This Week in Miami Real Estate: Permit slowdown, broker news and more

by Andrew Morrell

Developers hope new tech will speed up permitting process

Last October, Miami city officials announced the rollout of a new electronic system for developers to submit building plans for review by the proper authorities. Known as Electronic Plan Review, the system was designed to reduce the weeks or months that often add up between when builders submit designs for review and when city officials send back revisions or eventually approve the plans. Since plans for even single-family homes often go through multiple rounds of review before ground is broken, this process can add years to the development timeline for any given project.

The electronic review system has already sped up the process for some developers, but plenty of work remains to be done. According to an analysis of city-provided data by The Real Deal Miami, between 2014 and 2018, average wait times for most types of building permits have skyrocketed. In 2014, for instance, the average wait time for a new construction condo project in Miami was 268 days. In 2018, that average grew to 645 days. Even plans for a single-family home can take around 300 days to receive a city permit, nearly twice what it took in 2014.

The key culprit behind the long wait times may be inadequate staffing at the city agencies that handle permitting. In the wake of the 2008 recession, budget cuts forced many of these departments to drastically reduce headcounts. But once construction activity boomed again a few years later, officials were slow to respond to demand. Developers and city officials alike say they hope new employees and the new electronic review process will help improve wait times moving forward.

Coldwell Banker partners with Habitat for Humanity in Miami

Miami-area staff and sales associates at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate branches helped build 10 new homes in 10 days as part of Habitat for Humanity’s 2019 Blitz Build. Volunteers from Coldwell Banker and other local businesses convened in Goulds in southern Miami-Dade County between Feb. 8 and Feb. 22 to assist in the effort. Coldwell Banker Residential’s charitable foundation also donated $6,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami as part of the project.

Top broker joins Douglas Elliman

Douglas Elliman announced it had recruited Nancy Barreto Hogan to join its recently opened Coral Gables office led by managing broker Maggie Buck. In a Feb. 25 press release, the company said Hogan was leaving Brown Harris Stevens to join the brokerage. Hogan brings more than 40 years of real estate experience and has served in prominent roles including as a former chair for the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce and seats on the board of The Salvation Army and The American Heart Association among many others.

Kurz Real Estate adds to local agent count with acquisition

Coconut Grove-based brokerage Kurz Real Estate upped its total agent count to more than 200 with its acquisition of a majority ownership stake in Golden Acre Real Estate. Golden Acre, based in Miami Lakes, will rebrand as Golden Acre Kurz Real Estate. The office led by Victor Vicens and Robert Dominguez reported $40 million in sales volume in 2018. Kurz Real Estate is owned and operated by David Kurz, formerly of Douglas Elliman, and focuses on home sales in the $350,000 to $450,000 range.

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