Statistical Indicators

Few condos remain unsold despite housing downturn

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

An oasis of stability in a struggling condo real estate market, Fort Lauderdale is continuing to outpace the tri-county area, according to a recent report.
Since 2003, roughly 5,100 condominiums were created or converted in the city's downtown and beach area. Now, fewer than 2 percent of the created condominiums remain unsold, according to a report by Condo Vultures, a company that analyzes and consults on real estate markets.
The report states that "downtown Fort Lauderdale and the beach is arguably one of the most stable coastal condo markets in the tri-county South Florida region based strictly on remaining unsold developer units."
The city's condo market continues to show greater signs of recovery than markets in neighboring counties because of an anti-development stance the City Commission took during the real estate boom, said Peter Zalewski, a principal with Condo Vultures. In addition, several planned condo projects were never built.
"Fort Lauderdale did not experience the massive overdevelopment that happened in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach [counties]," said Jack McCabe, owner of McCabe Research & Consulting LLC, which analyzes condo markets. "There were a lot of developers that were upset that they had set this maximum, but it was a wise decision on the part of the city commissioners because it prevented the same type of condo disasters that we're seeing throughout the state."
The remaining unsold units included in the report do not include those in the 298-unit condo-hotel project formerly known as the Trump International Hotel & Tower on Fort Lauderdale beach.
But of the condominiums that were created or converted during the real estate boom in Fort Lauderdale, nearly 5,000 have been sold for an average of $358 per square foot, according to the report. Bulk buyers have been behind the majority of the transactions. Recently, 68 units were sold for $7.65 million in the Village East condominium conversion.
The international market has also played a role in stabilizing Fort Lauderdale. Foreign buyers tend to prefer condos because of the familiarity, said Terri Bersach, president of the Broward County Board of Governors of the Miami Association of Realtors.
"They typically ask about condos," Bersach said. "Internationally, our market is perceived as a safe market

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