home salesSomething really amazing is happening in Florida’s Palm Beach County. In this year alone, the number of homes purchased for $1 million and more in the first quarter rose by 16%, and that is from the same quarter a year ago. This more than anything, is the proof of a real change in the real estate market of Florida.

As if that is not enough, this is the second consecutive year in which the county’s extremely wealthy would snap up more luxurious residences than they did the year before. In the first quarter of last year, a whopping 69% more residences in the $1-million-and-above range were sold in the Palm Beach County than in the same period in 2012. The sales of those homes had been constant throughout the 2011-2012 period. In the first quarter of this year, a total of 245 single-family homes were snapped up for over $1 million or more in Palm Beach.

That revelation was disclosed, based on the figures sourced from the public records and the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. The most mouth-watering of these homes was bought for a tear-inducing $30 million. It was a waterside palace located at 101 El Bravo Way in the county. That majestic residence has a total of seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, three half-baths, two living rooms and an underground space that could used as a wine cellar or a corner for games. Of the two rooms, one is perched above the pool while the other is looking out to the ocean.

But residents are surely shelling out hard cash to buy these palatial residences. Just last month, philanthropist Lois Pope dropped the sum of $16.2 million for an ocean-to-Intracoastal mansion situated at 1720 S. Ocean Boulevard in Manalapan. Richard DeVos, the rich founder of Amway, sold the edifice and this particular transaction did not enter the data collated for the first quarter. Not far away in Highland Beach, the massive 6,788-square-foot beachfront residence of former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was sold for $4.7 million. Also within the same vicinity, a water view pad owned by Jeff Gordon, a NASCAR driver was purchased for $12.5 million. It has seven bedrooms and an underground garage that could contain up to 12 cars.

But the drama is still going on even as the million-dollar sales are increasing. For example, some buyers can still be very discriminating or just decide to be indecisive or slash the amount, just like Pope paid almost $ 4 million less than what the Amway founder asked for earlier in the year. Factors responsible for this huge leap in sales are the increased confidence in the price rates, steady low mortgage rates and an absence of inventory. But that is not all that is fueling the incredible purchase of these ultra-expensive homes. The major gains in the stock market and the relatively low valuation of the real estate market in South Florida compared with what obtains globally. These factors have converged to create a very unique real estate market in Florida.


Javier Gonzalez is a real estate agent based in Miami and any time he is asked how the housing business in South Florida is doing, he lets out a loud cackle. According to Gonzalez, who works with RE/MAX Advance Realty, it is a very convoluted question with no easy answer. To complicate issues, each market in the area has its own unique dynamics and it is not always easy to use the same gauge for all.

The Miami homes real estate market is one of the most enticing in the country. House hunters have a variety of options that they can select from. The profuse diversity ensures that buyers can make selections from two-story penthouses perched on the beaches to a dilapidated apartment that has been foreclosed. While the former can go for as high as tens of millions of dollars, the latter can exchange hands for less than $10,000. In addition, there are countless options on both edges of the spectrum.

For each area and region in South Florida, each neighborhood comes with its own range of prices and residence type, from condos to homes for single families. Some others are in the same category or neighborhood, and fall within the same price range. In some other places, there are many options to select from while in other areas, it can be quite hard to make a selection.

To know how serious this is, there are those buying homes for the first time had to search all of South Beach for up to one year before they were able to finally get the house they wanted. Therefore, it can be quite competitive, particularly for those who have no idea on how to do the running around in the area to seal the real estate deals.

For some others, they got the buildings that they wanted but they were rebuffed by the sellers. In some other instances, the homebuyers felt the property was simply too pricey and they could not afford to splurge such cash. These are some of the reasons why the real estate market in Florida is not easy to predict or explain at certain times.


A condominium located at 9701 Collins Avenue, Bal Harbour has gone for a princely $22.75 million. It is over 14,000 square feet in area and the old owner was 9701 25th Floor Condo Inc., a corporation based in Delaware. The owner and only shareholder of which is Yuriy Kosyuk, a billionaire business executive from Ukraine who deals with poultry and food products. The penthouse was snapped up by 9701 Collins LLC – a limited liability company that is also based in Delaware.

The house has been described by Coldwell Banker Realtor Tim Elmes, who also doubles as the listing agent, as having an entire top floor with spectacular 360-degree views. When it was initially designed, the plan was to have five separate units. Although this particular sale almost hit the roof, it did not smash the records for condo sales in Miami.

According to Jeff Miller, an agent working with Zilbert International Realty, The Setai penthouse claims the top spot with the sum of $27 million in January 2013. Miller was in charge of that particular sale and it remains one of the highest for a condo in all of Miami. After that, two units have been rolled into one at The Edition Miami Beach and went under contract for an incredible $34 million. For the big numbers, Miami is it.