Where Will Prices Be 12-24 Months From Now in Brickell?

July 13, 2007 by Lucas Lechuga

Brickell Avenue

Most people would agree that as of right now Brickell and Brickell Key are the luxury neighborhoods of Miami for condominiums. This may change in the future as new luxury neighborhoods have begun to emerge, but as of right now Brickell and Brickell Key hold this title.

It is no secret that Brickell has a large number of condo units coming to market over the next 24 months. Some of these waterfront and nonwaterfront preconstruction buildings in Brickell sold for prices well over $400, $500, and even $600 per square foot when sales were launched during the peak of the real estate market in 2005. Were these condo units sold too high? Where should prices be trading given that the supply far exceeds the demand over the next 24 months in Brickell? Where will prices end up for the new condo units that are coming to market over the next couple of years?

Let me try to dissect these questions. Most people would now answer yes to the first question. At the time, however, interest rates were low, prices were soaring and the market was fueled by speculators looking to profit from the buying frenzy. Two years later, the market is in a completely different state. Speculative investors are nowhere to be found, interest rates continue to climb and thousands of new condo units are set to close in the next 24 months. Earlier this week, ABCNews.com published an article entitled, “Real Estate Fool’s Gold”, which highlighted the overdevelopment problem that Miami is facing. Many investors have hired attorneys to find loopholes in their preconstruction contracts to find a way out, and in effect prevent them from losing money.

Prices will continue to go down until an equilibrium of supply and demand is reached. The question still remains though of “how far down will prices go?”. The Brickell condo index for June provided insight as to how inflated prices have become in Brickell. Some of this was due to the rampant mortgage fraud occurring throughout Brickell, but it was mainly fueled by speculators looking to flip their preconstruction condo contracts for a nice profit.

The South Beach condo index, published yesterday, revealed that prices there are almost one and a half times that of Brickell. However, prices in South Beach have far more stability due to the supply and demand relationship being much closer to equilibrium. An overdevelopment problem doesn’t exist in South Beach like we have in Brickell. This is largely due to the Historic Preservation Committee in South Beach keeping developers in check with stringent development guidelines. Demand to own South Beach property is also much higher. Less supply/more demand equals more stability and therefore less problematic pricing.

I feel that the buildings currently under construction in Brickell, set to be completed in the next 12-24 months, will have problems maintaining the price levels that units were sold for at the peak of the real estate bubble. There will be many opportunities in the months to come to buy at discounted prices in these new developments. This in turn will drive prices down throughout the overall neighborhood of Brickell. I feel that more pricing stability can be found in the buildings that have been around for over five years such as the ones found at the southern end of Brickell Avenue. These include such names as The Palace, Imperial at Brickell, Bristol Tower, Atlantis on Brickell, Santa Maria and Villa Regina.

Next week, I will reveal the second installment of the Brickell condo index. I have a feeling that prices have come down quite a bit in buildings such as Vue at Brickell, Club at Brickell Bay and Jade where much of the mortgage fraud occurred. As a result, each building now has quite a few foreclosures listings. This Miami real estate blog will continue to provide the unbiased insight that you seek.

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