There’s one “m” word that will make buyers of upscale single-family homes in South Florida run a mile in the opposite direction: “Mediterranean.” But there’s another “m” word for which they’re willing to pay a premium: “modern.”
Just like buyers of homes priced from $10 million and up, those in the market for homes priced between $1 million to $10 million are looking for properties with the most current style, amenities and appointments. However, they differ in where they want their homes to be located.
“Because most of these buyers have families, a prime consideration is proximity to excellent schools, both private and public,” says Amy Marcus Hollub, vice president of Hollub Homes, a builder of custom and spec homes that currently has residences for sale in Snapper Creek Lakes and Pinecrest in Miami-Dade and in St. Andrew’s Country Club in Boca Raton. The company is also working on about 20 custom-home and large-scale renovation projects in Pinecrest, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton.
Newer homes, as opposed to older ones, move faster in the $1 million to $3 million range – especially in Pinecrest – even if they are priced higher per square foot, says Adam Levy of The Levy Group, Coldwell Banker Pinecrest, who works primarily in the Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay areas of Miami-Dade. “There has been a strong increase in new construction in the last three to four years, with developers jumping in with both feet,” Levy notes.
And, both Levy and Hollub agree, they’re not building Mediterranean-style anymore.
“Most homebuyers want a modern-organic style, which is defined as having the same clean lines of ultramodern and modern, but favors the use of natural materials, like wood, and warmer colors, as opposed to a colder, more stark style,” says Hollub, who is also a Realtor with Avatar Real Estate Services. “Modern, but not hard-edged, seems to be the warmer atmosphere families are looking for.”
The clean lines of modern design are evident in many upscale single-family home projects throughout South Florida. For example, Macken Companies” Beach House project in Fort Lauderdale’s Dolphin Isles comprises four zero-lot-line single-family homes. The company also recently broke ground on a new multifamily townhome project in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Colee Hammock that will be completed in 2016. Macken also acquired a second piece of prime real estate in Colee Hammock, where it plans to build another luxury townhome project. In addition, Macken acquired three premier waterfront lots off of Las Olas that it developed into luxury spec homes – all with clean, modern lines.
New communities, such as Terra Group’s Botaniko Weston, are also being planned with clean-lined architecture. The development, a collection of 125 single-family homes on the former Bonaventure golf course, will be designed by Chad Oppenheim and Roney Mateu, with interiors by tennis star Venus Williams.
New lifestyles prompt changes
On the inside, South Florida’s new upscale single-family homes look different than in years past, “because families are living differently,” Hollub says. Most homes are two stories and many have elevators – especially if the master bedroom is on the second floor. Master bedroom closets are huge and luxuriously appointed. Kitchens are showpieces to accommodate a lifestyle comfortable with entertaining, featuring top-of-the-line appliances. There are wine rooms, media rooms and gyms, however Hollub says these are sometimes traded out for children’s playrooms and guest/staff quarters. Garages are built to house at least three cars.
Technology and security are of prime concern to buyers in this market. Music systems, lighting and security are often controlled using an iPad, and green technology is used wherever possible – especially in outdoor areas. Outside, nearly all of these homes have pools and outdoor kitchens, surrounded by plenty of space for entertaining.
Both outdoors and indoors, lighting sets the atmosphere more than ever before. Modern fixtures are most popular, but restored, industrial and nautical styles are still often selected, says Eric Lebersfeld, president of Capitol Lighting in Boca Raton, which has additional locations throughout South Florida. “The use of LED has changed the landscape of how lighting is used in homes,” he says. “The use of unusual shapes is popular; with LED you don’t see the bulb, just the beauty of the fixture.” He also notes that lighting is often used to separate rooms in homes with open floor plans and that recessed lighting in various rooms is often chosen as well.
A softer, gentler, modern style is also the rage in home furnishings and appointments, says Rick Howard, president of Sklar Furnishings in Boca Raton. “The style marries all kinds of materials together,” he says. “You’ll see leather and glass, various lacquers and textures of fabric, strong accent colors and the use of metals, such as brass… And woods are coming back. This is a move away from stark, hard, contemporary materials. It emphasizes functionality and comfort – a place where you can relax and enjoy. You want your home to be that.” ?