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MIAMI-In its year-to-date survey, Grubb & Ellis Co. reports apartment occupancies appear stable at about 97%, with rents increasing about 3.3% over the last three-month period, or at a projected annualized rate of 6.6%.

Miami-Dade led the tri-county county in rent appreciation at an average increase of 5.2% to $874 per month, or 10.4% annualized. That compares with an annual rental increase of 7.5% last year.

Rents in Broward increased by 1.9% to $890, or 3.8% annualized. That is a little lower than the annualized increased of 4.7% last year. In Palm Beach, rents increased by 2.9% to $899, or 5.8% annualized. That is slightly higher than the annualized 5.4% increase last year.

The outlook is a little mixed, however.

“For the next three months, nothing new is going to be happening in South Florida,” Rosendo Caveiro, a Grubb & Ellis senior vice president in Miami, tells GlobeSt.com. “Whatever is in the pipeline that is being looked at, or completed, that will continue. But there will not be any great surge to close any deals by the end of December. There are no deals to be had.”

Right now, the great fear is over the affect of the property and casualty insurance industry on these properties.

“Some expect insurance to double,” Caveiro says. “I had one buyer of property who received a quote of $54,000 on a policy after he tied up the property. When he bought the policy and went to close on the property, it went to $96,000. It was totally unexpected.”

The survey finds most new rental development in Miami-Dade County is primarily concentrated in the urban core of Miami and Miami Beach. Such development accounts for about 65% of all new product expected through 2002.

In Broward County, Grubb & Ellis researchers found that completion of new apartments could reach the lowest level since 1995. Researchers found a similar trend in Palm Beach County, where completion of new units will total about 2,597 units this year, though 8,617 units are approved or in the planning stage for 2002. The low level of completions this year is being attributed to lack of available financing or construction delays.

Sales of existing property appear brisk, researchers discovered, though a little slower in the third quarter. In Miami-Dade, 18 properties containing 3,785 units were sold. In Broward, 18 properties containing 4,557 units were sold. In Palm Beach, nine properties containing 2,369 unit were sold.

Of those sales, TIAA-CREF spent about $80.1 million, or $83,600 per unit or $88 per sf, to acquire four apartment properties in Broward and Palm Beach counties from GID.

Draper & Kramer acquired one property in Miami-Dade at an average $155,750 per unit or $134 per sf. And Alvaro Sanchez acquired another property in Hialeah at about $55,700 per unit or $52 per sf.

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