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One of the perks of owning Miami Beach luxury real estate is being fully immersed in the area’s rich architectural heritage. No other place on earth contains a higher concentration of resort buildings from the 1920s and 1930s than the Art Deco District in Miami Beach. It’s a virtual pleasure-palace of Jazz Age grandeur, offering residents and visitors more than 800 structures with historic significance.

National Register of Historic Places

The Art Deco District was the first 20th century neighborhood to receive the distinction of being named to the National Register of Historic Places. The style of this time period evolved directly out of the Paris Exposition of 1925, which first married the concepts of both design and technology. Characteristic decorative elements of this style include vibrant colors, geometric details, bas-relief stucco, etched glass, cast concrete, fanciful painted wall murals and more. This “modern” Mediterranean style has become synonymous with the Miami Beach lifestyle, infusing tropical character and personality into every neighborhood in the city.

A Tropical Playground

The Miami Beach Architectural District was created at a time when the area was promoted as a “tropical playground.” The area was quickly developed, which explains the high concentration of similar architectural styles. The buildings constructed in the 1920s are mostly in the Mediterranean Revival Style, while buildings that went up in the 1930s are in the Art Deco, International or Moderne styles. The district boundaries are generally described as Atlantic Ocean, 6th Street, Alton Road, Dade Boulevard, and 23rd Street.

The district can be divided into three distinct areas:

  • The Seasonal Hotel Area – concentrated along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue
  • The Commercial Area – running along Washington Avenue and Lincoln Road
  • The Residential Area – comprising approximately 80 square blocks around Flamingo Park

Sites of Interest

With hundreds of examples of Art Deco buildings to see and explore, this area is an architecture buff’s paradise. While there are a dizzying array of places to visit, here are some of the highlights that are definitely worth checking out.

  • Park Central Hotel – located on Ocean Drive between 6th and 7th streets, this was the first hotel to be renovated back to its original glory. First built in 1937 and refurbished in 1987, it was a famous hangout for Hollywood celebrities like Clark Gable and Rita Hayworth.
  • Lummus Park – located at Ocean Drive and 7th Street, this is the perfect place to walk onto the beach and look back at the stunning skyline of South Beach, particularly at night when the neon signs are aglow with their riot of rainbow colors.
  • Art Deco Welcome Center – located at Ocean Drive and 10th Street, it is home to the Miami Design Preservation League and provides visitors with books, brochures and tours of the area, both guided and self-guided.
  • Casa Casaurina – located at 1116 Ocean Drive, this 1930s Spanish-style mansion is the former home of fashion designer and icon Gianni Versace. It is now a private party mansion.

Luxury Miami Beach Real Estate in the Heart of the Art Deco Playground

While the Art Deco district is located in the South Beach area of Miami Beach, the effects of that famous architectural style can be felt all throughout the city. Whether your preference is a luxury Miami Beach condo, a Miami Beach waterfront home, or many of the other types of Miami Beach homes available, you’ll be just steps from this fantasyland of Art Deco architecture and all that it inspires.

 

This Miami Beach luxury residential community is lined with architecturally significant traditional homes that are part of city’s rich history. This restored 1920s Spanish colonial Palm Island residence is a one of a kind historical masterpiece. The Miami Beach waterfront home maintains its old world charm and original architectural details, although a modern 10,000 square ft. construction was added to the property, blending old with new. This expansive residence sits on a 30,000 SF lot with 100 linear ft of water frontage and houses eight stunning bedrooms and nine bathrooms; the unique master suite has a private terrace. The interior of the classic Miami Beach home has more than 12,000 SF of living space, featuring 12FT Cathedral beamed and coffered ceilings, an elegant staircase, quatrefoils windows, classic fireplaces, Bulthaup kitchen, a beautiful courtyard and a lush backyard with gazebo and pool cabana, plus a separate guesthouse. This magnificent Miami Beach home boasts incredible Biscayne Bay views.

Miami Beach Waterfront HomeMiami Beach Palm Island Home

miami Beach historic home on Palm Island

 

Now that 2013 is behind us, it’s time to take a look back at last year and evaluate where the Miami Beach real estate market has been and where it looks to be going. Overall, the news is promising and the market seems to be on an upward trajectory for 2014.

Results of Fourth Quarter in 2013

Market reports for the fourth quarter of 2013 have just been released and basically the data shows that trends established earlier in the year are continuing. These trends include:

  • Highest prices for real estate seen since the market crashed in 2008
  • Median sales price increased over 14 percent since prior year quarter
  • Cash purchases still outnumber purchases made with a mortgage
  • Largest number of fourth quarter sales in more than seven years
  • Properties were on the market for the shortest number of days in more than seven years
  • Percentage of non-distressed properties on the market continues to rise (now over 67 percent)
  • Number of buyers from New York and other countries continues to rise

Market Being Ruled by Cash Buyers

The Miami Beach and South Beach real estate markets continue to be dominated by buyers who pay with cash. Many of these buyers are not based in Miami and instead come from other countries or from outside the state of Florida (particularly New York). More than 60 percent of purchases made in Miami were cash sales; however, there is a big gap between the numbers of cash buys for homes verses condos. The percentage of all-cash sales for condos was just over 71 percent, while the percentage of cash buys for single family homes was only approximately 45 percent. Overall, however, the number of purchases made with a mortgage did increase by more than 16 percent from the same time last year.

Type of Inventory Available is in Flux

There is a big change in the type of inventory that has become available on the Miami Beach real estate market. While overall the inventory only fell a small amount (just over one percent), the number of distressed properties on the market fell drastically – over 20 percent. This includes short sales and foreclosures. On the flip side, the number of non-distressed properties available rose over three percent. The growth in non-distressed inventory is likely due to increases in home prices which have motivated more people to put their properties on the market.

Miami Beach Market is Shifting

One of the most interesting facts to arise from these reports is that the Miami Beach market is starting to move away from the sale of distressed properties. This has caused steady gains in prices over the past few years that are encouraging homeowners who were once reticent to now sell. International demand continues to be great, and an improved regional economy is giving the market a much-needed boost. Experts are cautiously optimistic that the Miami Beach and South Florida real estate markets are recovering from the 2008 crisis and that we will continue to see improvements well into 2014.

 

The results are in and it looks like America knows what South Floridians have known for a long time – that Miami Beach is one of the best places to live in the United States. The results are based on a survey conducted by the website Livability, which asked residents what they like most about where they live and what they’d like about other places. Cities were then evaluated based on eight factors: economics, amenities, housing, demographics, infrastructure, social and civic capital, health care, and education. Let’s take a look at what makes Miami Beach so appealing and highly-rated among those who call it home.

Gorgeous Beaches and Warm Weather

It should come as no surprise that part of what makes Miami Beach so attractive is its abundance of beautiful, sandy beaches and a year-round temperate climate. Miami Beach boasts over seven miles of oceanfront sand which provide endless opportunities to engage in water sports, sight-seeing, sun-bathing and more.

Endless Entertainment and Cultural Activities

Miami Beach is home to a diverse community that represents a wide range of cultures. In addition, the city has a rich architectural heritage that gives it a spice and flavor that is uniquely Miami Beach. All throughout the year the city hosts prestigious events and fun festivals, attended by people throughout the world. Design aficionados will love Art Deco Weekend in January, while fashionistas will be strutting their stuff in style during Funkshion Fashion Week that happens three times a year. Miami Beach is also home to world-class museums, cultural institutions and more that both entertain and enrich the population.

Great Real Estate for Outdoor Lifestyles

Miami Beach has become synonymous with an outdoor lifestyle, capitalizing on the beautiful weather we get to experience all year long. No matter your taste or budget, Miami Beach has a home that will cater to your needs and desires. Whether it’s a luxury waterfront home, a contemporary high-rise condo, or something in between, homeowners in Miami Beach enjoy some of the best real estate in America.

Unbelievable Shopping and Cuisine

Miami Beach is home to a huge number of world-class restaurants that offer up tasty dishes that are admired for their ethnic diversity. The city is well known for its Cuban cuisine as well as fine steakhouses and fresh seafood. Whether you’re having breakfast at News Café, lunch at Joe’s Stone Crabs or dinner at Capital Grille, your taste buds will never be bored here.

Shopping in Miami Beach is equally divine. There are hundreds of stores to browse along the open-air shopping district on Lincoln Road. Designer wares can be found along Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue, while haute couture is de rigueur in Bal Harbour. If something a little more authentic is your style, try the pedestrian mall on Espanola Way, which is reminiscent of a Spanish Village. In Miami Beach, shoppers can find designer flagships, unique specialty stores, duty free shops and much, much more.

It’s easy to see why Miami Beach has become one of the best places to live in America. With its stunning scenery, vibrant lifestyle, and endless options for eating, shopping, dining and entertainment, residents of Miami Beach really can enjoy the best of all worlds.

 

The South of Fifth neighborhood in Miami Beach is a real-life Cinderella story. What was once a down-on-its-luck section of town has risen in the last ten years to become what is arguably the most high-end area in Miami Beach. It is now home to some of the most luxurious high-rise condos in South Florida, and new businesses, trendy restaurants and upscale boutiques have all but taken over. SoFi caters to those homeowners who crave exclusivity, elegance and a leisurely lifestyle.

History of SoFi

South of Fifth was actually the first subdivision of its kind in Miami Beach and development catered to the middle class. Small lots with quaint seaside homes designed in an Art Deco style filled the area beginning in the early 1900s. Soon it emerged as a center of transportation and industry for Miami and became home to oil tanks and railyards.

The neighborhood began its gradual decline when the Fontainebleau Hotel opened farther north in the mid 1950s. It continued to decay into the 1990s until a wealthy German investor named Thomas Kramer begin buying up property in the area with the intent to create an upscale, urban oasis. Since that time he and other well-known Miami developers such as The Related Group have turned the South of Fifth neighborhood into an exclusive enclave with a distinctive character that blends historic architecture with modern style and convenience.

Luxury Condos in SoFi

South of Fifth has a wonderful collection of some of the best luxury high-rises that Miami has to offer. Each of these developments caters to those with discerning tastes and offers a host of amenities that make everyday feel like a vacation. In addition, the neighborhood is in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, giving residents both stunning sea views and easy access to beautiful, sandy beaches. On top of all that, homeowners have a huge variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment destinations that are all within walking distance of home. Some of the most popular luxury condo buildings in SoFi include:

SoFi – A Great Place for Miami Cuisine

With all the luxury high-rise condos drawing people to the area, it’s no surprise that SoFi now boasts some of the best restaurants and cafes in Miami Beach. Not only are diners assured of sampling some of the most delectable dishes available, it’s quite possible to have a star-sighting or two as SoFi has become a favorite locale for Hollywood celebrities and international jet-setters. Some popular places in dine in the neighborhood include:

  • Nemo – particularly noteworthy for their Sunday brunch and romantic atmosphere
  • Big Pink – a fantastic spot for a big breakfast after a night out
  • Monty Trainer’s at the Miami Beach Marina – perfect for quenching your thirst during happy hour
  • Smith and Wollensky – when nothing but the best steak will do
  • Prime 112 – another great choice for juicy steaks and cocktails
  • Taverna Opa – treat yourself to tasty Greek dishes at this laid-back bistro
  • The Portofino Wine Bank – sample a variety of imported wines, beers and liquors underneath the Portofino Tower
  • Joe’s Stone Crab – known for their seafood and for their celebrity clientele

No matter what your taste, you are sure to be satisfied in the South of Fifth neighborhood. Offering all the best of literally everything, SoFi is truly the phoenix rising from the ashes to become the one of the hottest and most desirable Miami Beach neighborhoods.

 

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