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Bargains still abound in Miami real estate

Lakefront single family homes in Venetian Isles, Miami, Florida
Lakefront single family homes in Venetian Isles, Miami, Florida
Alicia Willen

"Demand is up, inventory is low and prices are rising," said The Miami Herald in a recent article. According to the Miami Association of Realtors, in Miami-Dade County 64 percent of all sales in March of this year were in cash, compared to 32 percent nationally. However, home buyers are looking for bargains, but foreign and local investors are scooping up what they can, paying with cash and crowding out families with small down payments.

One of many lakes in Venetian isles
Alicia Willen

For many families, finding a suitable home at a price they can afford is a challenge, since a large portion of would-be buyers have been affected by the real estate bust and the slow economy. Those who have endured through a foreclosure or bankruptcy, or who have lower incomes due to unemployment, underemployment, or business losses, still want to find affordable homes where they can raise a family while building equity.

Although prices are firming up, there are areas in Miami where prices are still very attractive and offer great value, since sale prices are often below replacement cost. In the newer neighborhoods of West Kendall, for example, a three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family house, built in 2007, sold in March for $180,000. Compare that to a similar property in Doral, built in 2001, that sold in April for $325,000. Another comparable in terms of size would be a foreclosed home on SW 62nd Avenue, near SW 40th Street that sold in May for $247,500.

In the area west of the Florida Turnpike, between the Tamiami Trail and SW 112th Street, there are subdivisions such as Venetian Isles, Caribe Lakes, Don Elias, Kayla Place, Lago Mar, Charlestowne and Lakes of the Meadows, among others, that offer substantial value for the money. These neighborhoods, some with beautiful lakes and plenty of greenery, have all the necessary services and amenities: Modern grocery stores, a Super Wal-Mart, shopping centers, restaurants and post offices. Medical facilities and public and private schools can be found within a quick drive. Florida International University and Miami Dade College are a short distance away.

A buyer low in cash or financing ability would have to make choices regarding amenities, finishes, neighborhood and location in order to find the right, affordable property. All it takes is research, leg work and the help of a professional Realtor familiar with the area. By getting to know these desirable, affordable neighborhoods a buyer can still find a bargain in Miami real estate.