Property Markets Group Principal Kevin Maloney admits that Echo Aventura, his largest condo project in South Florida so far, is opening at a fortunate time.
Condo sales to South American buyers have slowed mostly because the U.S. dollar gained in value against their currencies. Since New York-based PMG had a jump start on Echo Aventura, that wasn’t a big problem as it had many sales and was well under construction.
Now the 190-unit, 11-story building at 8250 N.E. 188th Street is open and has residents inside. Many of them already have their furniture on the terraces, a feature that each unit has two of. Those terraces have summer kitchens as well.
Maloney said 12 units in Echo Aventura are still for sale, including five penthouses. All but a handful of those that were under contract have closed, he added.
These are fairly large condos and each of them has maid’s quarters with a separate entrance. The average unit size in the east tower is 4,000 square feet and it’s 3,700 square feet in the west tower. The prices range from the mid $700s to just over $800 per square foot, which is less than across the water in Sunny Isles Beach, Maloney said.
PMG Principal Ryan Shear said the company will keep it repairs and remodeling team at Echo Aventura for a year in case residents request changes to their units or find problems. Each unit comes finished with flooring and fixtures.
“It usually takes a year for a new building to settle,” Shear said. “We view it as a long term investment. There are lots of guys doing luxury buildings in Miami. The key is who stays the longest and who finishes correctly.”
Maloney said the majority of buyers at Echo Aventura are from South America, especially Brazil, and also from Mexico. When the rise in value of the dollar in the second half of 2015 chased some of those buyers away, PMG refocused its marketing towards domestic buyers and rang up some sales here, Maloney said.
This is the first of four major condos PMG has under development in South Florida right now. Sage Beach in Hollywood is about 30 days from closing on units, Echo Brickell is 18 months from competition and Muse in Sunny Isles Beach is about 24 months away from finishing, Maloney said. In all of those cases, they have substantial pre-sales and financing.
“We are fortunate to be in the ground and in the market at the right time,” Maloney said. “Anything you are launching now probably won't get built for a while.”
Maloney said the volume of pre-sales has slowed and, because of that, lenders are reluctant to issue condo construction financing. He anticipates that few condo projects will break ground in 2016 and that will result in lower construction prices. Maloney and Shear said they’re already seeing construction bids come in under budget.
“We are having a very healthy adjustment, which I think is great,” Maloney said. “If 100 buildings are planned, only ten will get built.”
Shear said PMG is continuing to craft its plans for a condo at 300 Biscayne Blvd. in downtown Miami but it’s in no rush to launch sales given the market conditions.