Miami's newest condo tower offerings close to sellouts
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
Several newly-built condominium towers in Miami's urban core are close to selling out about a year after sales took off, surpassing the projections of their sales teams.
The international buyer appetite for new condos priced at discounts, coupled with domestic buyers joining the action after sitting on the sidelines, is fueling demand for units in areas like downtown Miami, Brickell and Omni.
The 530-unit Mint at Riverfront in downtown was released to the market for new sales in January after pre-construction contract holders were given the option to close.
About 380 units have sold out of 530 built, with 150 remaining available, said Victor Ballestas, regional managing director of ST Residential, which handles the sales.
"We've had a steady sales pace," Mr. Ballestas said. "We have even been able to increase prices since our release."
With the strong demand for Mint units, price tags have increased 10% to 15% since sales begun, rising from about $300 per square foot to $340.
"I think we may have underestimated the quality of the project," he said, "and the fact that, at that price point, we are delivering a lot."
Most Mint buyers are international, primarily from such Latin American countries as Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina.
Mr. Ballestas estimates the residential tower is to wrap sales in the first half of next year.
"Our strategy is to continue to sell at reasonable rates," he said. "For what the market is offering, we are still priced below…"
ST Residential also leads sales at the 459-condo Infinity at Brickell, which is running out of inventory with 40 units left to sell.
The realty group began sales at there in January with an inventory of 250 units, Mr. Ballestas said, as the original developer had sold about 200.
He said he expects to finish sales at Infinity by year's end.
"They [the units] are selling more rapidly" than expected, he said. "Everybody was surprised with the appetite for this product."
In the Omni area, Marquis Residences saw sales take off in January 2010, with realty firm Cervera Real Estate taking the reins that June.
A year and a half after sales started, the 292-unit condominium is about 71% sold, said Wendy Marks Pine, the sales director.
Marquis, at 1100 Biscayne Blvd., has sold out of the smallest and largest units, the one- and four-bedrooms, she noted, with about 85 two- and three-bedroom units available.
They range from 1,477 square feet to 3,000 and prices run from $590,000 to $2.2 million.
Most Marquis buyers are also internationals, mainly from Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina, as well as some from Mexico and China.
About 70% of all buyers are paying cash and 30% obtaining financing, Ms. Marks Pine said. An estimated 30% are renting out the units, with a one-bedroom leasing for about $3,500 per month.
Ms. Marks Pine said she expects to finish sales at the luxury tower by next February or March.
"I don't have a crystal ball. I wish I did," she said. "Realistically, we are going to have a strong season… As inventory is depleted, more buyers are now aware of Marquis."
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