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‘Square Footage is The New Luxury’: The Sklar Team on the South Florida Ripple Effect

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Miami, Trend Talk

A ripple effect is forming in the South Florida luxury home market. While Miami and Fort Lauderdale have long been favored playgrounds for Wall Street bankers, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, billionaires and celebrities, some well-heeled individuals are venturing inland to Broward County to set down roots and find a fresh slice of paradise, according to Rose and Dean Sklar.

The husband-and-wife real estate team would know. They have been the No. 1 Coldwell Banker Large Team in Broward County in closed sales volume since 2018. Last year, the duo closed $110 million in sales – earning them a place in Coldwell Banker’s elite Society of Excellence. After 23 years in the business and amassing over $1.5 billion in career sales, they’ve been on the front lines of Broward County’s rise from sleepy horse country to luxury sanctuary for the nation’s wealthiest power players.

“The record-breaking closed sale was $23 million last year in Southwest Ranches by Jill Eber of the Jills Zeder Group,” says Rose. “Three years ago, that price would have been unheard of.”

We caught up with Rose and Dean in a recent video call and got their thoughts on what’s driving the South Florida luxury home market, from people’s desire for more space after COVID-19 to selling in the era of hyper-personalization. We discussed everything from Miami migrations to being a second-generation family business and their role as co-listing agents for a new development of ultra-exclusive, ultra-modern homes in Southwest Ranches designed by renowned architect Vasco Vieira. Our conversation is condensed and edited below.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Which trends are dominating the market right now? 

Rose Sklar Buyers want it all. New construction. Square footage and acreage. Amenities-galore. Privacy. Customization. The Trend Report, released by Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, caught on to this and named it a trend for 2024.

You know that saying, “If you build it, they will come.”  That is what is happening in the City of Weston and throughout Broward County. Buyers want new construction, and they want it now.

We currently represent Akai Estates, a 44-acre community of 16 luxury estates in Southwest Ranches, about 33 miles from Miami and 23 miles from Fort Lauderdale. This is an excellent example of what’s on-trend right now. These homes, designed in the warm modernist aesthetic, start at over 10,000 square feet (under-air) and sit on 2 acres each. They offer supreme privacy and space. Buyers get an entirely curated design experience and a chance to work side-by-side with the world-renowned architect and developer to personalize their home to their lifestyle and tastes. The opportunity to customize their home has been a big draw for buyers.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What do you think is behind their desire for customization?

Rose Sklar I think it’s partially driven by younger, digitally savvy, health-conscious consumers prioritizing self-care and self-expression over status. Their homes become a way of saying, “This is who I am in the world, and this is what I care about most.” They want their homes to be completely personalized – their sanctuaries. They want wellness experiences in the house.

Dean Sklar I also think it’s being driven by the lifestyle changes that came with COVID-19. People are spending more time in their homes. So, their expectations have been raised for what they want to see in their living spaces. They want and need that extra space for all their desires – the fitness center, pool, 4-car garage for all your toys, indoor/outdoor living. Maybe their kids are still living with them, or their parents live with them.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What else is high up on luxury buyers’ list of must-haves right now?

Rose Sklar Privacy. Again, Akai Estates delivers on this front. It offers a quiet, serene setting and countryside privacy, a bit more tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Yet future Akai residents will still be very close to those cities. There’s a communal helipad! In Weston and Southwest Ranches, high-profile individuals are more protected from the paparazzi. They don’t want to be looked at in their homes from the waterways.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Is that why you’ve partnered with Miami real estate house powerhouse, the Jills Zeder Group, to market Akai Estates?

Dean Sklar Both of our teams have a similar ethos. We are both second-generation family-owned businesses. Our son, Cody, works on our team, and of course, they are three families and two generations. Even though we’re the No. 1 Coldwell Banker Large Team in Broward County, they’re No. 1 in the nation. I equate them to the Flux Capacitor in the film “Back to the Future.” They are the power source and the bolt of electricity we need to sell this genuinely iconic luxury property. We are big believers in surrounding ourselves with the best.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury How many of the homes at Akai Estates have sold so far?

Rose Sklar Two are under contract now, and one is nearing completion in July 2024. Prices start at $9 million. Model X will also be launched soon with a price tag of $36 million. 

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury If you could pull out your crystal ball for a moment, what would the luxury home of the future look like in your market?

Rose Sklar People want space. As they say, “Square footage is the new luxury.” This is a marked difference from what was selling pre-COVID. Nobody wanted the square footage, or as they used to be called, the “McMansions.” Now, the paradigm has flipped. People are working from home. Their parents or kids are living with them. They want to live, work, and entertain in their house. They want to feel safe. The mansions are back.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What’s been the most surprising change in the South Florida luxury home market lately?

Dean Sklar We see a new trend from Miami and other domestic areas, where wealthy buyers are looking for a place to homestead with a significant potential for growth in the Broward County sector. Our price per square foot, which is about $1133/square foot, is a welcome opportunity for many hedge fund CEOs, professional athletes, and celebrities looking for privacy and acreage that fits their lifestyle – whether they want a basketball, pickleball, tennis, golf, or a place to park their cars and toys.

Rose Sklar What’s been interesting to watch the ripple effect of the real estate boom and California-to-Miami migrations on our market in the last few years. With no state income tax, Miami became a magnet for those looking to escape the financial burdens of high-tax states like California. But because of the lack of land in Miami, Southwest Ranches is now emerging as a hotspot for luxury buyers. It has the acreage properties and 24-hour security. It’s close to airports, shopping centers, equestrian facilities, culture, private schools, and the renowned Cleveland Clinic.

Rose Sklar It’s become a haven for those seeking the perfect blend of accessibility and seclusion.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What are your predictions for this year’s South Florida luxury home market?

Rose Sklar I think there’s more confidence in buying than last year. Buyers have adjusted to the “new norm” of higher interest rates.

Dean Sklar Our outlook is much more positive than last year. We’re already seeing more closings and more listings on the market.

Rose Sklar People’s mindsets had to catch up with what was happening with interest rates last year. Sometimes, it can take a while to explain to a seller that this is what their house is worth in this market. Not everything is based on price per square foot. It’s about desirability – and today’s luxury buyer wants new and now. They want that immediate gratification.

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‘Square Footage is The New Luxury’: The Sklar Team on the South Florida Ripple Effect

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