Standing At The Apogee In Miami's Market

By Jennifer LeClaire

The most expensive ZIP code in the U.S. calls Miami Beach home: Fisher Island.

Known as a place where celebrities get away from it all, Fisher Island boasts a median sale price of $3.4 million, according to Forbes magazine.

But Fisher Island may have to make room at the top for Apogee. Many property brokers agree this brand new project is the most luxurious condominium tower on South Beach. It's where the top sale in Miami Beach happened so far this year.

The highest-priced residential property sold in Miami Beach this year was a brand new penthouse unit in Apogee, which sold on March 12 for $15 million, according to data from research firm Trulia.com.

Apogee sits on the tip of South Pointe, home to some of the poshest high-rise condos and homes in the state. Some of Apogee's neighbors are Yacht Club at Portofino, Continuum and Icon South Beach.

The next highest-priced home sold for $11 million in March. It was a 4,627-square-foot home with six bedrooms on Palm Island. In all, 24 properties sold for more than $4 million in Miami Beach through mid-August, Trulia reported.

That translates to around one multi-million-dollar sale at that price level a week in Miami Beach during the first seven-and-a-half months of 2008.

"We're not finding much activity under $700,000 in Miami Beach because those buyers are tapped," said Kevin Tomlinson, a broker at Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell in Miami Beach. "The higher you climb, the more activity there is in the market. The $2 million to $7 million range is hot."

While there is an overabundance of inventory, luxury retail brokers who serve Miami Beach predict even more opportunity ahead at the highest end of the market.

Cash buyers are common, and when the credit crunch eases transactions are expected to spike.

"We are on pace to crash the record for the number of transactions in a year. Our best year ever was 24 multimillion-dollar transactions in 2006," said Tom Grimshaw, a broker at Real Living Properties in Miami.

"We've already had 18 closed sales this year. I'm expecting it to pick up in September when the Northeasterners come down."

Miami Beach's most expensive sales this year
Top sales in Miami-Dade's highest-end market

1. 800 S. Pointe Drive, #2201: Sold for $15 million on March 12, 2008
16 Palm Avenue: Sold for $11 million on March 7, 2008
24 S. Hibiscus Drive: Sold for $10.6 million on May 5, 2008
4420 N. Bay Road: Sold for $9 million on July 22, 2008
7143 Fisher Island Drive: Sold for $8.3 million on Jan. 2, 2008

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