Want a Bigger Backyard? Buy a 2-Story Home!

Is the size of the backyard important to you?If you’re searching for South Florida homes for sale and one of your criteria is that you want a big backyard, consider focusing on two-story homes as they generally have a smaller footprint on the property and often have more air-conditioned living space for about the same amount as a single-story home.  This photo of two Broward County homes side-by-side provides an example of what I mean.  The lot size of each of these properties is 5,665 square feet.  On the left is a 2-story home with approximately 2,400 square feet of air-conditioned space while the one on the right is a 1-story home with approximately 1,950 square feet of a/c space. 

Now look at the footprint of the house on each lot.  While they both have about the same size front yard, the backyard of the 2-story home is large enough to accommodate a pool and still have some yard space left.  In subdivisions, the front setbacks are typically the same so the real difference can be found in back of the house. Surprisingly, there usually isn’t a big gap between the sale price of each home, assuming they are in the same neighborhood, have similar lot sizes and are the same type of lot (ex: waterfront) with similar outdoor amenities (ex: pool).  So the question to ask yourself is, which is more important to you… no stairs or more useable land/outdoor space?

Miramar, Florida – Recent Home Sales Prices

Miramar recent home sales.Located in southwestern Broward County, Miramar attracts many people who work in the Miami area but want a suburban lifestyle.  In 2005, the City of Miramar ranked 8th in the “Fastest Growing Cities” list according to the U.S. Census.  Miramar has also attracted many businesses to locate their headquarters there, including Southwest Airlines and the administrative offices and studios of WTVJ/NBC 6.  In fact, the city has become home to more Fortune 500 Companies in recent years than any other city in South Florida. 

Although Miramar is the second largest city in Broward County, approximately two-thirds of the city’s total land area is still vacant land not yet developed.  Residents can enjoy 27 neighborhood and community parks, and the city offers various recreational activities.  Many new home communities (condos, townhomes and single family homes) have been built here over the past 5-10 years, most of them are located in west Miramar, just east and west of I-75.

Below is a sampling of recent home sale prices* in Miramar, Florida (sold/closed sales over the past 3 months through the date of this post).  However, feel free to search for Miramar homes for sale – you’ve got plenty of choices, from ‘affordable’ to luxury homes!

BR=Bedroom, BA=Bathroom, CG=Car Garage

Recent Single-Family Home Sales Prices in Miramar, FL:

Recent Condo and Townhome Sales Prices in Miramar, FL:

  • Escada at Vizcaya – 3BR/2.5BA/1CG – $250,000
  • Melrose Point at Monarch Lakes – 3BR/2.5BA – $238,000
  • Missionwood at Miramar – 2BR/1.5BA/1CG – $177,000
  • Nautica – 3BR/2.5BA/1CG/Lakefront – $265,000
  • Silver Falls (townhome) – 3BR/2.5BA/1CG – $332,000
  • Villages of Renaissance – 3BR/2BA/1CG/Lake – $252,500

*As reported on the South Florida Multiple Listing System (MLS).

Florida’s Condominium Ombudsman Coming to South Florida!

CondosIf you are a condo owner or other interested party, you’re invited to attend South Florida’s Inaugural Annual Condominium Association Members’ Round Up.  Florida’s Condo Ombudsman, Danille R. Carroll, will be present at the event. 

“The condominium ombudsman is corralling the key players involved in the regulation of condominium association living.  This is your opportunity to be heard, ask questions and get answers.  You will have the opportunity to meet with and ask questions of the condominium ombudsman, the director of the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes, and your local state legislators.  Information on laws and rules regulating condominium associations in Florida will also be provided.”

The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 8th from 10 am to 1 pm at Broward Community College’s South Campus (7200 Pines Blvd., Building 68, Pembroke Pines, FL).  Admission is free.

“Created by an act of the Legislature in 2004, the Office of the Condominium Ombudsman was established to be a resource for unit owners, board members, condominium associations and others.”  Learn more about the Florida Condominium Ombudsman’s duties.

Broward County Events – Holiday Happenings 2007

Broward County Christmas Events 

The following are upcoming Broward County events scheduled for this month.  There are certainly plenty of events to help you get into the holiday spirit, so pick one!

  • Victoria Park Holiday Home Tour (December 1-2, 2007, starting at 1:00 PM) – tour six homes that are decorated for the holidays.  For more information call 954-467-2008
  • Florida Dive Show (December 1-2, 2007) at the Broward County Convention Center – the largest dive show in Florida.
  • SunTrust Sunday Jazz Brunch – Riverwalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale (the first Sunday of every month from 11 a.m. -2 p.m.).  Jazz music performed on four stages along the historic New River.  Bring a picnic basket, blanket, chairs, children and even your dog! For more information call the 24-hour hotline: 954-828-5363.
  • Christmas by the Sea (Tuesday, December 4th) at Commercial Blvd. and the Beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.  Live entertainment, hayrides, and watch the lighting of the giant Christmas tree. Santa will arrive in the parade. See it snow in South Florida!  For more information call 954-776-1000.
  • Hollywood Beach Candy Cane Parade (Saturday, December 8, 2007) – with Ron Magill of Miami’s MetroZoo as Grand Marshall.  This year’s theme is “Penguins in Paradise” and the parade features floats and marching bands.  For more information call 954-921-3404.
  • Weston Holiday Home Tour (Sunday, December 9th) – a ticketed event benefitting Kids in Distress.  Two tours, 11 am & 2 pm.  Trolleys will depart from Weston Town Center’s Clock Tower on Main Street.  (No children under the age of 12.)  For more information call 954-252-3365.
  • City of Coral Springs Holiday Parade (Wednesday, December 12th at 7 pm) – A parade along Sample Road from Coral Springs Drive to University Drive; featuring floats, bands and other entries, all with a sports theme.  For more information call 954-345-2112.
  • Historic 1930’s Wray Home Decorated for the Holidays (now through December 31, 2007; closed Christmas Day) – Flamingo Gardens in Davie; guided tours from 10 am – 4 pm.  Santa will visit the Wray Home on Saturday/Sunday, December 22 & 23 from 10 am – 2 pm.
  • Bodies… the Exhibition (now through February 17, 2008) at Las Olas Riverfront, 300 SW First Ave., Suite 214, Fort Lauderdale – an interesting look at the human body.
  • Light Up Lauderdale (after dark; now through January 8, 2008) – view holiday lights and displays along the Riverwalk, Las Olas Blvd., Broward Performing Arts Center, Esplanade Park, and Huizenga Plaza.
  • Winterfest Boat Parade (6:30 pm on Saturday – December 15, 2007) – this year’s celebration marks the beginning of a new starting location for the boat parade (in downtown Fort Lauderdale at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on the New River).  This year’s theme is “Magical Movie Moments” and the parade will then travel east to the Intracoastal Waterway and continue north to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach.
  • George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker (Friday-Sunday, December 21-23, 2007) at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Tao Condos in Sunrise, FL – Nearing Completion!

Highrise condos in West Broward are almost ready for move-in!The tallest buildings in western Broward County are just a few months from being ready for unit owners to start moving in.  The two 26-story Tao condo towers will have 396 residences (with 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms) and, per the builder’s representatives, are currently about 90% sold out.  The expected date of completion is April 2008 with closings starting in May.  Prices start in the high-$400’s for the 1-bedroom condos.  Maintenance fees are approximately 38 cents per square foot per month.

The views in the upper floors of these highrise buildings will undoubtedly be amazing.  I doubt I’m the only one who’s seen these towers from a considerable distance!  I know I’ve spotted them from as far north as the Sawgrass Expressway between Atlantic Blvd. and Sample Road.

“Christmas on Las Olas” is a Joyful Holiday Event!

Ms. SantaThe holiday season is in full bloom!  If you missed this year’s “Christmas on Las Olas” holiday event in Fort Lauderdale, be sure to put it on your calendar for next year.  The event kicked off just as the sun went down.  The boulevard trees are now wrapped in tiny white lights and there are interesting holiday light displays not only on the Las Olas Boulevard medians but also atop many of the local businesses.  “Snow Mountain” was a big hit with kids and, of course, Santa was available for pictures!  Everywhere you looked there was something going on.  The festivities included Christmas carolers, dancers, performers dressed in Dickens-style costumes, as well as music ensembles, bell ringers, karaoke and live jazz.  There was even a holiday movie being shown on a big screen with an open seating area.  All this and admission was free!

Christmas OrnamentsThe Las Olas Boulevard shops showed their holiday spirit with displays of all kinds, including live mannequins!  Even the Riverside Hotel and restaurants along the route gleamed with lots of holiday lights, wreaths and other holiday decorations.  The historic Stranahan House was also decorated for the season and open to the public at a discounted rate.  See a 60-second show of some of the highlights of the 2007 Chrismas on Las Olas event!  The Christmas ornaments pictured here are from one of my favorite Las Olas Blvd. shops – the Seldom Seen Gallery.

South Florida Real Estate Market Conditions – October 2007

In comparing the South Florida real estate market conditions from September to October 2007, there were only relatively minor changes in each of the three South Florida counties with regards to the number of resale homes sold.  The same can be said for the number of resale condos sold with one exception — Miami-Dade County saw a sizeable increase in the number of sales (up 23% from the previous month).  This is especially good news since there has been so much talk about the glut of condos for sale there.

Meanwhile, the median sales price of resale single family homes increased slightly in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area but decreased in both Palm Beach County and Miami.  Sadly, when compared to last month, the median sales price of resale condos dropped in Broward County by about 8.75%, in Palm Beach County by approximately 12% and in Miami-Dade by about 3%.  If, instead, we focus on the changes from the same time last year till now, it seems Miami is doing better than many in the media would have you believe.

While the numbers in the chart below will show you comparisons from one year to the next (during the same month), you’ll find that I typically comment on the month-to-month changes, so please keep that in mind as you review the information contained in the chart.

South Florida market statistics for October 2007.

*Median is the price at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

:: Read all my posts tagged with South Florida Real Estate Market Conditions – 2007. ::

Source (for chart numbers only): Florida Association of Realtors (F.A.R.); Commentary is © 2007 Leanne Paynter.