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Hot condo market and Porsche Tower

By Polyana da Costa ·
Monday, July 2, 2012
Posted: 1 pm ET

The poster child of the housing crash seems ready for round two of the condo craze.

There are at least 45 news condominium towers proposed for construction in South Florida, says Peter Zalewski, owner of the Miami-based real estate consultancy firm Condo Vultures.

My favorite one: The Porsche Tower, a 57-story planned condo project that has one of the coolest features I have ever seen in a building -- a car elevator that allows residents to park their cars right in front of their units. Condo owners will able to drive into a glass elevator that takes them directly to their apartments while they sit in their cars enjoying the ocean view.

The project is a partnership between Germany's Porsche Design Group and Miami-based Dezer Properties. If you plan to buy one, start saving now. Units will range from $2.9 million to $9 million.

It's nice to see Miami's market rebounding but I hope all this optimism comes with caution.

The last time developers went on a building spree in South Florida, the music stopped and they were left with thousands of newly built unsold units on the market.

The word "condo" turned into almost a dirty word in Miami and lenders wanted to stay away from them, no matter how good the buyer's credit was. Those who had bought condos and couldn't afford to pay, couldn't sell, including a housekeeper I once met. She had bought two $500,000-units in downtown Miami as an investment. She was told she could flip the properties in two years, for twice what she had paid. Yeah, that didn't happen.

Some condo experts say this time it will be different because most of the condo buyers who are contributing to the surge in condo prices in Miami have been paying cash. Most are wealthy foreign buyers from South America.

The 3,900 developer-owned condo units that remain for sale (out of nearly 49,000 units built during the boom) in South Florida’s seven largest coastal condo markets,  are selling quick, Zalewski says.

Getting a mortgage to buy a condo in Florida is still challenging as mortgage insurance companies remain reluctant to insure condo loans. It's somewhat easier if the building doesn’t have too many delinquencies and the majority of the units in the building are owner-occupied.

What do you think? Would you buy a condo in South Florida right now?

If you plan to join the condo craze, here is what you need to know before you buy a condo.

Follow me on Twitter @Polyanad

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