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Is Downtown Miami’s Condo Market On The Rebound?

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David-Sutta-600x450 David Sutta
David Sutta joined the CBS4 news team in April of 2007. As S...
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MIAMI (CBS4) – Downtown Miami’s once depressed condo housing market may be turning around, if one building is any indication.

Real estate professionals called Icon Brickell the most ambitious condo project in Miami’s history. 17-hundred units that came to market as the economy tanked.

After years of sitting vacant sales agents are telling stories of customers stepping inside and signing half million dollar contracts within minutes.

“This has been an incredible success,” Edgardo Defortuna, President of Fortune International told CBS4’s David Sutta.

Defortuna says in the past week, the 500 unit hotel component sold out. The towers he manages, tower two and three, are not far behind.

When the banks took over towers two and three from the project developers, The Related Group, Defortuna was tasked with selling almost thirteen hundred condos.  As of today they have less than 300 left.  Half of the condos sold in the last 11 months   The banks predicted it would take three to four years to sell the building.  Defortuna plans to be done by the end the year if not sooner.

Amazingly Icon is not unique.

Michael Light of Miami Condo Investments explained “900 Biscanye Bay.  They have 509 units.  As of today they only have 11 available units.  They are 98% sold out.”

Light says the market’s peak of 22,000 condos for sale has dwindled to roughly 3,000.  He says the buying frenzy began in 2010.

“About a year ago prices started creeping up in downtown Miami and people saw this,” said Light. ” They got more terrified of the fact that they might miss.”

The experts say 70% of the deals are all cash.

“85% of the buyers are second home buyers.  Mainly Latin America, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela.” Defortuna said.

With prices slashed up 50% downtown prices are beating the beach. However discounts are disappearing as high-rises sellout.

A dramatic turnaround critics argued was still years out.

“The bird of Miami is not the crane anymore, as the joke went in 2004-2005.  Inventory, once its down it’s down.  Now it’s going to turn into resales only.” Light quipped.

The Downtown Development Authority estimated roughly half the condos were occupied two years ago.  Today the number is estimated to be up around 85%.

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