• Preconstruction condos emerge as SoFla darling

    Some six years after the South Florida real estate market began to collapse, preconstruction condo units emerged once again as the investment darling of the local market in 2013.

    The seemingly endless influx of foreign buyers from Latin America, Western Europe and Russia willing to hand over 50 percent deposits for preconstruction units has triggered a surge in proposed condo towers on the South Florida coast.

    In the last days of 2013, nearly 185 new condo towers with more than 24,800 units have already been proposed for sites east of I-95 in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com.

    Compare this to less than three years ago, when the Melo Group launched presales in the second quarter of 2011 for the first new condo tower to be developed in Greater Downtown Miami since the last real estate crash.

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  • SoFla real estate firms ramp up in 2013

    Encouraged by the resurgent South Florida market, many real estate firms expanded their presence in the region in 2013.

    Major companies like Avison Young, Douglas Elliman Florida and Related ISG International Realty ramped up in South Florida this year. Industry employment surged throughout the state. Year-over-year real estate sales, leasing and other industry jobs rose 4.4 percent to 169,500 in November 2013, according to the latest figures from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

    Other firms, like GMA Realty, set the stage for future expansion. The brokerage announced in October plans to add up to 75 real estate agents and mortgage brokers after opening a 3,000-square-foot office in Hollywood. GMA is shifting from a primary focus on distressed properties acquired by hedge funds to a broader array of real estate transactions.

    Below are some of the most notable company expansions, mergers and hirings in South Florida this year.

    Douglas Elliman Florida brings in new CEO

    Attorney and entrepreneur Jay Phillip Parker took over the helm of Douglas Elliman’s Florida operations during a year when the brokerage put a heavy emphasis on South Florida real estate.

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  • Brickell’s new construction boom a surprise to developers

    Real estate development’s rapid rebound in Brickell, with undertakings such as the $1.05 billion Brickell CityCentre and several high-profile condominium projects, has come as a pleasant surprise even to developers.

    Last week, the Rilea Group broke ground on the Bond, a 43-story, 328-unit condominium project at 1080 Brickell Avenue. Diego Ojeda, a vice president at Rilea, told Miami Today that “construction has come back really fast, a lot faster than everyone thought.”

    Ojeda credited Related’s MyBrickell, a 28-story, 192-unit condo project at 75 Sixth Street, with being the catalyst for the new wave of condo development. Related is also planning a three-tower development at 444 Brickell Avenue, as previously reported.

    Ojeda did point out, however, that construction costs were quickly rising, and cautioned developers to get moving on projects as soon as possible, according to Miami Today. [Miami Today] – Hiten Samtani

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