As Miami’s Booming Real Estate Market Spills Over, Fort Lauderdale Sees Luxury Listings Spike
Few American cities continue to boom during the pandemic quite like Miami. From Golden Beach to South Beach, Indian Creek to Coral Gables, the South Florida metropolis saw a surge of newcomers lured by its open spaces and tax-friendly business environment. How big was Miami’s boom? Total home sales rose by around 50 percent in 2021, according to the Miami Association of Realtors, with median prices up nearly 20 percent from April 2021 to April 2022 alone.
Unsurprisingly, much of Miami’s market momentum has spilled over into neighboring cities, most notably Fort Lauderdale—the canal-filled boater haven just 30 miles north of Miami and famous worldwide for its annual must-visit International Boat Show. Bustling and breezy with a major airport connected to Europe, Canada, Latin America and most US markets, the city has long stood as a modest-sized alternative to hustling-and-bustling Miami. But South Florida’s real-estate surge has hit Fort Lauderdale as well, with single-family homes and especially new-build condo towers fetching record sums, both along the waterfront and out to less-developed neighboring hamlets such as Pompano Beach and Hallandale Beach.
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Along the way, global brands such as Auberge, Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton are lending their imprimatur to many of the priciest (and poshest) projects, helping to further solidify Fort Lauderdale’s status as an UHNW real-estate destination all its own. Longtime industry observer Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc. Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants, describes the city’s ascent as part of what a “market restructure looks like in Florida… [where a] pivot to the perception of a ‘good place to work’ from merely a ‘good place to visit’ has brought in more luxury brands” beyond the region’s better-known locales such as Miami and Palm Beach.
Those brands are helping Fort Lauderdale reach prices unimaginable before the pandemic. In late September, for instance, a 6,000-square-foot penthouse at the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences closed for $15.4 million, the most expensive condo ever sold in both Fort Lauderdale and wider Broward County. The sale follows a previous Four Seasons penthouse that went for $13.6 million, another record tally. Both condos feature private pools as well as access to public spaces by hip London-based interior designer Tara Bernerd. The development, which is connected to an equally splashy hotel, is sold out.
Those record-setting Four Seasons prices have paved the way for other Lauderdale-area developments. The Residences at Pier Sixty-Six, for instance, boast access and exclusive owner privileges to the restaurant-packed Pier Sixty-Six Marina. Pier Sixty-Six’s residences will initially offer 62 condominiums sized between two and four bedrooms and priced from $3.85 million. The development, which is expected to be completed in early 2024, offers rare direct access to the city’s marina, which buyers clearly covet. “The average Fort Lauderdale condo sale price in Q3 2022 for units over $3 million was up 51 percent year-over-year overall,” says Amy Ballon, director of sales for Pier Sixty-Six. “Properties with marina or boat-slip options in Fort Lauderdale were selling at a higher price per square foot than in Miami-Dade last year.”
Also within Fort Lauderdale itself is Selene Oceanfront Residences, a 194-condo development close to the Four Seasons. Designed by leading local architect Kobi Karp, the project’s two- and three-bedroom homes are priced from roughly $900,000, with top-tier penthouses starting at $10.8 million. And then there’s Auberge Beach Residences & Spa Fort Lauderdale, set on a prime 4.2-acre beachfront plot with a hotel as well as 171 Meyer Davis–designed apartments spread among a pair of shimmering towers. The project sold out quickly after its debut in 2019, though resales are fetching strong numbers. Finally, Edition is also launching with a “boutique” 65-unit site priced from $3 million. The public spaces of the residences-only project will be designed by New York–based ODA while the design of the residences themselves will be executed by ethereal Irish designer Clodagh.
Much as Fort Lauderdale is experiencing a “spill-over” effect from Miami, so too are its closest neighbors. Just north of town, the new Ritz-Carlton Residences, Pompano Beach is currently rising on a wind-swept 2.25-acre slice of sand within a pair of residential towers: the 32-floor Beach Tower, with 117 homes directly on the Atlantic, along with a 14-floor Marina Tower, which has 88 residences set along the Intracoastal Waterway. The project is priced from $4 million to over $10 million in the Beach Tower and from $929,000 to $2.5 million in the Marina Tower. Also in Pompano Beach are a pair of projects from Related, the sold-out Solemar and the new-to-market Casamar, whose 119 waterfront homes begin at $1.5 million and feature architecture and interior design by, among others, David Rockwell. And just announced is Marina Vista Residences, a 121-unit condo on a rare unobstructed inlet between the Atlantic and the Intracoastal Waterway developed by the Chetrit Group.
Lastly, just south of Fort Lauderdale, in Hallandale Beach, is 2000 Ocean, whose sleek, aquiline design is courtesy of Mexican architect Enrique Norten. The 38-floor waterfront glass tower has 64 homes—all at least a half-floor in size and priced from $3.2 million (penthouses start at $10.5 million). The development is among the first of its caliber in the Hallandale area, which is, says project developer Shahab Karmely with just a hint of hype, “now the epicenter of low-key cool, combining the excitement of Miami with a laid-back Malibu vibe.”
Although Fort Lauderdale is now commanding record prices, the city still offers more mortar for your dollar than Miami. Smaller and lower-profile, Fort Lauderdale’s vibe will always serve as a sleepier and cozier alternative to Miami’s raucous energy. “Fort Lauderdale buyers don’t want Miami, but rather a smaller city with a lower density,” says Scott Gerow, executive director of luxury sales at Compass and principal of the Cotilla Beresh Gerow Luxury Team, which specializes in the Fort Lauderdale market. “High-rise construction has certainly pushed north from Miami, and Fort Lauderdale is reaping the benefits of that expansion.”
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