Market Watch – Fort Lauderdale Ocean Access

October 2021 Update – Waterfront Property for Boaters

Market Watch

Waterfront property, especially ocean access property for boaters, has always been in high demand, but what we have experienced in the past year is unprecedented. Buyers have always been attracted to South Florida for our beautiful weather and attractive tax structure, but the demand we are experiencing now is different. Businesses are moving here, families are moving here and the local economy is strong. Waterfront property has always been a good investment, but even in South Florida we have a limited supply of land that provides boaters with easy access to fishing, diving and cruising throughout the Caribbean. We live in paradise, and the secret is out!

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you know that inventory is low across the entire marketplace and buyers are coming from all over the country to invest in our coveted “ocean-access” waterfront property. Boaters love Fort Lauderdale, the “Venice of America”, and our neighboring waterfront communities including Lighthouse Point, Pompano Beach and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. The majority of our local waterfront property is here in Northeast Broward County, a true “Boater’s Paradise”.

This most recent market watch report includes all single family “ocean access” waterfront property, as well as condos and townhomes in NE Broward County. Our goal is to provides buyers and sellers with the facts, trends and statistics surrounding this ocean access segment. For more information about boating property please read our Boater’s Guide to Buying a Home or speak with one of our Waterfront Specialists.

Absorption Rates and Inventory Levels for Ocean Access Property in Northeast Broward County

The following chart shows active listings, sales, absorption rates and supply for both ocean access single family and condos. The good news is that if you have over $3.35 million to spend then there is over 7 months of supply in the single family market to choose from. The bad news is that the majority of the market is hovering around 2 months of supply, which means you’d better be ready to act when that perfect property comes available. Multiple offer scenarios and contracts over full price are still common, especially for properties in the best locations.

Waterfront Property Inventory Levels

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Single Family – Active Inventory vs Closed Sales

We started paying closer attention to our single family waterfront inventory last summer, and with increasing demand and transaction volume over the last 12 months this segment is tighter than ever. In September 2020 the overall market was in equilibrium with 6 months of supply, but the lower end waterfront homes were getting absorbed quickly with only 2.5 months of supply under $1,000,000. Now, listings under $2,000,000 are practically non-existent and we currently have about 2.5 months of supply under $3,350,000. This is a staggering statistic that has pushed many single family buyers out of the market or into the condo segment, which is now tight on supply as well.

The good news is that inventory levels started to level out in May and remained fairly flat throughout the summer, although active listings and closed sales both hit annual lows in September. This is normally a slow time for us though, so what will happen when the boat show kicks us into our busy winter season? That remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t count on inventory increasing substantially for some time. Waterfront is always a good investment in the long term, and buyers still consider South Florida to be a value compared to more expensive markets in California and New York.

Single Family Waterfront Home Inventory

Ocean Access single family home listings under $2,000,000 are practically non-existent and we currently have only 2.6 months of supply under $3,350,000.

Condominiums – Active Inventory vs. Closed Sales

Yes, we have plenty of condos and townhomes with ocean access as well. In fact, there are more condominiums than single family homes in NE Broward County, so we usually have plenty of available inventory. Most people think of the beach when they think of condos, but our inland waterways are lined with condos that provide boaters with the same amazing ocean access. What is interesting though is that just about the same time the single family inventory flattened out, the condo inventory dropped off a cliff. We have less than half the condo inventory we had just a year ago.

Fort Lauderdale Waterfront Condo Inventory
Condo inventory dropped off a cliff in the first half of 2021

Median Sale Prices of Ocean Access Waterfront Property

The demand for ocean access waterfront property in the Fort Lauderdale area has not slowed down even with inventory being absorbed at record levels. Median prices have consistently increased since the great recession and are up over 61% in Northeast Broward County since 2016. Keep in mind, this number is likely to increase more since our 2021 data is not even complete. Given our historically low inventory levels, the overall strength of the local economy and the increasing interest in Florida real estate, there is good reason to expect this trend will continue for quite some time. The following graph displays median price appreciation over the past 5 years for our most popular waterfront single family markets, as well as the overall condo market. All three cities are still on the rise, but Pompano Beach seems to be flattening out a bit while Fort Lauderdale and Lighthouse Point have seen year-over-year increases of 30% and 35% respectively. Condo median prices, while remaining relatively flat for years, have jumped 15% this year over last. Bottom line, we do expect prices to flatten out just a bit, but as long as demand stays strong it could take years to get back to normal inventory levels.

Median Sales Prices Fort Lauderdale Waterfront

Pompano Beach single family median sales prices seem to be flattening just a bit, while Fort Lauderdale and Lighthouse Point surge to new highs with year-over-year increases of 30% and 35% respectively.

Ocean access single family homes have always been highly desirable in South Florida, and our coastal communities offer the most diverse selection of ocean access real estate available in a variety of price ranges. For more information about buying boating property in our area, please read our Boater’s Guide to Buying a Home and if you’re considering selling your waterfront home please check out our marketing programs and contact one of our waterfront agents for assistance. 

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Blog Author:

Rich Barnhart

Rich is the broker and owner of By The Sea Realty and a frequent contributor to the company's real estate blog.
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