports. Since The Plaza on Brickell East and The Plaza on Brickell West are largely similar, I’m going to combine them into one overall project report today.
Between the two towers, The Plaza on Brickell has 1,000 apartments that share a common amenity space above the parking garage. It is pet-friendly and family-friendly. While it is not as trendy or flashy as many other buildings in the area, it is very well-kept, has all of the amenities people ask for in the area, the layouts are nice and it remains a popular choice for our clients.
One thing that we have to watch for at Plaza is that the majority of the apartments were delivered with carpet and the majority of original buyers were investors. At this point, most people have changed the carpet, but we still see the occasional listing pop up with the original 9 year old berber rug that nobody wants. Even though it’s an easy fix, we can see a direct effect in the transaction value on those listings, both for rentals and for sales.
So far in 2017, there have been 15 closed sales that were unfurnished non-penthouse apartments. For those who are new to Market Stat Monday, I leave out the “outliers” on our market report. That would be penthouses, town homes, or apartments that have been combined. Buyers are paying on average $438/square foot for their Plaza condos and sellers are negotiating to 95% of their asking price.
One bedrooms sold for between $278,000-$357,000 and two bedrooms sold for between $400,000-$487,000. Yes, the least expensive units sold with carpet. The lowest priced sale of an apartment with hard flooring (tile, wood, laminate) sold for $320,000…. so there you go.
Looking at what is available, there are 83 active listings of non-penthouse/non-townhouse/non-combined units. The average listing price is $497/square foot. Given the fact that sellers are negotiating on average 95% of their asking price, it looks like eager sellers need to amend their price in order to see results.
The part that I once saw as alarming but now come to expect is that at the current rate of sales, we have 33 months’ of inventory waiting to be sold at Plaza. They don’t have any internal drama or litigation that I have heard of. Their HOA dues are lower than the competing buildings in the area, and the design isn’t so trendy that it alienates a portion of the market… quite the contrary. That brings us back to price. If people want to sell, there is a tremendous competition right now for buyers. The apartments need to be shined up, professionally photographed in their Sunday best, and priced properly. No more 9 year old carpet. That doesn’t fly in this market.
As of today, one bedrooms start at $285,000 for a unit with a Brickell Avenue view and original carpet. We are offering a one bedroom with wood laminate floors and a view of the meditation area near the pool for $330,000. If you’re looking for a two bedroom plan, options start at $399,000 for a carpeted unit with a view of Brickell.
I also saw a two bedroom plan with carpeted floors and a South partial-bay view that was listed for $389,452. It was The Plaza East 950 Brickell Bay Drive #2507. Just when I was writing about what a great deal that was for a buyer, the status changed to pending. Congratulations to that buyer!
As we have seen in other buildings during recent weeks, the rental market is much healthier than the sales market. With 30 active unfurnished listings and 99 closed rentals this year, we have almost 2 months’ of inventory in the market right now.
Although the rental market is healthier, the marketing time is on average 78 days, including the time a prospective tenant undergoes their background checks. The apartments that found tenants accepted 96% of their asking price, so again… this is not a fire sale opportunity for tenants who are interested in over-negotiating.
Just like in the sales market, we are seeing the lowest priced listings still have that original 2008 berber carpet that has seen as many as 10 tenants. Even with shampoo, nine year old carpet is beyond its’ intended life span and should be changed. One bedrooms rented between $1,700-$2,200 per month and two bedrooms garner between $2,400-$3,616 per month, with the more expensive rentals being larger plans with hard floors and superior views.
My biggest takeaway for today’s look into The Plaza is that if you are looking to increase your return, whether it be on the rental or the sales market, the first thing you should do is CHANGE THE CARPET! What is your biggest takeaway from The Plaza?