Miami's New Sky-High Splurge

A $50 million penthouse with a 1,000-foot view

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Family room view at Waldorf Astoria Miami penthouse (Photo: ARX Creative)

What’s the value of a thousand-foot view atop Miami’s tallest condo tower—in 2027?

$50 million, perhaps?

That’s the price tag that developer Property Markets Group has just affixed to the top level of its yet unbuilt condo project, the Waldorf Astoria Residences Miami.

The palatial 13,119 square foot apartment — on a single story — will include: six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a wine room, a library, a pool and whole lotta entertaining and “sitting rooms.”

Oh yes, and the apartment is encased in a floor-to-ceiling “glass skin.” The better to catch urban and water views from what’s being billed as Miami’s first “supertall” condo tower, at 1,049 feet.

“In Manhattan there’s a lot of supertalls,” Ryan Shear, managing partner at Property Markets Group, said in an interview. “But imagine a building that is literally above the rest, where you can truly see everywhere. There is zero impeding your views —except for the clouds on a cloudy day. “

The developer is testing the, uh, upper limits of Miami’s condo market, where luxury listings — designed to capture the gush of new wealth to the city — are proliferating.

The number of listings priced at $20 million or higher jumped 89% in 2021 from the previous year— to 298, according to appraiser Miller Samuel. Last year, 217 such properties hit the sales market. And in 2023, there were 195 listings in that price range just through August.

If sold at the full asking price, the Waldorf penthouse would still fall short of the region’s most-expensive-ever condo sale of $60 million in 2015. And if you do some math, and divide the asking price by the apartment’s sheer size, it comes out to $3,800 per square foot — in line with what other rising high-end condos are seeking, Shear said.

“It’s not a crazy number at all compared to where Miami real estate trades and where, I think, the world perceives Miami today,” he said.

It’s also not much of a gamble, given the project — where prices started at $6 million, and which won’t be complete until 2027 — has already found buyers for 90% of its square footage, Shear said.

“We’ve got another four years, so we have time,” he said.

Property Markets Group has five condo projects in sales or development in the city, plus at least another two upcoming.

The Waldorf penthouse is currently the priciest of their offerings, Shear said. Its sale may also mark a milepost in a luxury market that’s fundamentally changed since the pandemic. The on-again, off-again foreign investor endemic to Miami has been enhanced with a more enduring domestic audience.

“For decades, it was dependent on South America’s economies, and what country was doing good or bad at the time was where the influx was coming from,” Shear said. “Sometimes it was Colombia, sometimes Argentina. Sometimes it was both.”

“The buyer profile in the Waldorf is different,” he said. “It’s not the historic 80 to 90 percent South American. It’s now 50% North American.  It makes it a broader market, and more sustainable, which is what you want to see for a true, world class, city.”

Master Bedroom (Photo: ARX Creative)

Hey, Look! More Homes to Buy

Here’s some positive news for house hunters coming up empty in their South Florida search: There’s more listings on the market for the first time in a while.

A September inventory report published this week by Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman Real Estate shows that:

  • In Miami-Dade County, listings for homes and condos expanded year-over-year for the first time since August 2022

  • In Broward County, listings climbed for the first time since April.

  • In Palm Beach County, new residential listings expanded for the first time since May.

The growth, however, is largely in condos, not single-family homes. But have you seen some of these condos, lately? (note entry above)

Anyway, this nifty chart below is by Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel.

September’s bump in for-sale condos is unmissable.

Chart courtesy of Miller Samuel Inc.

This Week in Florida Home Insurance Woes:

Florida’s home insurance premiums are the priciest in the nation. And still, for many insurers, it’s a money-loser to issue coverage in the hurricane-prone state:

  • Progressive is expected to send non-renewal notices to about 100,000 policyholders in Florida. The company said it’s “re-balancing” its exposure to the Florida property market.

  • Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the public insurer of last resort, will also whittle down the number of policyholders on its books. State regulators just approved proposals by six private insurers to assume as many 153,000 policies from state-backed Citizens.

  • Florida’s Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will hold a hearing on Oct. 10 with Florida Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky and Citizens Insurance CEO Tim Cerio. Topic of discussion: “Is there a plan to maybe cap the increases?" State Sen. Bobby Powell said. "I'm not saying you have to stop raising rates but maybe cap it at 5%.

Have you heard? Some headlines from the week:

  • Pit bulls are legal to own in Miami for the first time since 1989 (Axios)

  • Brightline is doubling its train service between Miami and Orlando — less than two weeks after starting that route. (Palm Beach Post)

  • Condos are approved for the site of the deadly Surfside tower collapse during contentious meeting (Bisnow)

  • Developers are finding some projects “too costly to pursue” after commercial property insurance rates jumped by as much as 100% over the past year. (South Florida Business Journal)

  • Miami’s Temple Israel wants to rezone its parking lot — to allow for condos, hotels and offices. (Real Deal)

  • Ultra-exclusive private golf course opens in South Florida — with $1 million membership fee (CNN)

That’s it for today!

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