The 2020 Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Market Report | Comparing Fort Lauderdale Real Estate to Miami Real Estate

Part 4: Moving to South Florida: How does Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Compare to Miami Real Estate?

We have been selling Fort Lauderdale real estate for 8 years and Miami Real Estate for over 12 years. We often find ourselves in dialogue with buyers over where they should settle: “Which is going to be best for me?” We weigh up the pro’s and con’s, and sometimes Fort Lauderdale comes out on top and sometimes it’s Miami. With relocations being a huge driving factor of our business through 2019 and now more than ever in 2020 we felt that the Fort Lauderdale report deserved a section where we are comparing Fort Lauderdale Real Estate to Miami Real Estate. We cover schools, traffic and transportation, the single-family homes market, the waterfront market and the luxury condo market. How have these markets both behaved in the last 6 months?

Comparing Fort Lauderdale Real Estate to Miami Real Estate

The single family ‘dry lot’ market performance

When comparing Fort Lauderdale Real Estate to Miami Real Estate we will start with comparing the dry lot properties. A solid majority of my relocation buyers are focused on properties priced between $2m and $5m. I am going to focus on this price point for this section, if your budget sits outside of this, then please call me for a customized discussion. As always we are using this report to give you a feel for ‘trends’ not an overruling answer for all your questions. In short it’s an opener to the bigger conversation of what you need or personally want to buy.

How many homes sold? If you look at the Miami Analytics page you can see how many dry lot single family homes sold in the last 6 months. There were 94 sales between $2m and $5m and the vast majority (74/94) sat in the focused locations of where the best private schools are located: Coconut Grove (14/94), Coral Gables (18/94) South Miami and Pinecrest (43/94). Now travel up to Fort Lauderdale and that number becomes 4 sales in the last 6 months from a current offering of 38 listings. Months of inventory sits at a substantial 50 months of inventory! This is certainly not healthy at all. If we look at the lower range of $1m to $2m there is a lot more offering with 79 sales, and in the last 6 months there were 50 sales, that’s 8.3 sales per month, or 9.5 months of inventory. Now this is balanced and healthy!

My conclusions can be simply summarized:  ‘You are less likely to focus on Fort Lauderdale if you are looking for a single family dry lot home between $2m and $5m and more likely to focus on Miami because they are many more options, with homes sitting on big lots. In Fort Lauderdale the market for non waterfront homes is weak, because at this price point you have plenty of waterfront options to chose from. However, if your budget is between $1m – $2m and this market is fairing much better. You cannot buy decent waterfront at this price point, so attention must turn to dry lot homes. Fort Lauderdale is the Venice of the Americas and you buy in this city because you want to be centrally located AND are looking to live on the water.

The average price per SF for new homes in the $2M-$3M range is $540 per SF (Homes built in 2017 or after)

The Fort Lauderdale Waterfront Home market performance 

Here we get to the crux of the conversation. Fort Lauderdale is synonymous with waterfront living and as Elaine states in the video with 300 navigable miles of canals you will not any shortage of waterfront homes here. The big question though is ‘how much will you pay?’ and how does this compare to Miami’s?

How many homes sold? 12 New homes sold in Fort Lauderdale in the last 6 months. These sold between $500 – $1500 per sqft. There are 46 new waterfront homes for sale in Fort Lauderdale ranging from $3m to $33m. 6 of these are priced over $15m. There are 65 new waterfront homes for sale in Miami but geographically they are really spread out. If you look at the waterfront options that are located in the most central locations (within 20 mins of the best private schools) then this number drops. It is worth mentioning that 23 of the 65 listings are priced over $15m. 11 New homes sold in Miami in the last 6 months. Prices range from $500 –  $1750 per sqft.

Miami, although more spread out, has a higher concentration of ultra luxury new homes offerings, actually 4 times as many as Fort Lauderdale. With that said if you are looking with a budget of $5m to $10m you are definitely going to find Fort Lauderdale has more to offer with 24 new or very nearly new homes options, with Fort Lauderdale at 18. Given Miami’s geographical area you will find that no doubt Fort Lauderdale has a feeling of a much higher concentration of waterfront homes over dry lots homes, and percentage wise this is certainly true.

What was the performance in the last 6 months? For the Fort Lauderdale single family market in the $3m – $8m range in the last 6 months, there were 37 sales of which 34 were on the water. Of the current 118 offerings of homes in this price range 104 of the 118 for sale are waterfront homes – that’s nearly 90% of the market! Move down to Miami and this trend shifts. There are 149 active listings of waterfront homes in Miami, but 156 non waterfront for sale. In the last 6 months there were 65 sales, of which 28 were waterfront.

What is our takeaway from this?

Fort Lauderdale is selling on average 5.6 waterfront homes per month, and with 118 active listings this is 21 months of inventory. This is much healthier than Miami’s waterfront market which I selling 4.6 waterfront homes per month, but with 149 active listings, it has 32 months of inventory, which is 50% worse than FL.  If you want a healthier waterfront market, then Fort Lauderdale comes out on top. Waterfront is more centralized in this market and you will clearly feel that 9 out of 10 homes in this market are waterfront. If you’re a waterfront focused buyer between $3m and $8m then this is your market. If you’re an ultra luxury buyer then Miami could pull you away, this is probably on account that there are more ultra luxury homes in this market. Miami has a large number of waterfront homes sitting on massive lots which escalates the price – there are 27 current offerings on waterfront homes sitting on lots bigger than 40,000 sqft and 100 homes over 20,000 sqft lots, Fort Lauderdale has just 3 properties sitting on lots over 40,000 sqft and 20 homes with lots over 20,000 sqft.

The Fort Lauderdale Condo market vs the Miami Condo market

Fort Lauderdale’s condo market is notably less developed than its big brother Miami. What has changed however in the last 2 years is the introduction of ‘Miami’esque’ ultra-luxury condos such as: Paramount, Auberge and the new Four Seasons. If you go here you can read the specifics of these buildings. In this section we compare those numbers to Miami’s.

Conclusion: Miami has more choice, but if you want to buy a new condo on the beach then FL has offerings under $1000 per sqft, which is hard for Miami to compete with. Miami’s beach front market is far more evolved, hence the higher price. If you want a slower, more laid back beach condo environment then FL could be for you!

The Best Private Schools in Fort Lauderdale vs Miami

Pictures from 1 to 4: American Heritage,  Pine Crest School, Gulliver Elementary School and Ransom Everglades’ new campus,

Miami has lots of excellent schools (both private and public). Some of the best private schools in Coconut Grove and Coral Gables are: Ransom, Carrollton, St Thomas, St Stephens, St Philips, Riviera. In Pinecrest we find Gulliver, Pinecrest Elementary, and Palmer Trinity (located in Palmetto Bay). Other areas in Miami are home to excellent schools such as Cushman and Miami Country Dade. Fort Lauderdale, which is a much smaller city than Miami offers several superb schools of which two private schools are located in or fairly close the city: The Pine Crest School and American Heritage.

So how do they rank against each other?

These are the top 10 private schools in the state: 1) Ransom Everglades 2) Pine Crest School 3) American Heritage School, Plantation Campus 4) Carrollton School 5) American Heritage School, Boca Delray Campus 6) Berkeley Preparatory School 7) NSU University School 8) Gulliver Preparatory School 9) Trinity Preparatory School 10) Palmer Trinity School.As you see it’s a bit of a split decision. No 1,4,8,10 in Miami. No 2 and 3 in Fort Lauderdale. The takeaway; both cities have excellent schools, just Miami unsurprisingly has more options. What is somewhat different is that regardless of where you live in Fort Lauderdale you are rarely more than 20 minutes away from the private schools. In Miami you need to be more conscious about the distances and selecting the appropriate neighborhood within 20 mins will be all important. This is why we created these two blogs linked below showing the distances: ‘The Best Private schools and where you should live’.

Transport and Population in Fort Lauderdale vs Miami

There is always a standing joke between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Whenever I find myself talking to Fort Lauderdale locals they love to remind me…. Miami traffic is insane! My answer is: “Of course it’s busier”. Fort Lauderdale has a population of 162,000 spread over 36.3 miles, which equates to roughly 4,500 people per square mile, as opposed to Miami with a population of 486,000 people spread over 55 miles, which equates to roughly double the density at 8,900 people per square mile. Fort Lauderdale is by its nature very centralized; everything seems to revolve mostly around the Las Olas shopping strip, while Miami has Brickell, South Beach, Bal Harbour, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables to name a few central locations with their own town centers.

What’s more relevant is the growth of these two cities. If you are concerned about population congestion then these stats might be helpful. As juxtaposition to any conversation, some buyers might say ‘Miami is too busy for them’, while others may say ‘Fort Lauderdale is too quiet for me’. Either way, it’s just a matter of opinion, and I am not here to say which is right.

So there you a have it, an ‘icebreaker’ to what is in truth a bigger conversation of comparing Fort Lauderdale to Miami. As both cities evolve we will be reporting on their real estate markets closely. We will also be adding high grade analytics on Fort Lauderdale to our Condo Geeks and Advanced Analytics boards. Both myself and Elaine work as a team to assist you with your needs on buying or selling Fort Lauderdale Real Estate. If you are an owner in Fort Lauderdale we would love to hear from you. We have true Global reach  – your reading this are’nt you? Which means our marketing works!

Stay tuned for Part 5, 6 and 7 to the Fort Lauderdale Report which addresses our analytics boards, the economic drivers in the Fort Lauderdale market and what we expect for the rest of the year. Email me: or Elaine at:


These are the most commonly asked Google Real Estate Related questions

1. What are the Current Best New Condos in Miami?

If you want to hear in more details our opinions on the best new Miami new construction condos. Please read this article:Best New Construction Condos 2022-2023

2. What is the best New Construction Condo in Fort Lauderdale?

In our opinion, the Residences at Pier Sixty-six are certainly the most interesting and unique. Already well underway this 32 Acre project will be home to the first of its kind Marina where owners will be able to anchor up vessels up to a staggering 400 ft! For specifics of this project see our independent review of this project.

3. How can I compare the new luxury construction Condos to the best existing Luxury Condos in Miami? 

Our Best Luxury Condos in Miami article will prove to be very useful to those looking to compare the existing to the new. You may also want to watch this video which shows the performance of the best Condos in Miami over the last 15 years!


For all our analytics we are agents driving some very unique and advanced tech. We Provide a granular and custom experience that empower our clients with the insight and tools to understand the most complex behaviors of any local markets.

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David Siddons

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